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“Open” bathrooms – love or hate?

by Andrea on July 26, 2012

One of the big trends in hotels is the move to glass-walled bathrooms (or wall-less bathrooms aka peek-a-boo bathrooms).  More rooms are being opened up, doing to the hotel bedroom what open-plan did to office life in the 1980s.  Town Hall Hotel for instance (pic above) has made bathrooms the star of the show in some suites, rather than shamefacedly tucking them away in the traditional way.  The Sanderson also has glass-walled bathrooms, nowadays perceived as adding a touch of modern luxury.

Some hotels, like the Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel where we recently had a design tour, also feature in-room baths, which I love as a luxury feature – for romantic candlelit bathing, with a little soft music playing and perhaps a bottle of champagne open.

Book direct with the Bloomsbury Street Hotel at best guaranteed rate

Another hotel which we know very well with an equally striking stand-alone in-room bathtub is the Montague on the Gardens in its famously luxurious Guv’nor’s Suite, which we featured as one of the top 5 champagne suites on a prosecco budget.  You can enjoy a bath in the copper bedroom bath tub before snuggling up in the faux fur bedding.

Check rates at the Montague Hotel

I’m in two minds about this trend.  On the one hand, glass walls help to lighten the space and make the room feel bigger.  For my taste, many hotel bathrooms are too dim.  And I like having natural light in the bathroom – you don’t look so horrible in the mirror as you do under artificial light!

On the other hand, if you’re sharing the room, glass walls don’t really help your dignity.  Even though I have been together with my significant other for a good few years, I’m not sure I want him to see me on the throne – and I don’t really want to see him doing likewise.  And of course if you’re sharing a room with a friend, for instance on a stag do or a bachelor weekend, I imagine it could really get difficult.

Naturally, there are various ways of ensuring a little privacy.  Opaque glass helps – though often it’s not really very opaque which can be a bit disconcerting.  Some places have pull-down shades and that can also be a solution – you won’t necessarily want to bother with them if you’re just refreshing your make-up or having a quick wash-and-brush-up.  The Town Hall Hotel has little curtains – but they’re on the outside of the bathroom, so remember to draw the curtains before you go in or it could be too late!

Best of all is smart glass technology.  The Brew House Hotel in Tunbridge Wells uses electrochromics to turn the glass bathroom walls opaque at the touch of a button – I haven’t seen it at any London hotels yet, but I’m sure some will be using it soon.  Better hope it doesn’t break down though!

But some hotels have gone even further than having transparent bathrooms – they’ve turned the baths into an art exhibit.  At The Sanctum, for instance, bathtubs stand on glass pebbles in the centre of the bedroom – and the pebbles twinkle with light when you’re in the bath.  While the ‘necessarium’ is hidden away, the bath is on display – and wonderfully luxurious, though perhaps not all that quick when you want to be up and dressed in ten minutes on Monday morning!

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Photo credits: Town Hall Hotel, Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel, Montague on the Gardens Hotel, Brew House Hotel.

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August 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

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