From a simple and practical three fixture bath room of the mid 70’s to the opulent seven fixture luxury bath room of today, the hotels have kept pace with the ever evolving needs and demands of its guests and users. However we all need to take a breath and think the rational. Is it sane to extend the definition of luxury and comfort? Where do we stop? Remember, we all are responsible members of the society and so should be concerned about our environment, every additional fixture in the bathroom adds to the consumption of energy in the form of water or electricity, increasing the carbon foot print of the hotel.
It is perhaps from this point of view that both the designers and the hoteliers are for once talking about the bathrooms of tomorrow in our hotels. The fixture manufactures are also sharing their concerns by actively engaging their research teams to come out with innovative ideas and technologies to conserve energy in any form that they can.
From all that I see, read and understand, our hotel bathroom designing is going to see a major change in approach and style in the future. While retaining the touch of class and comfort, it will greatly impact our behavior towards the way we use water and our environment. One major element that will play a defining role in design considerations of a futuristic bathroom will be the use of water. As hotels consume huge quantity of water, the focus will gradually shift to fixtures and gadgets that will not only conserve this precious resource – water, but will also reduce energy cost of the hotel and making the hotel more eco friendly.
From the guest’s point of view that is not only looking for luxury and experience, the hotels can compensate the reduction of fixtures by increasing the space and adding an alternate gadget like a bike or a simple treadmill. You have not taken away either the comfort or the feel, yet enhanced the experience and space which the guest does not enjoy at home. Come to think of it, you have also added a competitive edge to your rooms. Individual exercise space in the room. All one needs is to streamline the wants and needs and replace one with another as filler.
Creating positive experience being the buzzword for designers, I feel that future hotel bathrooms could witness a lot of play with lighting and sound. Since a hotel guest spends a good amount of time in the bathroom, creative mood lighting for different time zones with complimenting music could not only enhance the overall experience but also easily find gues’st acceptance as a substitute for additional fixtures. After all there is luxury in less also, provided the less is of top quality. Another feature of the future bathrooms will be the quality of acoustics. The cisterns or flush valves will operate more quietly than ever.
After the bed, bathrooms are the most important guest experience creators and satisfiers and therefore the hotel operator as well as the bathroom designer s are jointly engaged in evolving a design and space that will not only be practical but also eco-friendly without compromising guests comforts. We had recently witnessed hotels switching to rain showers in the bathrooms, with many switching back to multifunctional showerheads because the female guests were not very happy with rain showers. The point being made is that every aspect of the bathroom designing needs a thorough and detailed research. Every designer of a hotel bathroom has to address the needs of the ultimate user from safety, experience and energy consumption point of view.
I am very certain the hotel managers and the designers have sustainability as a major issue to address, however they cannot ignore the guest, who is paying to use what they create and operate. The challenge is complex and needs a balanced resolution, I feel that when I use a hotel bathroom in 2020, it will be way different than what it is today – a responsible and sustainable bathroom.
Ram Gupta is a professional hotelier with over four decades of experience in India, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has completed his hotel management studies from The Institute of Hotel Management Catering & Nutrition, Pusa, New Delhi and has done higher studies from Germany. A Member of Institute of Hospitality, U.K., he is also a Certified Hotel Administrator from U.S.A. He has worked for some of the best hotel chains and was associated with over two dozen hotel projects in varying capacities. He has served on a number of trade bodies and boards of various companies. He is now an independent consultant in the Industry. His web site can be viewed at www.bcgglobal.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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