Why Your Vacation Cottage Needs All the Fancy Bathrooms

Fact: You need more bathrooms in a vacation spot than you do at home. Life on vacation is different. That’s the whole point, right?

You may not mind sharing a bathroom at home, because you know your family, and no one has to be shy about knocking on the door to let someone know they need to get in to get ready for work. You live with family, or other people you feel close to. But vacation homes are different, because a lot of families and friends like to vacation together, and avoid seeing each other naked.

Let’s say your California ski condo in Lake Tahoe has two bedrooms and one bath, perfect for you, your partner, and your two sons. Sure, it gets a little annoying at the end of the day, when you’d like nothing more than a long soak in the tub to soothe your tired muscles, but you can live without it. When you decide to rent out that condo to other people, though, they might see it differently. Two couples, even if each couple has a baby or toddler, could stay in a two bedroom place, but they’ll probably keep looking if they have to share a bathroom.

These days, even primary residences are a lot more likely to have at least one bathroom for each bedroom. Your great grandmother would have scoffed at a four bedroom, four bath home, in part because older plumbing wouldn’t allow for four showers to run at the same time anyway. On vacation, people don’t want less than they have at home. When people are browsing VRBO or AirBnB and they see “3 bedrooms, 2 baths, sleeps 12,” they usually keep browsing. Six people per bathroom, especially if they aren’t related, gets rough.

If adding another full bath isn’t feasible, consider adding a half bath to one or more bedrooms, so vacationers can have some privacy and not have to put on a robe to travel down the hall in the middle of the night, just for a drink of water. For a summer property near the beach or the lake, look into adding an enclosed outdoor shower, with hot and cold water. Bonus: An outdoor shower can encourage guests to rinse off all the sand and dirt before they come inside the house!

While those extra bathrooms aren’t strictly necessary, they can make your house a lot more appealing to vacationers. Making your home multi-family vacation friendly can also raise the rental price, since people will be chipping in as a group. And a rented home is a profitable home! (Besides, you know you’ll enjoy that soak in the tub without the kids pounding on the door…)

Other things to consider when adding or remodeling bathrooms in your investment property:

  • Keep it clean. Think streamlined and bright. Bathrooms that are easy to clean and bright make vacationers feel like they're in a safe place,
  • Have at least one tub. It may be tempting to only include showers, but a long soak in the tub can be part of someone's happy vacation.
  • Include plenty of towel racks and hooks. Everywhere. Don't want people leaving wet towels on the floor of your nice bathroom? Make it easy to hang them up.
  • Consider a half bath that isn't attached to a bedroom. You don't always find a spare in rental houses, but it's nice when guests don't have to go through a bedroom to freshen up.
  • Make sure each bathroom has plenty of ventilation. The smell of mildew makes people sad.
  • Make sure there are locks on the doors that actually work. Nothing makes a vacation more awkward than accidentally seeing your best friend's partner...totally nude.

What do you like to see in a vacation bathroom?