Hey, Solo Travelers – How Do You Handle This Hotel Room Dilemma?

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Hotel Room Bed

Hotel Room Bed Preferences

I’ve always enjoyed traveling alone.  It’s a bigger piece of my travel pie right now, though – especially short solo jaunts.  As I’ve aged and become somewhat more discerning on quite random/inconsequential things, hotel room types and beds have come under the microscope.  I’m not talking about bed cleanliness this time – Mark thoroughly covered that in December.  Today, I’m reflecting on a dilemma we often face at check-in:  king or two queens?  More accurately, king or two beds, since some properties still rock two double beds – even the Encore Boston Harbor.  Here’s my case for each, followed by my current hotel room bed preference strategy.  What’s your take?

The Case for the King

First off, whether traveling with my wife and kids or solo, I love the perceived luxury of a king bed.  You may be thinking, “A king bed?  Big deal!”  In and of itself, I know that’s nothing amazing to some.  But we have a queen size at home, which we do love.  But taking a trip and enjoying a king size bed is a simple pleasure that brings a welcome change of pace.  Make a snow angel in the bed?  Why not?

Also, by choosing a king as a solo traveler, perhaps I’m helping the environment.  I don’t request new sheets during a stay.  But the sheets will be laundered after my departure.  I figure two queen or double beds entail more material being washed than one king size bed’s sheets.  I’m no housekeeper, but I can’t assume that the second bed’s sheets won’t be laundered again, even if the second bed goes unused during a stay.

Hotel Room Bed

The Case for Two Beds

I’ve slowly come around on a two bed hotel room layout as a single traveler.  But all things being equal, it’s still not my first choice.  And all things aren’t equal (more on that below).  That said, I’ve started enjoying the utility of two beds while I’m traveling.  Naturally, I use the first hotel room bed for a solid overnight sleep.  Unfortunately, I’ve found certain hotel rooms’ desks lacking (or non-existent) for work activity, and I’ve resorted to sitting up in the second bed to write.  The second bed has also been useful for lounging with my after-breakfast coffee or an impromptu afternoon nap.  Meanwhile, my first bed remains pristinely made for my overnight slumber.

Also, while I enjoy the big size of a king, I know I truly don’t use the whole bed, anyway.  A queen is more than enough for me.  And I’ve noticed that certain properties’ base level rooms differ in size when holding a king or two queens.  More often than not in those situations, the two queen room is bigger than the king room.

My Strategy These Days

I still default to booking a king room when I travel solo.  If one is unavailable, I’m fine booking a room with two beds, since I probably have other reasons for staying at the property, anyway.

Even if I have a confirmed reservation for a king room, I keep an open mind at check-in.  If being flexible with the bed count enables a superior complimentary room upgrade, I’ll usually take it without hesitation.  An upgraded room has features which generally trump a few more inches of a bed.

Hotel Room Bed
Double size beds (oddly) in the Encore Boston Harbor.

Conclusion

I realize I’ve devoted an entire article to something relatively petty.  But I doubt I’m the only one who thinks about this dilemma.  We like to maximize things in our hobby.  One of those items is often the hotel experience, including the room type and bed configuration.  Indeed, I’m not surprised I end up thinking more than I should about it.  As a solo traveler, do you prefer a king room or two beds?  What’s your criteria for making a change from your preference?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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13 COMMENTS

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Usually where I stay in Vegas the “2 queen beds” room is more expensive than the “king”. If it is the same when I am booking, I will book the 2 queens knowing that when I am checking in early it is easier to get a room when I am flexible about bed preference. That being said i am a pillow hog and love having the pillows of 2 beds.

  2. I prefer two beds, one to sleep in, the other to lay out clothing for the next day. I also use the second bed to go through camera equipment & pack camera backpack etc.

  3. In some ways, I prefer two beds since I put my extra bags on the second bed. My preference is usually one king since I don’t need two beds. On some reservations, I put no preference and take what they give me. Sometimes, what I choose is based on the floor that is available.

  4. For one sleeper, the difference in beds is basically negligible, IMO. But, I have noticed that in many cases the two-bed room will have less furniture than the king room. Using the needed space for a second bed, it seems one often loses out on a (hopefully) comfy chair, or sofa, or desk. All else being equal, I typically like the additional optionality afforded by having the chair/sofa/desk versus a second bed.

  5. I have had a hyatt hotel tell me that I wasn’t upgraded as a globalist to a suite because of my bed choice. Asked at check in since I could see standard suites still available. Booked two queen room because it was the only points option left and all of their suites available were one king. They did allow me to switch rooms but wouldn’t have been upgraded without asking.

  6. I have found a lot lately that the room with two beds is cheaper than one king for a standard room. I mean, only like a $10 difference, but there is a difference. In the pandemic days of no housekeeping at all mid-stay, I had a work assignment in Cleveland (staying at that awful airport Sheraton – I took it as a Christmas present when it was torn down recently) and with two beds, I basically swapped beds halfway through each week.

    I do prefer the two beds because I have never ever been one to use a hotel room drawer. I use the second bed to lay out clothes or generally organize my things. Usually as well it gives a sleep option further away from windows or a noisy A/C unit.

    • Jason,
      That’s a great point. I don’t see it at every property, but I pick the cheaper of the two options, also.

  7. I can go either way and my choice is pretty easy. First of all if the cost is the same and the room type is identical I select the king. However if there is a price difference (points or cash) I pick whichever one is cheaper since doesn’t make that big a difference to me. Also, if you get upgraded almost all upgrades are to a room with a king bed which certainly is never a problem.

  8. I’m a covert to choosing 2 beds for a couple reasons. First, double the chances of having a decent mattress at least one good pillow. Second, the sheet from bed 2 makes a great cover for the sofa. My stays are generally 7 to 10 days. I don’t worry too much about creating more laundry.

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