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I’d just like to wade in and add my tuppence-worth to Anthony’s great post on the Top 10 best hotel bathrooms. It’s probably a topic that merits a bigger hit-list, and one that’s fairly subjective as it depends very much whether you’re a soak-in-the-tub or a power-shower type of person (I’m both, according to whim and weather). It’s also dependent on whether your tastes run to hi-tech new-fangled technology (LCD screens above the bath; glass screens that go opaque at the touch of a button; 18 shower-head options; multi-jet Jacuzzi with underwater colour-therapy lights) or full-blown romance (muslin curtains draped over a roll-top bath; tubs with a view; beamed ceilings, antique wash stands, that sort of thing).

Outdoor soaking tub in a Wet room at the Standard Miami hotel, Florida

So here are a few of my favourite boutique-hotel bathrooms (it’s a fairly whimsical, entirely personal, non-logical type of list, so feel free to wander off and do something more interesting if soap suds and over-the-sink chat bore you. Incidentally the amazing pic above is of the Standard Miami – but more of that below…).


The Palm Suite bathrooms are extraordinarily well designed: unusually, they are top-lit by a skylight, which means there’s lots of natural daylight (in many larger hotels, bathrooms tend to occupy the back end of a room ‘unit’ and therefore flank a windowless corridor rather than an external wall). There are twin sinks, loads of storage space for grooming products and discarded nightwear, and a massive glass and marble walk-in shower. You can switch from one of those wand-style hand-held eye-level attachments to a frighteningly powerful overhead rainshower if you like. If you’re a numpty like me, a choice of attachments like that means getting a faceful of water before you work out how to switch them. (Practicality: not my forte.) The free-standing modern bathtubs are pretty sexy, too.

Noir d\'Ivore beaten-metal soaking tubNOIR D’IVOIRE, Marrakech

Yes, ok, I do bang on about this place. But that’s because it’s fantastic! The Elephant Suite has a really unusual beaten silver-alloy bath for two (pictured), and the Camel Suite has a round tadelakt tub under a domed ceiling supported by columns. The Panther Suite also has a large tadelakt bath, as well as an alfresco Jacuzzi on its private roof terrace.

La Suite bathroom at Clos du Léthé

CLOS DU LÉTHÉ, Languedoc-Roussillon

Parisian owner Pierre loves to bathe, and it shows: he drove his French plumbers mad finding exactly the right diameter of copper pipe and burying it deep within 16th-century stone walls to make ensure his preposterously large bath tubs filled in under two minutes. They’re so big you almost need a weight belt to keep you anchored at ‘your’ end. The La Suite bathroom is massive enough to swing a lion in, with a beautiful sandstone-clad two-person bath, a trough-design sink with two sets of taps, antique gold-framed mirrors, fairy lights and a quirky magnetic poetry wall in the toilet.


Here are a few more bathroom-space oddities/little bathing pleasures and where to find them in the Mr & Mrs Smith hotel collection:

  • Frosted glass bathroom walls that switch from opaque to transparent at the flick of a switch – The Brew House Hotel, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Now you see it…Now you don\'t…

  • The honeymoon-ish Green Room at Ichibi Lakeside Lodge in South Africa has a double bathroom with twin Philippe Starck showers, palatial proportions and a super view.
  • Witt Istanbul Suites has hi-tech Marmara marble bathrooms created by design wizard Ross Lovegrove (each boasting an indulgent five shower heads).
  • Outdoor tub at Calistoga Ranch hotel, Napa ValleyAlfresco showers or outdoor soaking tubs – at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, the One-Bedroom Lodges have Jacuzzis on the outside terrace, where you can bubble away under the starlit oak canopy, sipping cocktails from your wet bar. Other rooms have alfresco showers, as do rooms at The Carneros Inn and Clos du Léthé, to name just a few. At Caribbean boutique retreat Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos, roll-top baths inside are supplemented by sheltered alfresco showers outside. At the wonderful Verana in Jalisco, Mexico, the Mayan House has an outdoor bathroom; and at spa stay The Standard Miami in Florida, ‘Wet’ rooms have a private terrace with a roll-top bath, so you can enjoy sunny FLA views while you soak (see AMAZING picture at top of this post).
  • Boutique hotel in Rome – Residenza Napoleone III in RomeBathrooms hidden behind Old Masters – at boutique-hotel-style private apartment Residenza Napoleone III in Rome, you have to hunt behind the oil paintings to find your grand marble washroom…
  • French free-standing roll-top bath with ceiling-hung linen drapes – The Blue Room at Les Sardines aux Yeux Bleus (my first Smith love) near Uzès. (When I first discovered Sardines, I stayed in one of the little self-catering apartments; the bathroom has a big polished-concrete shower cubicle lined with local river stones that owner Anna Karin and her daughter Clémentine hand-sorted to make sure they were all equally round and smooth underfoot. Twin copper sinks are lit by little vintage chandeliers. It’s charming.)

