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It's all about the Bathroom - Big tubs are the new trend.
By Sarah Muxlow ~ exclusively written for
Tuesday, 8th August 2006

The style, the cleanliness and the position of the en-suite has become increasingly important as of late -

When asked in a recent survey, guests have indicated that their biggest housekeeping concern is the cleanliness of the bath tub and toilet. The linens, bed bugs and rodents come further down the list.

Not only is bathroom cleanliness a top concern in itself but it is also an influencing factor relating to brand loyalty; one bad experience in a hotel chain’s bathroom and over 70% of guests said they wouldn’t visit the brand again. This emphasises equal attention has to be given to each location within a chain.

Big tubs are the new trend.

It’s official, bath tubs are back. After many years of taking a bashing, the English preference for bathing over a quick shower, is back in fashion and has spread world wide. The bathroom for many is now seen as a room to relax and unwind on a leisurely weekend or after a long flight. The en suite is more than just a functional pit stop.

For boutique hoteliers this trend panders to their love of luxury and relaxation and comes as no surprise. The Maison Orleans, for example keeps people coming back with a feature 3 foot wide Jacuzzi in their special rooms. Add to this fresh flowers, wrought iron candle sticks, fragrance and chic products and you have a serene and beautiful environment.

Heated or chilled? We’re talking about the temperature of your towels that is. The absence of adequate towels (the size, quality and number are noted alongside the quality of the robe provided) are a concern as is the way they are presented. Other extra facilities that are frequently requested on satisfaction questionnaires are a TV and telephone visible or within the bathroom and a high power hair dryers.

In contrast, a top irritation is the impossibility to have a shower without flooding the bathroom and tiles that are slippery when wet. There is also a strong preference by many customers to have the toilet separate to the main bathroom. A further practical issue is whether there is sufficient water pressure to fill the tub efficiently or have a high pressure shower if preferred.

A bathroom with a viewFor many establishments, given the space it takes to install such a facility, the spa bath is better placed in a public shared area. This tends to be a more cost effective use of space rather than redesigning each room unit.
New alternatives to shared bathing or sauna areas are open plan bedrooms. In this bathroom model, the toilet is enclosed but the bath tub is a feature within the living and bedroom area. This avoids cramping a large tub in a small space.

Open plan not only avoids small badly lit cramped bathrooms but allows for a separate toilet and the tv and music can be heard/watched at the same time. Alternatively, baths are place within the bathroom but with a window that opens into the bedroom and then a view beyond. The peak-a-boo window has the advantage of being the half way house between separate or central.

The view from the big tub has become equally important to guests in some sectors. Hotels who have the privacy, place their tubs in the centre of the bedroom with an open clear view for the bather to see beyond the balcony into the rain forest or onto the beach.

It is fair to say, bathrooms are no longer such a cost cutting renovation option. The quality of tiles, vanity units, lighting and products are keeping suppliers specialising. The needs of the short time visitors, as well as vacation travellers are different to a domestic bathroom.

Marble bathroom finishing, warm wooden edging or slate, the key elements are long lasting classy quality that wont date, that can be cleaned easily and that ensure the bathroom a long life.

Classic rather than trendy means sustainability.

SpotLight is the weekly column exclusively written for by Sarah Muxlow, it is highlighting the challenges and issues which the global hospitality is facing today.

Sarah is writing for hotel and restaurant owners, hotel chain managers, producers/growers/sellers of food & beverage, restaurant associations, governing bodies and hotel schools. She is looking at the problems they face...competition, trends of branding, staff shortages, unskilled staff, turning out students who are looking for good in-house management training schemes with hotel chains, what makes a good quality training course at a hotel school and more...

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