As requested by very* popular demand, I’m here to take you on a little tour of our roomette on board the Amtrak Empire Builder, which we rode from Chicago to Seattle. That’s a journey of over 45 hours so if you’re considering doing the same, you might be interested to know what your accommodation might look like. Oh, and the bathrooms too. Everyone cares about bathrooms.
Sidenote: you know when you think you’ve taken perfectly fine photos and then you go back and look at them and you’re like, haha nope? So, sorry in advance. They’re directional**.
So, welcome to our roomette! There’s not room for both of us to stand inside so you go ahead, I’ll narrate from the outside.
Ah, that there’s my seat you see. Don’t mind my bag and box of donuts handily disguised in a Sainsbury’s bag. They’ll never know. I’m just figuring out where to put them so I’ve left them there for now. It’s fine, we can work around them I’m sure. The donuts come first, after all.
Anyway, as you can see, the seat is spacious and comes with a pillow. There’s a little control panel behind my head with a light, a plug socket (the only one in the carriage) and the heating/ventilation controls which don’t seem to do much. I’ve also been given a free bottle of water to go along with my refillable cup of Diet Coke which I got from the Metropolitan Lounge.
Turn fractionally to your right and you’ll see our ‘wardrobe’. It’s big enough for me to hang my fleece off it. Yes, that’s my fleece and that’s why I’m not a Fashion Blogger. It was cold on the train, alright?
You’ll also see the face cloths in their little cubby above. Real towels are stored in the shower itself – I’ll show you that in a minute.
Here we go with the awful shots. I’m sorry, it’s not your eyes, it’s my inability to focus on a task when overcome with excitement about the whole situation. This is trying to show you the storage bin which was beneath our ‘wardrobe’. It’s not very big but it’s fairly deep so we stored our emergency spare food in there (not needed in the end, thankfully) and our extension cable (very much needed due to aforementioned one plug in room situation).
Now look back straight ahead of you – you’ll see the table in its folded up position, with our free drinks perched alongside it. That’s the platform at Chicago out of the window, and if you look down you can see just how little space there is between the two seats (which face each other). Two long legged beasties will not be happy to share this roomette.
Now here’s the table in ‘open’ formation as we speed through the countryside. The two flaps fold out of it and it’s pretty sturdy. I like how it’s got a chess board printed on it. Oh and note the free waters – the steward will restock you on request, but we heard rumours that his supply is limited so if you’re a very thirsty person who worries about these things, make sure you make your requests in good time.
If you look to your left you’ll see another chair which is identical to mine, except it’s got the intercom channel changer thingy on the control panel plus the call bell for the cabin steward instead of the plug and HVAC controls.
Other than that it’s exactly the same so let’s look a bit further round to the left – yes, that’s both storage AND the way you access the top bunk.
I’ll let you think about that for a minute.
Underneath, there’s a little rubbish bin which you’ll need to empty yourself so don’t go crazy and overfill it. That box of tissues seemed a nice thought but ultimately just keeps getting in the way of our very limited space – I can’t foist it off on you by any chance, can I? Those are the curtains covering our little window into the roomette and the sliding door, which is open at the moment so we can conduct our tour. The door does latch shut securely from the inside but not from the outside.
Up above the shelf-ladder, that mirror is actually pretty decent. I think it’s better than I’ve seen in quite a few hotel rooms actually. Hi!
If you come back after dinner, you can see the cabin steward’s done the roomette up into sleeping formation. The seats join together to form a bed at the base, and another bunk flips down from the ceiling. The sheets are all neatly tucked in and there’s a spare blanket each. Two things to notice…
One… the grey straps to buckle in the inhabitant of the top bunk. We’re not playing around here…
Two… the little battery-operated nightlight which I took with me, ostensibly for the cruise but ended up coming in very useful in lots of different scenarios. Top travel purchase right there.
There’s no window in the top bunk but on the bottom bunk you can velcro shut the curtains if you don’t want to see the world (or you don’t want weirdos staring in at the stations you’ll stop at overnight). I would recommend an eye mask (and definitely ear plugs, trains are noisy at night).
Okay, now let’s take a trip down the corridor to the bathroom. I’m not going to show you the actual loo because if you picture an aeroplane bathroom done in stainless steel, it’s basically that.
As for the shower, yes it’s a simple plastic cubicle with a removeable shower head but the water is hot and it works. It’s all plastic, all wipe-clean, and you can put your toiletries on that little shelf there.
Let’s ignore the strong smell of damp coming from the oilcloth curtain and turn our attention to the other ameneties of the shower stall. There’s a big pile of towels and you can use as many of them as you want, just put them in the red laundry bag when you’re done. The little basket has individually wrapped bar soaps in it and a bin for you to put the wrapper of said bar soap in… but that’s it in terms of toiletries so bring anything else you’re going to need.
And that concludes our roomette tour. Please see yourself out by the nearest exit because Personal Space.
*Three whole people you guys!
**What we say at work about numbers that are clearly wrong but we don’t know how to get better ones