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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bathrooms With A View -- Of You!

open-bathroom-5Image by highfithome via FlickrJust when you thought you had a firm handle on all the things to check on before booking into a hotel comes this news:
"From the chic boutiques of London and Los Angeles to hot new hotels in more exotic locales like India and China, exposed bathrooms are a growing trend," reports the New York Times, "whether in the form of transparent glass walls and shower stalls or bathtubs set in the middle of the bedroom like free-standing sculptures."
That last reference is to London's Sanctum Hotel, where bathtubs sit in the middle of the room on a bed of "backlit black pebbles."
The experience is supposed to be "glamorous and otherworldly."
Hmmm. Then why does the dictionary define "sanctum" as "a private room where one is not to be disturbed" (or, presumably, spied upon)? Maybe they should call it the Flasher Hotel.

Exposed bathrooms, also called "open bathrooms," have a number of rationales, according to their defenders.

Some say they are "sexy." Designers say they save space and create a "sense of added luxury." One says that they allow visitors to "multitask" by watching TV in the other room.

Now I'll be the first to admit that a beautiful young starlet might be sexy taking a bubble bath. But how many of us are starlets or travel with one?

And how sexy will she look when the bath is over and she attends to even more personal matters?

As for multitasking, people have been taking the newspaper into the bathroom for decades and they don't need glass walls to read it, either.

The best justification cited by the Times comes from designer Alicia Loo (I'm not making that name up) who says her exposed bathrooms serve as a "design ambassador" for Renaissance Capitol Hotel Beijing.

"Exposed toilets may strike some as a rather literal interpretation of China's open door policy," she explains.

Michael Attenborough, who heads up interior design at Radisson Edwardian Hotels, is equally enthusiastic. "All our friends who've seen it say, 'Oh, my god, that's so fantastic," he gushes.

"Some people are very prudey," he sniffs at those who disagree. Prudey may be current Brit-speak for normal.

Now I'm a big believer in travel as an opportunity to (ahem) expose yourself to new ideas, but I tend to agree with seasoned traveler Lisa Feder-Feitel, who is given the last word in the Times piece:

"This is the design equivalent of 'too much information.'"

Travelers and the travel agents who book them may also be interested to know that Ms. Feder-Feitel, having surveyed her exposed bathroom with its equally exposed toilet, immediately decamped for another hotel.

Kelly Monaghan is a home-based travel agent and writer. He has been helping people succeed as home-based travel agents since 1994. He offers further guidance for those who want to become a travel agent at his web site


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