What Does 'En Suite' Really Mean?

What Does 'En Suite' Really Mean?

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Hana LaRock
Jun 29, 2018

In the world of real estate, there's a lot of ambiguous terminology that's used to describe a home and what's inside of it. When searching for a home to buy, it's important to know exactly what these terms mean. This way, you can be 100% sure that you're clearly communicating to your agent what features you absolutely need. One of these terms is "en suite," and depending on where you live or what type of home you're looking for, you may have heard several different definitions. Or, you might have just been wondering where the term comes from and what it really means. Whatever the case may be, I'm here to clear that up.

1. A Little Language Background

The term 'en suite' comes from French and means "afterwards" or "following." While you could argue that en suite in real estate can be described as one room being situated after another room, the French word and the English word really have nothing to do with one another. Instead, the word "en suite" was adapted into the English language to mean "in the room" or "connected." Though, nowadays, its only use is to refer to a very specific room in a house and nothing more.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

2. Two Rooms in One

The word en suite sounds super fancy when you hear it, but there's nothing to get too excited about. Most of the time, it's followed by "bathroom." According to Nick Baldwin, co-founder of Lab Coat Agents, "An en suite is basically a bedroom that has a bathroom attached to it. They are bathrooms that are private and aren't attached to common areas of a home."

While most en suite bathrooms can be found in a master bedroom, that doesn't mean that's the only place where they can be located throughout the house, as there can be other bedrooms that have a private bathroom attached to it as well, but that's less likely. Most en suite bathrooms have a shower (full bath), and it's likely that they're only a half-bath in smaller bedrooms.

3. The Perks of En Suite

When looking for a home, en suite means a lot more than just a bathroom in the bedroom. It also means privacy, intimacy, and safety. After all, no one likes having to navigate down a dark hallway in the middle of the night to use the toilet, as it could lead to stubbed toes or disturbing other people who are sleeping. Likewise, parents typically prefer not to share their bathrooms with their kids. In general, when a home has two bathrooms on a single floor, one of them is usually en suite.

(Image credit: David Dines)

4. En Suite in a Hotel

Now that you know what en suite means in a home, it's also nice to know what it means when you're booking a hotel for travel. Depending on what kind of hotel you're staying at, en suite can have a lot of different meanings, but it's not to be confused with the word "suite" which is a simply hotel room with multiple, connected rooms.

A two-star hotel could use the term "en suite" in their room description to refer to any room in the hotel (or motel) that has its own private bathroom, meaning you don't have to share a toilet, sink, and shower with other guests staying on your floor. This is important if you're booking a room at a hostel or guesthouse and you prefer to not share a bathroom with strangers.

When staying in a nicer hotel, "en suite" may be used in the description of a larger hotel room (perhaps a suite) that has other amenities inside of it, such as an en suite patio, en suite kitchenette, or en suite living room.

If you were ever unsure of what ensuite means, hopefully it's crystal clear now. Next time you go shopping for a home, make sure to check carefully for this word in the home description!

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