What Does ‘En Suite’ Really Mean?

updated Sep 16, 2023
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(Image credit: Federico Paul)

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 percent sure that you’re clearly communicating to your agent what features you absolutely need.

Quick Overview

What does “en suite” mean?

“En suite” refers to a bedroom with a full bathroom attached to it.

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.

Why is it called an en suite?

The term “en suite” comes from French and means “afterward” or “following.” While you could argue that en suite in real estate can be described as one room being situated after another, the French and English words 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)

What does it mean for a room to be en suite?

The phrase 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.” In other words, it’s two rooms in one.

While most en suite bathrooms can be found in a primary bedroom, that doesn’t mean that’s the only place where they can be located throughout the house. Most en suite bathrooms have a shower (constituting a full bath), and they’re likely only a half-bath in smaller bedrooms.

There are advantages to an en suite bathroom.

When searching for a home, an 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)

En suite can refer to hotel rooms, too.

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 simply a 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 not to 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) with other amenities, such as an en suite patio, en suite kitchenette, or en suite living room.

If you were ever unsure of what en suite meant, 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’s description.