Bathrooms are increasingly taking centre stage within boutique hotels. The independent boutique sector is often used for leisure breaks rather than just brief business stopovers and standards have to be higher.
And while it may not be in the hotel’s list of business objectives, there is a lot of evidence that points to hotel bathroom design and equipment influencing what goes into the bathroom remodel project at home – a sector as near and dear to the heart of Hansgrohe UK as is the luxury hotel market itself.
For Mark Sait founder and managing director of SaveMoneyCutCarbon, a subsidiary of Intelligent Resource Management Ltd, reducing the amount of water used in hotel bathrooms was one key element. “For many guests, the shower is the single most important feature”, he told the IHS audience, “but the technology exists to reduce the amount of water used without impacting on the comfort of the hotel’s guests. We were actually called back by one hotel and asked to finish our work because they hadn’t noticed we had already substantially reduced the amount of water being used.”
Georgie Pearman and her husband and business partner Sam are the proprietors of The Lucky Onion that owns and runs bars, restaurants and hotels including No 131 and The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach. “We want to give our guests a luxurious stay,” she said. “We want them to have a full-on bathing experience that they may not get at home, so when space permits; we give them a fantastic bathroom with a big shower, twin wash basins, even twin baths if there is room. With some of our properties the rooms are quite small so we will put the shower and wash basin in the bedroom.”
As head of communications for the AXOR brand of luxury bathroom brassware and showering solutions it was pretty obvious even before he spoke that Michael Kiolbassa was firmly in favour of a great shower experience. “Reducing water use without reducing the enjoyment of the showering experience is something we at AXOR are famous for,” he said. “We are a luxury brand and our reputation can also enhance the reputation of a hotel that fits AXOR or Hansgrohe in its bathrooms. Longevity of the products is very important too, and this calls for great design and high quality fittings. A hotel cannot afford to have an ensuite bathroom out of action.”
Vanessa Brady OBE, international multi-award winning interior designer, business consultant and founder of the Society of British and International Design, begged to differ with the other speakers. “I think it’s the loo that holds the key to a great bathroom,” she said. “Nobody wants to walk away from a toilet in the bathroom that has not worked properly. However, I think that the single most important feature of a hotel bathroom is the reliability of the fittings. Being unable to shower at home is a nuisance for sure, but for a hotelier, it means you cannot rent out that room. So buying cheap can turn out to be very expensive.”
“We are not yet at the point where a guest will book into one of our rooms because it has a great bathroom,” concluded Georgie Pearman. “They come to us because of our Cotswold setting and our great restaurant. “But if we do not deliver on the bathroom as well, it will spoil the whole stay and we may not get them back, and they almost certainly will not recommend us either.”