Saturday, November 7, 2009

Designing the perfect hotel room: the shower

I travel a fair amount, so I end up spending a lot of nights in hotels. I've stayed in everything from sketchy rooms at motels with numbers in their names to a two-thousand-square-foot suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago and the Julia Child room at the Inn At Little Washington. Many of these rooms have been amazing, but none has achieved what for me would be perfection.

So, I'm going to design my own perfect luxury hotel room, in installments, as the mood strikes me. Then, all I need is a company to implement these plans. I won't even charge for the design services.

I won't be considering price. I'm describing an ideal; I expect it to be expensive.

I'm starting with the shower because it's one part of the room I will use every day.

The space itself should be larger than most hotels provide; six feet wide and six feet deep will do. There should be a place to sit at the end, not because I'll use it--I won't--but because it will appeal to others and it's a good place to put shower supplies.

Speaking of such repositories for supplies, there should be at least four large ones, two low and two high, to accommodate people of different sizes and preferences. Each should be able to comfortably hold small bottles of shampoo and conditioner (which I don't carry but recognize many do), a bar of soap, and a razor.

Built into one wall stretching from about five feet high to about six and a half feet high should be a fog-resistant mirror for shaving.

The floor and any solid walls should be tile, preferably larger pieces, and the floor tile should be heated. (Yes, I know that's tricky with water, but it's solvable.)

I mentioned solid walls because sometimes showers have glass walls. I don't care one way or the other about that, so I leave that to the implementers.

What is vital is that the space provide multiple shower heads. In addition to two large shower heads at about seven feet high, the room should provide a detachable shower head (not for me, again, but for others) and at least four others, one hitting your body at about chest height from each direction. All should be adjustable in both height and water pressure.

Water pressure is a key issue for the shower. The water stream should be intense enough that if on full you fear you may lose skin as you look like Shatner and Nimoy faking G forces. The hotel will need you to sign a waiver of liability for the damage that water pressure can do to you. Sign it and enjoy.

You'll also need to free the hotel of liability for the heat, because the water should be able to be very hot--and stay hot even if you're in the shower for a few hours. Point-of-contact heaters would be best.

The shower heads should be large, powerful (as I noted above), and in all but the case of one of the two overheads, adjustable, so you can choose your favorite type of water flow. Why two overhead nozzles? So you can have one that is a rain-type head, but with huge water pressure, and one more conventional head.

The door should have a rod--a heated one, of course--on the outside with enough space to leat you hang two large towels without them touching.

The towels should all be Liddell, of course, with at least four each per person of wash cloth, hand towel, normal shower towel, and beach towel. I leave color to the designers, but ideally the room would be both warm and cheerful.

The closest I've come to this ideal shower was in a small suite at Caesar's Palace, where the shower was all glass but had five shower heads, enough water pressure that I never had any nozzle on full, and so much hot water that after my first, half-hour shower, I couldn't tell any difference in heat from when I'd started.

I know I've omitted one shower item: the toiletries. I haven't discussed them because I have no idea what's good or what's not, so personally I don't care. So, at the risk of sounding sexist, let me say on this subject the one thing that would matter to me: The toiletries should be so exotic, so great, so expensive, and so amazing that any woman who cared about such things and who was in the room or in another room on the same trip would gush about them and steal them all to take home for her own use and maybe, just maybe, for giving to a few select friends whom she deemed worthy.

One other point about the supplies: The hotel should have tons of them, at least three complete sets in the bathroom, and it should happily replenish all of them every day when they mysteriously vanish.

Just build their cost into the bill. It's not like this is going to be a cheap room.

Other travelers and interested readers: What would you change or add?


Brian Derrick said...

I couldn't agree more about the shower. That's the place where the designers should start. But they should also have a bath tub in the bathroom. So big it seats 2 sitting side by side, with jets. And a TV facing tub (let the designers figure out how to deal with 100% humidity). Have the tub be heated so the tub stays the same temp while you're in it for 2 hours.

