Traditionally, hotel bathrooms have been rather unexciting affairs. But with guests now expecting their rooms to feel like a second home, hotel owners and designers are working hard to make them more comfortable.
"Unlike other rooms, you always feel better when you leave the bathroom," says Robin Levien, a non-executive design director at Ideal Standard. "This is especially important for hotel bathrooms: if you are on business, you need to feel refreshed for a busy day. A well-designed hotel bathroom sets you up for the day.
"The interior design of hotel bathrooms is becoming more homely and friendly, while also influencing domestic bathroom design. We often hear people praise their hotel bathrooms, wishing they could have something similar at home," he adds.
This is all part of a move towards making hotel bathrooms more intimate, Levien explains. "Though the tilt towards minimalism continues, colours, materials and finishes are getting warmer. Using dark natural materials - teak and bronze, for example - can make a bathroom feel intimate, sophisticated and cosy."
Another trend involves blurring the line between the bathroom and the rest of the guest space, Levien adds. "Hotels are breaking down the barriers between bedrooms and bathrooms," he says. "The most luxurious hotel rooms have a free-standing bath sitting near the bed and it feels like a piece of furniture. In smaller rooms, this effect can be achieved by dividing the bathing and sleeping areas with glass."
More practical considerations are important too. "When designing bathroom products for hotels, a top priority is that they're easy to clean," Levien says. "The look of a free-standing vessel basin is fine for a luxury hotel, but it takes quite a long time to clean. For me, the ultimate practical design for hotel basins is a vanity unit, where the whole top surface is ceramic.
"This style also lends itself to storage: the basins can be fitted onto a rectangular cabinet with a single drawer - anymore and guests risk forgetting items as they leave. Adding a towel rail to the cabinet adds another level of practicality. In terms of hygiene, the best toilets are the back-to-wall Aquablades. They are easy to clean and have no inaccessible areas hidden under the rim," he continues.
By carefully designing toilets with hygiene in mind, Ideal Standard lowers running costs and saves staff time. Its removable seats, for example, are particularly useful, as is its award-winning AquaBlade technology, as the gentle curved shape makes wiping quick and effortless. This patented technology ensures superior hygienic performance by rinsing 100% of the inner bowl.
In order to conserve water and reduce bills, flow regulators and click technology reduce consumption by up to 50%, and meet environmental performance standards.
Ideal Standard's BlueStart technology, which releases unheated water when the tap is opened from the centred - and most used - position, also helps save energy. Not that all this ignores guest safety. Ideal Standard's shower trays are designed to prevent slipping, while its baths control temperature inside while staying cold on the outside.
More broadly, Ideal Standard's extra thin Ipalyss washbasins are both stylish and stunningly resistant to wear, while its AquaBlade toilet technology is 60% quieter than the competition. All this neatly highlights Ideal Standard's commitment to meeting the aesthetic and comfort expectations of guests, while also helping hotel owners clean bathrooms conveniently and quickly.
In short, Ideal Standard provides comprehensive water solutions that go beyond what other players in the market are offering. This is not just limited to its products. Apart from its solid expertise in toilets, sinks and brassware, Ideal Standard's experienced staff always put customers' needs at the heart of their work, whether it's in terms of sustainability, design or functionality.