Double Occupancy Rooms Explained

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When searching for a hotel, you might have come across the term, double occupancy room. Double occupancy rooms most often relate to hotels, but you may see them elsewhere, such as Airbnbs, apartments, resorts, and cruises. So what exactly are double occupancy rooms?

Double occupancy rooms are meant for two people. When searching for a hotel online, double occupancy prices are shown, suggesting that two people can stay in one room at the given rate. They may contain a king or queen size bed, or two single beds, depending on what the guest prefers.

Aside from its basic definition, there are several things to learn about double occupancy rooms. Interested? Keep reading to find out.

Young Couple Travel Together in Hotel Room

Double Rooms vs. Double Occupancy Rooms

There are different ways to identify a room in hospitality terminology, and sometimes the terms can be a little confusing. To make it easier, let’s look at the difference between two common hotel terms: room and occupancy.

  • Room – A room refers to how many people the room is designed and furnished for. In double rooms, two people. Double rooms may contain a queen, king, double-sized bed, or even two single beds. There are also triple rooms, twin rooms, and single rooms.
  • Occupancy – Occupancy refers to how many people are in the room. In double occupancy rooms, two people. A single guest in a double room would be considered single occupancy.

Double Occupancy Room Rates

Double occupancy rate is the price charged if there are two guests in the room, regardless of the number of beds, and their size. If there is only one bed, but two people, the double occupancy rate remains.

Although double occupancy rooms are meant for two people, the number of people that stay in them can be less (single guest) or more. A single guest will generally pay the full amount of the double occupancy price. If more than two guests stay, they may be charged extra depending on the hotel’s pricing.

Double Occupancy Rooms in Hotels

Nice Hotel With Pool and Palm Trees

When booking a room online, most room rates are based on double occupancy. This is because most rooms are designed for couples or two travelers. This also explains why most hotel rooms come with king-sized beds, queen size beds, or two double beds. These features take into account the room amenities and furniture that provide an ideal comfort level for two occupants in the room.

Most hotels generally use this model because it gives them the structure to charge additional rates if more guests stay in the hotel room. Imposed surcharges will then depend on the number of additional people as allowed by hotel policies, including sleeping arrangements, extra services, toiletries, and complimentary breakfasts.

Regarding building codes, double occupancy rooms help comply with state or government requirements, such as existing fire codes. In most local state codes, hotel rooms with standard dimensions allow a maximum of two people in the room for easier exit during emergencies.

Room Additions – What Comes in a Double Occupancy Room?

Two Double Beds Spaced Out In Hotel Room

Since double occupancy rooms take into account two people’s accommodation, the typical spatial dimensions are also usually designed for the comfort of two people. In double rooms with double occupancy rates, the shape is generally elongated and feature furniture, furnishing, and equipment for a short-term stay. In full-service hotels, these rooms have beds, baths, storage, work area, mini-bar, and usually do not contain a kitchen.

1. Furniture

In standard double occupancy rooms, beds are usually queen, king, or two doubles. Double beds are often spaced a few feet apart from each other or together with nightstands on both ends. Typically, the room will also have one or two armchairs or a lounge chair, a work desk, and an office chair. Depending on the hotel, a double occupancy room can have a large wardrobe closet, lighting decor, a dresser, an ironing board, and iron. In basic hospitality accommodations, the rooms have smaller closets enough for two to three-night stay. Furnishing with accessories such as a floor lamp (view on Amazon) adds a touch of modern luxury into hotel rooms while also creating a layer of mood lighting to enhance the room’s ambiance.

2. Bathroom

Bathrooms in double occupancy rooms are typically equipped with either a tub, a shower, a water closet, and a sink. Part of the room rate includes toiletries such as travel-sized bottles of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, body wash, and body lotion.

3. Amenities

In terms of amenities, the rate for double occupancy rooms already includes the use of air-conditioning, thermostat, and heater. The use of cable television is also included as well as pay-per-view options for other channels. Landline telephones are free to use within the hotel premises, with additional rates for outside calls. Aside from room functions, the rate also takes into account other basic hotel amenities such as the use of the pool and business areas.

Occupancy Options for Groups

Given that double occupancy rooms are identified by the number of people staying, it is safe to say that the maximum capacity should be maintained to two. However, depending on hotel policies and fire code restrictions, a hotel can either allow two adults and one child below 12 years old to occupy a double occupancy room with or without added cost. The best way to confirm if they allow such arrangements is to check with the hotel beforehand.

