According to the American Standard Bathroom Habits online survey conducted in 2008 (yes, Virginia, a bathroom habits survey), more than a third of Americans alone read their mail in this part of the house, 15 percent talk on the phone and at least 3 percent watch TV. No wonder that hotels are increasingly providing guests with the means to do everything and anything while they perform their ablutions.
What?: Flat-screen TV that appears on the bathroom mirror
Why is it special?: The screen is so cleverly fitted behind the mirror above the sink, that now you see it, now you don’t. When switched on via the remote, it shows up on in the centre of the mirror like a hologram. By the way, there’s a second TV monitor in the bathtub area to keep you entertained while you soak.
It helps: Catching up on the latest news, information and episodes of your favourite TV show
Where is it available? In all the guestrooms in both the Old and New wings.
Four Seasons Beirut
What?: A sauna and steam room in the bathroom as well as a whirlpool
Why is it special?: Instead of heading down to the spa, guests can rejuvenate themselves in the privacy of their own bathrooms.
It helps: If you’re bone tired and don’t want to take another step
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
What?: Wardrobe connected to the bathroom
Why is it special?: These are designed with one main sliding door for access from the main bedroom and a small window, which can be accessed from the bathroom
It helps: Getting dressed without having to walk out of bathroom and being chilled by a blast of air conditioning
The Peninsula Tokyo
What?: The guestroom telephones, installed in the bathrooms, have been especially designed by The Peninsula group’s Electronic Services Department (ESD). The team is constantly fine tuning the chain’s in-room amenities to enhance guest comfort. The Toto 367 B watercloset is another notable feature.
Why is it special?: One of the designers Ingvar Herland, said: “A hotel is like a dance and the control system like a corps de ballet – smooth, elegant, comfortable.” And that’s exactly how anyone would describe the bathroom phone, which enables guests to sync their in-room phones with their own mobiles via Bluetooth or use the complimentary VOIP functions, such as Skype.
The gadgets reduce background noise and are equipped with censors that detect incoming calls, which then automatically mute the TV or radio and, if the lights are switched off, switch them back on.
The Toto toilet is another experience altogether with a seat cover that automatically rises, a seat heating option and massage facilities.
It helps: Answering calls without missing a bit, while luxuriating under the soap suds. As for the Toto toilet, need we say more?
W Hotel London
What?: A multi-purpose and fluid “non” bathroom
Why is it special?: Instead of allocating space to a typical bathroom with four walls, the boutique hotel has completely changed the concept, to one which “no longer recognises the bathroom and bedroom as two entirely separate areas”. The workstation, sink and vanity area are therefore one large marble table with separate cubicles for showers and toilets.
It helps: Since the dressing table doubles up as a dining table or workstation, it allows you to entertain guests by serving up cocktails or small dishes in your own room and using the basin as a kitchen sink.
Alisha Haridasani, Mark Caswell and Margie T Logarta