Thursday, November 12, 2009

Designing the perfect hotel room: the bathtub

Specifying the ideal hotel shower consumed two lengthy blog posts. My hope is that the tub proves simpler, but we shall see.

Let's do the easy parts first: All the towels, for this and the shower and the rest of the bathroom, should be from the same source: Liddell linens, as I mentioned in the shower post. A large number of towels, at least three sets of both the normal and the huge size, should also be easily reachable from the tub, as should washcloths. Finally, the tub should share with the shower the traits of having built-in drains all around it, so any overflow trickles quietly away, and a large exit mat that is comfortable and heavily absorbent, perhaps in part by being over a fine mesh drain.

Now, to the specifics of the tub itself. A large, Japanese-style soaking style would be best, one in which you can fill it so high that a tall person can easily have the water reach his or her neck. It should be big enough for two large people (or four very friendly normal ones) to be comfortable in it. If two people are in it, each should be able to lean back and relax. We're talking at least six feet long by four feet wide. If you're alone and want to stretch out, you should be able to do so.

Yes, this design means you could drown in it. A waiver of liability for the tub and shower should be part of what you must sign upon check-in.

To fill this beast, you should have four faucets, each capable of pounding out so much water that you would have trouble holding your hand under one. The hot water must, of course, be unlimited; as with the shower, point-of-contact heating would be best.

For those who are worried about the eco implications of all the water I'm consuming, my dream hotel is, of course, using solar power to clean and reuse all gray water.

Jets, lots of them and at different heights, are mandatory. All four sides should have jets that could hit at least your lower and upper back, as well as your legs. They should be easily controlled from buttons on any of a set of four diagrams within comfortable reach of either occupant.

The surface of the tub should be heated so that when you get in, you never experience cold if you don't want it.

An HD TV, with music channels and built-in speakers providing surround sound, should be viewable from either position without having to crane your neck; yes, this means two TVs, one above either end of the tub. You should be able to dock your iPod to the same sound system. The same waterproof touch pad that manages the jets should control them.

All along one side of the tub should run a soft shelf on which you can put your drink or book, as well as hand towels for drying off before picking up said book.

To enter the tub, you should be able to walk up steps at one end or just step over the tub's lip. The steps should have handholds on either end and be non-slip.

I've had tubs that hit some of the high points of this one in a few hotels, notably in an otherwise unremarkable establishment in Memphis and in the Grand Hyatt Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, but I've never come close enough to satisfy me.

Now, back to you, other travelers and interested readers: What would you change or add?


John Lambshead said...

Mark, You have spent way, way, too much time on the road when you start caring what a hotel is like.


Michelle said...

I would insist upon some guarantee of unquestionable cleanliness in said tub as I couldn't relax knowing that it wasn't scoured, bleached and disinfected from the germs of the previous unknown occupant. Also, even though this would be impossible in every room, I would want a window or skylight so that laying back and enjoying the gifts of nature could be part of my experience.

Mark said...

John, you may well be right.

Mark said...

Michelle, the cleanliness goes without saying in a hotel of this caliber. As for the view, well, we haven't gotten to the rest of the space yet, though obviously in a hotel only the top floor can have skylights.

MQH,Himself said...

Stepping (or climbing!)in or out of the tub: Safety!! So many current tub/showers are an adventure in finding "how far down" the bathroom floor is in comparison to the tub/shower floor.

A thought for those of us with worsening knees etc. Maybe there can be a luxurious handicapped hoist (with good toweling incorporated) that could help us in or out. Especially if the tub is such a nice deep tub that it needs steps into and out of it.

Mark: As far as John's comment above(even tho he may be right), he evidently has never run into excellent, decadent comfort. I'm with you on this one.

J. Griffin Barber said...

I think a must for the HDTV is The Bath Channel: Showing Psycho and other films that illuminate for the viewer the foolishness of taking a shower as opposed to the more sedate and tranquil bath.

Any curtain or privacy screen must be capable of becoming transparent at the touch of a button, in case one becomes fearful watching the bath channel. Or if you simply wish to flash someone unwise enough to enter the shrine to cleanliness while it is occupied.

The fan must be operable from the bathtub as well, so that you can start it just before stepping out, if you prefer. I hate breezes while wet.

the Web Weasel said...

For those of us who are a bit short, the problem with a tub that spacious is that if you sink low enough to get the water up to your chin you can't reach the end of the tub with your feet to brace yourself and under you go! I nearly drowned that way in a bathtub at the Savoy in London. Perhaps an indentation like those in most hot tubs to keep one from slipping forward.

Mark said...

MQH, I definitely agree. That's why I had steps leading up to the shower and handrails on the steps. On the other hand, the mere thought of a small motorized lift cracks me up--yet would be useful.

Mark said...

Web Weasel, I take your point, so we should add a butt shelf along each end. The shelf would sit ever so slightly above the rest of the tub's bottom and tilt backward slightly, so that no one would slide forward.

Mark said...

Griffin, I agree about the fan and the glass that can change opacity. That glass would be nice for both the tub and the shower. Each TV should have video input options (with cables) so notebooks could drive them, as well as built-in DVD players, so though there is no Bath Channel outside your head, you could make your own. How's that for service?

Ticia said...

On a tangent, what would a luxurious bathroom look like on a state-of-the-art spaceship? All the bathing facilities are normally spartan in Sci-Fi books. But, what if money wasn't an object? You could recirculate almost all of the water, even from the towels. So water waste wouldn't be a problem. You could control heat, humidity, and gravity. What else would be different?

You get me thinking about dream situations and it just opens the doors to my imaginaton.

Marjorie said...

I would like a neck-pillow, and as the tub is so wide, maybe some pull-out arm/head rests, so the tub can be configured for the way you want to use it.

And as well as washcloths there should be an exfoliating mitt or two, please.

Perhaps the TV screens could have a variety of 'vitual windows' programmed in so you could choose to have a 'window' looking over the ocean, or forest, or snowy scenes. Hey, maybe we could add a 3rd screen for the skylight, so we can have clouds & birds, or starts?

Mark said...

Nice ideas, Marjorie. Picture in picture should meet most TV needs, though a life feed from outside would be good. You're right about the exfoliating mitt, which as a great hairy beast I tend to forget. I definitely agree about the neck pillow. Thanks!

Mark said...

That's an interesting question, because rarely anymore does SF focus on the lives of the rich and famous in space or other exotic locales. Might be fun to do such a story sometime.


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