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I'm searching for hotels in Europe (France, Switzerland, Italy) on Hotels.com for our upcoming trip. We need a room for 3 (my husband, I, and our 9 year-old son) but keep getting suggestions for rooms with only 2 twin beds pushed together, no mention of sofa bed . It can't be comfortable for 3 people from the look of it even though the room occupancy does state maximum 3. Is this the norm for Europe or should I try to specifically look for rooms with extra bed?

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    Did you set the hotel search site for three people? I mostly use booking.com and that search usually do show rooms for three or more.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 9 at 20:43
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    When you tell hotels.com that you want a room for 3 people, it directs you to hotels that have available rooms that sleep 3 people. However when you pick a hotel and it asks you to "choose a room" from that hotel, the choices include rooms that only sleep 2 people. You just have to pick a room for 3 people from the choices (usually the first choice). Commented Jan 9 at 21:17
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    Note that in some hotels, a room for 3 can be a regular twin or double into which they will add an extra bed (usually not visible on any picture), especially when it’s for a child. It can get quite cramped.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jan 9 at 21:51
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    Yes, I did specify the number of adults and children in each room but it still shows me results of 2 twin bed rooms with 3 people max capacity. I'm just curious if this is how they consider appropriate/customary in that region (Switzerland to be exact). I have decided to be safe and only book rooms that I can clearly see a sofa bed or an extra bed in the photos. I also take into consider the size of the room, going with room of larger size (300sqf vs 170sqf) so that we can require an extra bed just in case it's not already provided.
    – julia
    Commented Jan 10 at 21:37

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Most hotel or general travel sites allow users to search for rooms based on the number of people. The majority allow you to breakdown the search in terms of adults and children. In many cases, once you select the number of children, an extra drop-down will appear for the age of children.

Once you have entered the information as completely as the website allows, you will see results that match the search according to the data provided by hotels. There is often some discrepancy between what you consider suitable and what the room technically allows. There is no way around this but to through results and read the room description. Some properties are better at providing that information.

There are cultural differences too. We recently traveled to Japan and the results I would get even from major travel websites would seem absurd to me such as rooms with 3 twin beds showing a max occupancy of 6. Given that we traveled during high-season, there were not many results to go through but when faced with pages and pages of options, the approach I take is to be even more selective. I add extra filters and sort results by price (for expensive destinations) or by distance to a known location (when price varies less). Then, going through a number of results in order, I carefully read the property description:

  • Number and sizes of beds in the room.
  • Any mention of a sofa bed, futon or other potential sleeping surface.
  • Any mention of roll-away bed availability and applicable surcharges (this can add to the price which makes results misleading).
  • Look as supporting evidence, keeping in mind that the photos are often the best room of that category, not necessarily the one being booked, unless specifically noted.

It is important to ensure that what is specified in the room is comfortable for your family. This can be different that what the property or building code allows. Also, from experience, it is extremely useful to print or save the information shown at the time of booking because the interface between the online agency and the hotel does not always transmit that information. Just recently, during our Japan trip, it happened twice that the room was not the right size due to miscommunication between systems. By showing print-outs, the hotel corrected the situation without charge and we only had to wait a short time for them to prepare a room that matched.

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    Thank you for your useful tips! Yes, I did specify the number of adults and children in each room but it still shows me results of 2 twin bed rooms with 3 people max capacity. I'm just curious if this is how they consider appropriate/customary in that region (Switzerland to be exact). I have decided to be safe and only book rooms that I can clearly see a sofa bed or an extra bed in the photos. I also take into consider the size of the room, going with room of larger size (300sqf vs 170sqf) so that we can require an extra bed just in case it's not already provided.
    – julia
    Commented Jan 10 at 21:39
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    Exactly! These search engines only try to satisfy the conditions for sleeping 3 people and do not really try to find something comfortable. That is a personal concept.
    – Itai
    Commented Jan 10 at 23:26

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