by Larry Mundy
The Basic Hotel Shower-Tub Combination - a Relic?
|One thing is for certain, traveling is a dirty job – even when a guest
is just headed from Des Moines to Albuquerque to spend the night and attend
a morning meeting. Airports, taxis, and subways are not held to the
highest hygiene standards. And even a guest who arrives in his own
car has probably been in a harsh environment, if his car is like mine and
was last cleaned during the Eisenhower administration. Inevitably,
your guests are meeting an important client, or hoping to get lucky in
the bar. They want to change into clothes freshly wrinkled from being
tossed around in their suitcases and frozen in the cargo holds of 737’s.
So first, they want to clean themselves.
The basic shower-tub combination has been around, well, longer than me, and that’s a very long time. It is the standard hotel bath configuration, because the guest can choose to stand and shower, or lie and soak. But lately there’s been a vicious attack on this historic something-for-everybody institution. Several lodging brands, at all price points, are declaring the tub a relic and specifying ever-fancier shower stalls.
Let me admit it up front: I’m a soaker. I think there is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath, at least if the hotel hasn’t decorated the tub bottom with those silly non-slip rubber pads that stick to your nether region. I don’t really care that I’m steeping in my own “dirty water,” even though I know you get cleaner in a shower, because I’m not really that dirty. I’m tired, I’m jet-lagged, I’m sore from contorting into an airline seat designed for munchkins, and I’m not interested in traipsing down to the hotel’s lukewarm whirlpool in my skivvies to find it full of partying teenagers. One of the joys of staying in a hotel is that there is an endless supply of water hot enough to parboil shrimp, with just a turn of the tap.
I am told scientific research indicates 87% of the adult population
prefers showers to baths, and therefore that we would make most people
happy with a fancier shower and no space-wasting tub. To which I
say, almost the same percentage of Americans are right-handed. Those
13% of left-handed people are typically viewed as odd and clumsy (and in
my case, singularly unattractive), and thus more likely to injure themselves.
Do we design a right-handed hotel, in the hope those odd lefties will move
on to the next hostelry down the block? What would your P&L look
like with a 13% drop in occupancy?
The college-age crowd likes tubs, too. Not because they bathe in them, but because during Spring Break, a properly-sized hotel tub will hold 6 cases of beer and 4 bags of ice. A shower stall is no match for this.
Many elderly people are a little unstable on their feet. They are more unstable standing in soapy water. So we place grab rails in the shower stall, right? So they can bathe themselves one-handed? Try that sometime yourself.
A shower stall is not good for leg-shaving, either. Shower-only hotels force women to learn the “stork dance,” standing on one foot in slippery, soapy water while wielding a sharp object and contorting the free leg into shaveable position. Guys, imagine playing “Twister” on a greased surface while wielding a Swiss army knife. Oversized shower stalls with seats are only marginally better, because not all women are the same height, the seats are slippery, and in a shower the shaving gel goes down the drain before it’s of any use.
So if children, young adults, elderly people and women find legitimate uses for a hotel tub, who does that leave? Dirty old men. We are designing hotel rooms for dirty old men. I say, give them another racy cable channel on the TV and let the rest of us enjoy our tubs.
Larry Mundy works for a hotel company in Dallas. His views are his own, and may differ considerably from those of a sane person."
|Also See:||Different Views of Customer Service - The Airline “Passenger Experience” vs the Hotel Guest Experience/ Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006|
|The Hotel Guest With Half a Brain / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|The Latest Thing - Fractional Ownership Of Things or FOOT Financing for Hotels / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|Hotel Floor Surfaces - Hard or Soft? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|Hotel Bathroom Origami - That Tiny Detail of Carefully Triangulated Toilet Paper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|A Chain, a System, a Franchise, a Collection, a Group, a Brand... / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|The Forensic Hotel Housekeeper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|The Exercise Room in Your Hotel - Sweating the Details / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006|
|Remembering the old-time Hotel Engineering Department / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006|
|Curse of the Hotel Lobby-Dwellers / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006|
|What Do You Do With an Old Hotel? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006|
|Hotel Smokers: A Dying Breed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|The New Food & Beverage – Food “Just Like Home” / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|Guest Privacy – It’s Not Just a Door Tag Anymore / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|The Future of Hotel Reservations / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|Soon Every Town in America Will Have an Unused Convention Center / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|Hotel Pool Safety 101 / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|Where Not To Build a Hotel / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006|
|“Exterior Corridors” – Disappearing, Because They Never Existed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy|
|My Top Ten Worst Hotel Inventions / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006|
|Bed Tech / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006|
|A Sense of Arrival / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006|