As spaces that allow guests to relax and rejuvenate, bathrooms are increasingly commanding an important part in a guest room’s design
By Bindu Gopal Rao
What do guests typically seek in a hotel room in addition to a clean and comfortable bed, great view and plenty of space? Well, a spotless and pleasant bathroom does earn hoteliers extra brownie points. This is exactly why they are ensuring that bathrooms become the talking point of their guest rooms.
Modern bathrooms are designed keeping simplicity in perspective; yet exude a sense of luxury and elegance. Increasingly, these spaces are becoming private refuges for travellers where they can spend some me-time. And the design of the room therefore has to match to this need.
Understanding that guests seek bathrooms that help them relax and rejuvenate, Marriott International has some key parameters on how these rooms should be designed across its various brands. Some of the core thoughts behind this standard design practices is to ensure the safety and comfort of the guest, while also warranting the brand’s core ethos are adhered to.
“While designing our guest bathrooms, the interior designer has to comply with the standards and design features as specified by our company keeping in mind the colour scheme and layout features,” said Kingsley Pareira, housekeeping executive, Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai. Other features that are usually included in the bathroom design are anti-skid floorings and grab bars, branded high quality bathroom fixtures and fittings, health faucets, telephones connections, audio and video connectivity, lighting moods and international multi-use plug points in the bathroom.
Also, many interior designers and hoteliers have realised the need to design these spaces intelligently as space is a premium. Smita Rathod, director of services, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Marriott Executive Apartments pointed out.
“Guests earlier enjoyed soaking in a lavish standalone bath tub with beautiful marble-clad walls around and soothing lighting. However, many hotels are doing away with these bathtubs, as space is a constraint. Instead, they have modern cubicles with wall mounted shower jets and overhead rain shower fixtures. This can be a treat to corporate guests, after a hectic workday.”
Three-fixture bathrooms are in today as this way the cubicles can become bigger and a comfortable shower bench can be added. And with the rising number of women travellers and long-stay guests, larger vanity counters can be added to accommodate their stuff. Prime Material Designing an elegant hotel bathroom also calls for selecting the right kind of materials and colour palette. Bright shiny tiles and surfaces are no longer in favour; matte, nude and neutral colours are in trend. This space is also witnessing the emergence of newer technology, like fast and more accurate shower thermostat. JW Marriott Kolkata, for instance, uses censor technology in faucets that contributes greatly to water saving, especially in public areas. The hotel has also worked on the space allocation for the four-fixture setup – a standalone bathtub with a panoramic view of the city. It has been designed in a manner that makes it chic, personal and vibrant with day light option. Talking about this Biswadeep Chowdhury, housekeeping manager, JW Marriott Kolkata said, “Our bathrooms are equipped with temperature control systems to ensure that the desired temperature is reached in a fraction of a second and maintained for the entire duration of the shower.” Talking about other solutions that are similarly available in the market, he said that high-efficiency faucets consume less water using aerators and built-in floor reducers.
Contemporary bathrooms are a wonderful amalgamation of technological efficiency and aesthetics; opulent, yet sleek. This integration of technology with bath-ware fixtures has revolutionised the segment and its adherent offerings. Highlighting some of the latest solutions available, Manish Bhatia, president, Building Products Division, HSIL Limited said his company has various innovative technologies like Aquasheet flushing technology that is the first of its kind in India, which offers 100% clean and rimless range of WCs, integrated jet, rimless combined with integrated jet. “These products are very easy to clean, which is a huge benefit for clients’ housekeeping staff. In washbasins, we have ceramic waste coupling that gives a more contemporary and clean look to the bathroom. We also have thin rim basins that are better in terms of aesthetic; sleek and edgy and suit the modern day consumer’s requirement better.” “In terms of materials of the future, Nano Technology is making waves. We currently use Silver Nano Technology for our germ free sanitary range of Johnson Bathrooms. This technology adds unique anti-bacterial properties, giving superior hygiene and protection,” said Pankaj Sharma, president, Johnson Bathrooms & Kitchens.
In design trends, this year marked a return to the organic and natural décor, according to Abhishek Somany, MD, Somany Ceramics. While the use of wood is not essentially advisable for wet places, the advent of faux wood tiles and planks has made it possible to have wooden floors and walls in bathrooms and kitchens. These faux wooden floors bring a warm and rustic elegance and these tiles and planks are easy to install and far more durable than their natural counterparts.
“Another interesting trend that has come to the forefront are colour-bodied tiles. These have longer durability and retain their original colour. This unique quality enables the Tesoro tiles to maintain a uniform front and back colour that makes any kind of chipping, wear and tear unerring, thereby increasing the durability of this range,” Somany added.
Seema Ramakrishna, head, interiors, Brigade Group noted that the tried and tested material remains imported marble, be it for an accent or something that blends with the surrounding environs. “The sanitary and CP fittings are curvilinear to add to the ease of use. Their use sees the space as less of a ‘toilet’ and more as an extension of the guest room,” he noted.
Moreover, materials like stainless steel and copper have found their way to the design aesthetics of modern bathrooms through faucets and fixtures. These tones not only accentuate the room’s appearance, but are far more resilient when it comes to fighting rust, wear and tear.
While brass can be quite eye-catching and designers have been using them in bathrooms often, Emanuela Tavolini, sales director, Europe, GRAFF stated that for the showers, stainless steel is better preferred to brass, especially for showerheads.
“GRAFF offers a wide range of stainless steel products inside its wellness program: from the ultra-slim showerheads to the ones with LED chromotheraphy or mist function; from the multifunction Aqua-sense shower system to the awarded Ametis showerhead and shower column,” she claimed.
The market has a plethora of options as far as materials that give an organic look to the bathrooms are concerned. “Use of glass allows easy passage of natural light making the bathrooms appear bigger. Other materials like stone and wood provide bathrooms with a spa-like feeling. Adding the right finish to faucets and showers lends another eye-catching panache to the bathroom. Ultimately, though, it is the hotel’s sense of style and their guest preferences that is taken into consideration,” said Gaurav Malhotra, MD, Hansgrohe India.
Manufacturers are taking great pains to ensure that bathroom products are as eco-friendly as possible. “Through innovation we recently added the eco-flush facility that can conserve lots of water by using only 4.7 litres for full flush and three litres for half flush. Additionally, our wide range of bathroom products includes a rain shower panel with inbuilt FM Radio and touch screen technology. Faucets with the durashine feature to give long lasting shine and its special cartridges ensure smooth movement of single lever faucets. The faucets also have eco-friendly features and contain water saving aerators,” explained Sharma.
KE Ranganathan, MD, Roca Bathrooms added, that cold start faucets is an innovation designed for sustainability, with water and energy saving capability and zero CO2 emissions. “It allows guests to use cold water for daily bathroom rituals with a lever in the centre. In addition to saving water, companies can save energy by using it, as it prevents the boiler from firing up when not needed.”
Bathrooms are certainly changing and guests are appreciating the small touches that designers and hoteliers are adding for their comfort – a win-win situation for both!