You can look into booking two double occupancy rooms with connecting units if you are traveling as a group with around four people. With this, you are still following the occupancy policies of the hotel while staying close to the people you’re traveling with.

Double Occupancy in Apartments and Student Housing

Blue and Orange Apartment Building

For apartments, dormitories, and student housing, double occupancy rooms often refer to types of living arrangements where a tenant or a student share the bedroom and bathroom with someone else.

Double occupancy units don’t necessarily mean the size and number of bedrooms can only accommodate two people at a time. They can be as big as three bedrooms, but rented by two people. Depending on the unit that you are planning to stay in, the landlord may have it already furnished. If you are an apartment owner, you may want to add essential furniture pieces like two double-sized beds with quality memory foam mattresses (view on Amazon). A good quality bed can be a primary draw for potential apartment tenants.

In rental apartment settings, the double occupancy stipulation only refers to the capacity of the bedrooms. Communal spaces such as the living room, study area, the kitchen, and the dining area are available for everyone.

Double Occupancy Rates in Cruise Packages

Large Cruise Ship out at Sea

With cruise packages, rates are typically published on a per head basis. However, most cruise lines count on filling up their cabins in double occupancy rooms. This is why when you take a look at tour packages in cruises, you will most likely see the fine print that says, “Per person, based on double occupancy.”


Since most cruise and tour packages design their pricing structures on an all-in basis, the availability of onboard amenities influences the rate. Amenities may include entertainment, dining, and facilities such as pools, gyms, libraries, theater, cinema, indoor, or outdoor sports fields. In luxury cruise ships, the package rate will also include special events such as theater shows, gala nights, and special dinners. Apart from that, the prices are also inclusive of the itineraries and destinations. In many instances, you have to pay for additional land tours when you have reached your destination.

Cabin Types

Double occupancy rooms on cruises can have different cabin types, depending on the rate package. Inner-room cabins are generally the cheapest. They usually have basic room amenities but no windows.

Ocean View

If you want a small window, an ocean view room is your next best bet. They are typically the same size as inner room cabins but have a porthole. Balcony rooms, or cabins, generally have the best deal in cruise packages. Balcony double occupancy rooms are located in the upper deck of the hull. They are slightly larger than ocean view rooms and feature a balcony where you can lounge while at sea. Luxury cruise rates may start at double occupancy rates with additional costs for extra people. This assumes that the rooms are large enough to accommodate more than two people.

Single Occupancy vs Double Occupancy

Double occupancy rooms and tour packages can be confusing to understand, especially if you’re a solo traveler. When viewing hotel room rates, one thing you might have noticed is:

  • The lack of single rooms
  • May have to pay double occupancy rate

In many instances, solo travelers staying in hotels with occupancy pricing structures may have to pay the double occupancy rate, rather than half.

Single Supplement

For the most part, hotels and cruises assume that two people will be occupying their rooms, so their pricing is based on double occupancy. Hospitality and tourism businesses usually add what they call a single supplement. Single supplement is an additional charge of around ten to 100 percent of the double occupancy rate on a per head basis. The majority of hotels, tours, and cruises practice this to compensate the business for the losses of only having one person traveling alone or staying in the room. For hospitality and cruise ship operators, this type of pricing will help them maintain fixed variables in their operations, including room maintenance, cleaning, and utility cost, which will be the same regardless of the number of people staying in the room.

Single supplements can sometimes deter solo travelers because it makes them feel penalized for traveling alone. Fortunately, a lot of tour and cruise packages offer flexible, affordable solutions for people traveling alone.

Roommate Matching on Cruises

Cruise ships and tour operators usually offer “roommate matching” services. They will pair you with another solo traveler as your roommate in a double occupancy room, based on your age, interests, and sex. In most policies, you can take advantage of this option if you have booked with the cruise ship operator or tour company weeks before the cancellation date.

If you travel alone and prefer privacy, there are benefits to double occupancy rooms with a single supplement. For one, you would get your own space and freedom to move around the room as you wish. This could be liberating after a long day of tour activities. Furthermore, since you would be staying in a room for two guests, you will have tons of space to relax. A spacious and private room is also ideal for opening your bags.

Conclusion- Double Occupancy Room Meaning

Double occupancy rooms are common in the tourism and travel industry, especially in hotels. Occupancy refers to the number of people within the room. Double means that two people can stay in the room at a given price. The room may include a queen, king, or double-sized bed. It may also come with two single beds.

Carefully research beforehand and call the hotel with your questions, if any. You should know what you’re paying for. Lastly, explore the inclusive services and amenities that may give you a deal when booking double occupancy rooms.

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