The Matrimonial Bed

This is not a column by an Agony Aunt on how to patch up your ailing marriage, nor is it a racy 50 Shades type article. Sorry! But there really is a description of a type of bed known as a Matrimonial Bed. I giggled when I came across this description of the junior suite on an adventure expedition cruise ship – this is what it said –

“Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)”

Sounds snug!

It got me thinking about how hotels and cruises describe their rooms and the beds. Typically you get a Double, a Queen or a King. But then you also get the twin beds. This is really tricky when you are booking a hotel room because a double room does not necessarily mean a double bed. Sometimes it is taken to indicate that the room is big enough for two people so it could have a double bed, two double beds or two single beds. It can sometimes be a hassle booking a room without a specific bed description. Going away on honeymoon? You definitely don’t want 2 single beds! Hubby is a fidget? You definitely don’t want a queen bed. Hubby snores???? You definitely need a separate room. OK guys, calm down. I know some of us women snore as well. Actually when women snore it is called “purring”. Just so you know.

For anyone who has travelled a lot I am sure you have plenty of stories to tell about strange beds in strange places. The last time we went cruising (it was on a sail yacht) we got the last two rooms on the ship. Not surprising as it was a Mama Mia cruise to the Greek Islands and wow, was it ever popular. The description of the room or cabin that my sister got was that the bed was raised. Weird hey?

It was actually four foot high with a little ladder to get into bed. The reason is that it is right at the back of the ship as the yacht tapers. Now if you are the type who goes to the loo in the middle of the night when you are half asleep, this might not be the one for you. The benefit? You get category 5 price for the same size as a category 4 – except you climb the ladder to go to bed. They said it was very comfortable – except for a flood in the bathroom. That’s another story!

If you choose to stay at a ryokan in Japan you may find yourself sleeping on the floor.

I was lucky as the ryokan I stayed at had proper beds. Still I have heard that the bed mats are very comfortable. Just hard getting up in the morning! đŸ™‚

I stayed at the Yotel in Amsterdam airport once. It was so convenient, right there in one of the terminals and perfect for an overnight. It is a bit of a strange experience as everything is so tiny and when you enter the room you might be surprised to see the bed looking like this.

It’s very neat though – and unfolds from this couch setting to a double bed. It is just a bit of a weird experience walking down the corridor to get to your room. And don’t worry – the windows have blinds

Inevitably any journey or vacation will involve a bed – whether it is on the plane (if you are in business class!), at the airport, in a ryokan, on an expedition ship or in a tent in the Sahara desert. Some you will love, others you will hate. My bet is the one you will hate most is that economy class airline ticket seat. Yes – been there, done that! That’s why after you have flown for 8 hours or more you need a really nice comfy bed and I will bet after flying for all those hours you will totally sleep on the floor! You just might not be able to get up in the morning. With that in mind – could you sit down in a cross legged pose and get up again without using your hands for support? If you can it means you could live longer – try it out with this handy BBC tutorial

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Lesley, Not so unusual. Google English to Spanish ‘double bed’ and the first answer is ‘cama matrimonial’. Italian is letto matrimoniale. So where was the ship registered or constructed? You think that was snug? Cheaper trips in smaller boats often involve compromises. On our bike & barge trip in France, we got a lower bunk 3/4 bed (half way between single and double) and an upper single bunk. We squeezed into the 3/4 and used the upper for storage, clothing etc. The only problem was that only 1 side of the bunk was open so if the inner person needed to go to the bathroom at night, you both were awake.
    Still waiting for some clarity and permanent relaxation of Canadian quarantine restrictions when people have their 2 shots so that we can travel, knowing that we can come home.


    1. Hi Hugh, absolutely you are right! It is such an old fashioned way of putting it though. I love the story of your bed on the barge. I have watched the program on tv about the canals in the UK and the long boats and realise that the beds are quite small. It is a good note to advise people on this if they are booking a barge holiday. When I sailed on Star Clipper I found the same thing that the bed was up against the wall under the window so whoever was on that side (me of course) had to climb over obstacles to get to the loo. I am also waiting anxiously for the quarantine restrictions to be relaxed …. I am having serious withdrawal symptons! Stay well and thanks for reading.


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