The Balé boutique hotel, Bali – bathroom

  • Light-therapy multi-setting therapeutic Jacuzzi bath – in the Eau de Rose bedroom at laid-back B&B Maison Félisa in Languedoc-Roussillon (ask Isa to mix you up a scented oil blend for an aromatherapeutic soak).
  • At the Balé hotel in Bali, some rooms have bathrooms that give directly onto a private infinity pool – perfect for water babies or those who like a pre-breakfast-in-bed swim. To take us full circle, Desert Palm‘s Pool Villas in Dubai also have bathrooms with direct access to your private plunge pool.

Let us know which your favourite hotel bathrooms or bathroom features are… Would you pick a power shower over a big tub any day of the week or is side-by-side soaking your idea of naughty-weekend nirvana?

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  • Steve

    You really miss out the Asian hotels, particularly the Japanese with their (hot spring) bath fetish. For example here is one near where I live, with a beautiful open air hot spring bath in each room.

    Of course the really great ones won’t be found on line and require an introduction….

  • Thanks for your suggestion Steve – that hot tub at Kai looks very inviting! I believe public and private ryoken and onsens are a big deal over there. You’re right, we don’t have any Japanese boutique hotels online just yet, but our man in Asia is out scouting and spying as I type, so we should hopefully be launching a fab new collection of Japanese stays (with suitably amazing bathing) early in 2009.

  • I feel I ought to have a peep on this subject too maybe…

    Hotel du Vins are no slouch in the sexy ablution space department…

    The Comtes de Champagne and Laurent Perrier Suites at Hotel du Vin Henley on Thames have glassed-in outside verandahs. Other suites at Hotel du Vins have twin roll top side by side baths in the De Luxe Suites and these allow romance to bloom during bathtime.

    Tower Lodge, Oz – the Chairman’s Suite has a pretty mind-blowing marble bathroom with a deep spa bath.

    Jardins Secrets , Nîmes – super-feminine and romantic, swathes of real fabric envelope antique slipper baths and sweet accoutrements like a tissue box that looks like antique books.

    Malabar Escapes: Trinity, in Kerala – these delightful en suites are open-air. The wooden Japanese sandals to negotiate the sole-pummelling stones are a cute touch.

  • anne

    Wow this is amazing CLOS DU LÉTHÉ, Languedoc-Roussillon… it seems like I am taking my bath during the Victorian era lol.

  • I actually visited this hotel a couple of weeks ago – it’s super-stylish and a fantastic place for a few nights of fancy French fun! What is very un-Victorian about it (aside from not having to boil 67 buckets of water for your bath) is the level of comfort and attention to detail; in La Suite, the whole bathroom floor is made from self-draining wooden floorboards, so you can also have a very decadent and splashy shower under the ceiling-hung rainshower head, unconstrained by a tiny cubicle! The finish of the bath is amazing too – it’s not rough at all, as you might expect.

  • Great Finds!

    How many bathrooms you know of integrated in the bedroom like in many lofts?

    How would you feel about it?

  • @Happy Hotelier – that sounds like a whole new blog post! Actually there are quite a lot of hotels that have integrated bathrooms/bedrooms, or bathrooms that are divided from the bedroom just by a freestanding screen/wall/cabinet/curtain rather than built into a seperate room – often acting as an oversized bedhead. This type of integrated bathroom can be quite fun, and I have seen some versions I liked a lot; but it very much depends on attention to detail, quality of finish and practicalities – this type of bathroom should also have a closed-off cubicle for the toilet, to preserve your dignity!
    Off the top of my head, a few hotels that that have rooms with this sort of bedroom-bathroom arrangement include:
    Kube in Paris – one of the places the integrated bathroom works best
    Lux 11 in Berlin
    Desert Palm in Dubai – really well designed bathrooms
    Room 14 (‘Quatorze’) at Clos du Léthé in Languedoc-Roussillon
    Tauana in Bahia
    Les Terrasses, Ibiza
    The Admiraals Suite at Suitehotel Posthoorn, Amsterdam
    Deluxe suites at the Hospes Madrid

    There are even more hotel rooms that have, say, just a freestanding tub (many of the Hotel du Vins, for example) at the end of the bed, with additional shower/sink/toilet facilities in a separate bathroom.

  • klynch

    I am trying to find the sink from the room we stayed in at the Standard Miami. It was a ‘lush medium’ room and had a cool stone bowl balanced on crossing wooden legs. My husband saw it in some store but now we can’t find it.

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