Oh, and if you're including a bathroom scale, make sure that is off by 3 pounds too light.

vampi said...

i like the idea of a fancy shower.

i would want to add, if the shower has a swing door, that the shower door and bathroom door should be situated in a way they do not conflict. also, for a shower with so many unusual elements, a discrete clue as to how to operate the shower would be appreciated.

what are your thoughts on tv/radio/telephone in the bathroom? those features always make me giggle.

Michelle said...

That bathroom sounds lovely, especially the non-ending hot water and water pressure hard enough to flatten you against the wall. The only thing I would add is a thick rug so when you step out, you don't risk the chance of slipping on wet tile. Of course, the rug would be deep enough so your toes disappear and it would have to be replaced daily as it wouldn't dry properly, but what luxury. I especially like the multiple showerheads. Is any hotel chain out there listening?

Mark said...

Brian, I haven't even gotten started on the rest of the bathroom, but I will cover it.

Mark said...

vampi, I agree about the shower door, though in a bathroom as big as the one I'll describe--bigger than most hotel rooms--that won't be a problem. I also agree about an instruction set on the wall; I should have mentioned that.

More on the bathroom electronics when I do the rest of the bathroom.

MQH,Himself said...

Light!!! There has to be lots of wattage shining IN the shower. Therefore the lighting fixtures need to be INSIDE the shower/tub. I've had contractors tell me that there's the possibility of electrocution. My response is that if they can put in underwater lights in swimming pools etc; they surely can figure out a way to put light on the ceiling. Of course, underwater lights in the shower/tub walls and floor would be way cool also.

I really hate it when the room itself has decent light but when you pull the shower door/curtain closed it becomes dim dim dim.

It would be great that the design allows ZERO water to escape and make a swamp of the room outside the shower/tub.

MQH,Himself said...


There has to be lots of light INSIDE the shower/tub.

When you close the shower door/curtain, you should not be standing in complete dimness.
Twilight is not for the shower/tub.

For that matter underwater lights in the shower/tub walls and floor would be way cool. (Love your heated tiles/floor!)

No leakage would be great too. There should be absolutely no way for water to escape and pool in the room. I don't want to step out and stand in a swamp.

Dry!! The room air should not be so moist that a towel doesn't get you dry. (Maybe there could be a separate "drying tube" with blowing warm air as an option - in addition to towels.)

In all cases, the designers should design the room, build it, and then TRY IT OUT. They will undoubtedly have to repeat the process until they get it right.

Mark said...

MQH, I completely agree, and I should have said that. The bathroom, like the main room, should have many lights and lighting options, most with dimmers, so you can choose whatever intensity you like. (I prefer a bright room.)

I also definitely agree that no water should be able to escape the shower.

Mark said...

MQH, I also agree about drying, which means excellent venting. You should, though, be able to turn off that venting. If you're someone from a humid area, as I am, and you want to fill the bathroom with humidity, you should be able to do so.

Of course, I haven't yet hit my temperature and humidity controls for the main and bathroom spaces. Those will follow.

Ticia said...

You've obviously put a lot of thought into this shower. Your dream shower is perfect. The only thing I would add is a "steam shower" option. For anyone who suffers from allergies or asthma, a steam room is more than just a decadent luxury. That said, it would be the first decadent amenity I'd put in my own shower enclosure, if I could afford it.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Ticia, that's a good addition. Thanks.

Mark said...

Michelle, I prefer a rug or towel that your toes don't sink into, but it should be thick and large and absorbent.

Marjorie said...

I definitely want a deep tub, please, as well as the shower. And the towels need to be white, please. And a really fluffy bathrobe or two.

The palces for putting things on/in need to be designed so that small items don't fall through any gaps, and either deep enough or with a lip, so that wet bottles on a wet surface don't slide or fall off.

Next to the tub, there needs to be a shelf wide enough to set down your glass of wine, book or magazine and the hand towel from drying your hands in order to pick up the book or magazine.

Have you designed any of the rest of the room, yet?

Mark said...

Thanks, Marjorie. I agree on your points but have not gotten to the tub. I will do so this week. The tub will require its own entry, as will the sink/counter, and then the room itself will be another post. I want to get it right!


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