Exposing Bathrooms: Ensuite vs. Shared Facilities

Exposing Bathrooms: Ensuite vs. Shared Facilities

Wondering about what’s the difference between “en-suite” and “shared” bathroom facilities? The answer may depend on whether you’re in the UK or the USA – or the language system your accommodation follows. 

Let’s break it down simply for you.

En-suite Facilities

En-suite originates from the French word ‘en suite’ which translates to ‘connected’ or ‘comes next’.

When your accommodation boasts an “en-suite” bathroom, this means your room comes complete with a private toilet and shower, exclusively for your use.

No wandering down hallways or sharing with others – it’s your personal haven.

Read: 46 Tips to identify fantastic Hostels worldwide

This is a term that has been anglicized in the UK and is now part of the common English language.

  Hostel Villa Skansi

Private Facilities

Things get a bit confusing in the USA. There, “private” is used to describe what the UK calls “en-suite.”

So, remember that a “private” bathroom in the USA is the equivalent of an ‘’en-suite’’ facility.

Shared Facilities

On the other side, “shared facilities” are like a campfire gathering.

These bathrooms are shared among several guests. It’s an affordable option that encourages a sense of camaraderie, but it does mean sharing your hygiene space with fellow travelers.

Shared facilities can be among guests from different dorms throughout an establishment, or there can be one shared bathroom facility per dorm room.

For example: a shared bathroom for the female-only dorm.

Read: Staying in a Hostel for the Very First Time (Guide)

The bathrooms themselves can be multiple showers inside of one room with a private door to each shower, or they can be in the style of one shower shared by a certain number of people.

  Shared Facilities

The UK vs. USA Bathroom Lingo

The showdown between “en-suite” and “private” bathrooms is a classic case of British English vs. American English. In the UK, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, which can confuse travelers.

However, in the USA, “private” is the go-to term for what the UK calls “en-suite.” 

To sum it up:

  • En-suite (UK): Your personal bathroom right in your room.
  • Private (USA): An American twist – a bathroom inside your room.
  • Shared:  A communal bathroom experience for the adventurous.

Navigating the Bathroom Maze

Now that we’ve cracked the code, how can you ensure a seamless booking experience? It’s simple – ask questions. When booking accommodation in England or anywhere with bathroom-related uncertainties, don’t hesitate to ask the property owners for clarification or simply look for an option to differentiate the two on a booking platform.

This straightforward approach ensures you know precisely what bathroom facilities come with your room.

By seeking clarity, you can avoid unexpected surprises and keep your travel experience on track. After all, nothing spoils a trip faster than bathroom confusion.

Also take into consideration that although it’s rare, some establishments even offer same gender showers and bathrooms, so keep an eye out for that if it makes you uncomfortable!

Read: Female Solo Travel Safety Tips

The Baxter Hostel Bathroom

On Hostelz, you can filter the results based on all your personal preferences. 

They will get different prices comparing all the main booking platforms – it will show you which one, whether through Hostelworld, Booking.com, or the direct hostel website, is the cheapest for your dates and facilities of preference.

Check out Hostelz.com here


In conclusion, whether you prefer an en-suite or are open to shared facilities, understanding the terminology is crucial for a smooth travel experience.

While the UK and the USA may use different bathroom terms, a little curiosity and communication go a long way.

So, when in doubt, ask questions, and remember that a well-appointed bathroom is a traveler’s best friend.

What’s next? More useful info:

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks team

We are 100% Independent: Some links on Hostelgeeks are so-called affiliate links. If you decide to book through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support allows us to keep producing high-quality, independent content free of influence from hostels or external advertisers. Learn more here. 🙏

✏️ Read our Editorial Guidelines

Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Always find better deals for Hostels on Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld and Booking.com.

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

🤒 Travel Insurance Simplified: We always go either with Safetywing and Hey Mondo.

🤓 Smart Travel Tools you need to know: Find a list of our favorite travel tools.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable): Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is key. Get our ultimate list of smart items to bring on your trip.

Download your Free PDF Packing List

Best Hostel Packing List