Q: What’s Better than a Big Bedroom? A: Two Little Roomettes!

There are five bedrooms on the upper level of an Amtrak Superliner sleeping car. Let’s start with the reasons FOR spending the money to travel in one of these rooms.

Compared to the roomette, it’s much bigger. There’s a sofa-style seat just as you enter that pulls out perhaps a foot to become a bed at night. But it’s still narrower than a standard twin bed, which means it will be a bit crowded for two people. You can’t really see out of the window when seated on the sofa during the day.

The upper berth folds down from  the ceiling and there isn’t very much head room. And there’s no window up there.

There is a combination lavatory/shower in each of the five bedrooms and  I have no doubt that this is the big appeal. I do understand that people would rather not share a bathroom with strangers. But, folks, the bedrooms are expensive! Prices vary a lot, but it’s not uncommon for a bedroom on the California Zephyr to cost three times as much as a roomette. 

The biggest problem I have with the Superliner bedrooms is the flimsy partition between Bedrooms B and C and Bedrooms D and E. Either of the two partitions can be easily removed, creating a “suite” that will accommodate a family of four. The problem is the partition is useless as a sound barrier, so with two separate couples occupying those two rooms, any conversation above a whisper in Bedroom B is easily overheard in Bedroom C.

Finally, for all those reasons, instead of the big bedroom in Superliner sleeping cars, I recommend that couples consider the option of getting two roomettes, on opposite sides of the hallway. Yes, you’ll each have to use the community lavatory. But you will each have privacy if one of you wants to read or take a nap. And —this is the main reason—you’ll be able to see out of both sides of the train.

Bottom Line: The extra space has a luxurious feel to it at first, but after you have experienced the downside that’s built into the big bedrooms in the Superliner sleepers, the roomettes look better and better.

And perhaps even cheaper!