What exactly *is* a junior suite?!

I’ve written in the past about the three most useless words in the hotel industry — contemporary, superior, and deluxe — which are often used to describe rooms, yet mean nothing.

I’ve always thought that for suites the room descriptions were a bit more straightforward. For example, there are general expectations I have of executive suites and junior suites. For an executive suite I expect there to be a living room separated from a bedroom by a door (which is convenient if you’re traveling with someone and on a different schedule). I typically consider a junior suite to be a large room with some seating in addition to the bed and a desk, typically a small couch and a chair with ottoman at a minimum. If it’s partitioned off from the rest of the room then that’s a bonus.

However, I’ve stayed at two hotels recently that have me wondering if my definitions are way off. First I recently stayed at the Sheraton Munich Airport, and got upgraded to a “junior suite.” I’m not exactly sure what made the room a junior suite, aside from the fact that the layout of the room was weird and there were two chairs in the corner of the room. I would’ve called it an executive room, maybe.



Conversely, I’m at the Le Meridien Taipei right now, and also “only” got upgraded to a junior suite (I say “only” because they also had executive suites available for sale online). However, by my definition this room is an executive suite, and a nice one at that. It features a separate living room and bedroom with a sliding door between them, and a huge bathroom with double sinks, a soaking tub, a shower, and toilet in a separate room.





Which leads me to my question — how do you define a junior suite? Are either of the above rooms a junior suite in your opinion, or is “junior suite” really a term with no substance?

Filed Under: Hotels, Travel
  1. Ben, I stayed at the Sheraton Munich Airport a couple months ago, and thought it was a somewhat interesting place. In addition to the strange room layout (like yours), I thought it was funny that the breakfast staff all wore the lederhosen and dirndl.

    Also, the airport shuttle was also like a brush of death. Avoid it if you can.

  2. @ PurduExpat — LOL, and while it was a bizarre hotel, I also found it oddly charming in a way, at least for an airport hotel.

  3. I have always operated using the heuristic that

    junior suite = suite-like furnishings and no door
    any other kind of suite = minimum of a door separating bedroom from living room

    though not every hotel shares this view.

  4. I always understood a junior suite to be whatever they wanted it to be. Basically it does not denote anything more than a regular room.

  5. I used to use TV count as a factor (2 for a real “suite” designation). But hotels aren’t sharing this view either…

  6. I think Junior Suite is most commonly defined as a room that features a separate living-sitting area (although not a separate room), in addition to the bedroom.

    A suite is an accommodation comprising of more then one room; occasionally a single large room with clearly defined sleeping and sitting areas.

    Now technical the Sheraton Munich Airport had a separate living area, separated by the wall in the picture so it’s a junior suite.

    Now Ms Lucky got a nice upgrade in Le Meridien Taipei and I agree from the pictures it looks like a real suite.

    In general I however think that hotels make it up as they go depending on regional requirements too.

  7. Sigh, the mysteries of the Junior Suite, something to go along with the also mysterious “continental” breakfast and “resort” fee.

    Whenever i see online that i have been upgraded to such, i usually cringe at first, before beginning my gumshoe investigation into how “junior” it is, along with how “continental” the breakfast is and how resorty the “resort” truly is.

  8. Hotel chains need to get their $hit together. I agree this is really confusing. Andaz suites are reallly confusing. Hyatt itself doesn’t know how to label suites and what they are. They don’t even know how to brand their hotels!(e.g. Hyatt Regency Kyoto.) I’ve stayed in junior suites (St. Regis Princeville) that were smaller than regular rooms (Grand Hyatt Berlin). Just don’t get it anymore.

  9. For me Jr. Suite = sitting room attached to bedroom, while real suite has a separate bedroom. Its kind of funny that I get one or the other from an Embassy Suites or Residence Inn automagically with a kitchen thrown in too, but need an upgrade at a fancy hotel. Of course the fancy hotel might have real wood furniture instead of fiberboard and the other service trappings of a full service hotel.

  10. If your father is called Benjamin as well, then you get the junior suite and he gets the regular suite ! 🙂

  11. In Europe, a junior suite might only get you a double bed rather than a queen or king bed. In the U.S, try figuring out whether a deluxe room is really superior to a luxury room!

  12. From Websters, a suite is:

    “a group of things forming a unit or constituting a collection : set: as
    a : a group of rooms occupied as a unit …”

    …or a group of related musical pieces, furniture, etc.

    So if a suite (“junior” or otherwise) does not have more than one room, it’s not a suite and the hotel is outright lying.

    Of course, the bathroom is always a separate room…

  13. If you pay for a junior suite ( large room with separate seating area with sofa) then part for a separate bed for a child and they turn the sofa into a bed then this ceases to be a junior suite but a room with 2 beds in it having been charged twice for the privilege!!

  14. Like most people on the thread, I started wondering what a suite is after staying at the W Muscat and getting a ‘junior suite’ as an upgrade. The technical definition seems to be a room with a separate living and sleeping area. However, the room I am in is just a bigger room. Not sure why or how it qualifies to be a junior suite.

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