One of the joys of travel is discovery. And yes, some of those discoveries can be problematic. For example, as many travelers to France have discovered to their chagrin, on the tub spouts, “C” stands for “Chaud,” meaning hot; and “F’ stands for “Froid,” meaning cold. But hey, it’s unrealistic to expect the whole world to accommodate English speakers. Once learned, it’s a mistake very few people make twice.
While I try to be flexible, a personal pet peeve is hotels that seem so in love with the idea of designer fixtures that
their bathtubs and showers, while they may look great, may also be difficult, at best, to operate. The new fangled bath faucet systems can be so complex that getting them operating, figuring out temperature controls and draining the tub can be an exercise in futility.
This is one situation where staying in an upscale, deluxe hotel often isn’t better — moderately priced hotels tend to have relatively basic, understandable and simple bathroom fixtures.
With the high-tech and/or designer fixtures, turn some knob the wrong way and you may get the water coming out of the bath spout instead of the shower. It’s mildly annoying until it’s fixed. Do it the other way or push the wrong button, and a cascade of water comes down on your head. This is especially enjoyable if you’re a woman who really didn’t want to get your hair wet.
Other fixtures don’t work at all unless you pull or push something non-obvious before you turn them. And, as a co-worker pointed out, if you wear glasses that you take off to get in the shower, it may be impossible to read the very fine print; if there is fine print.
Then there’s the whole temperature issue. Getting the water hotter or colder in an American hotel should be straightforward, but isn’t always. In this case, bath fans are better off, there’s more time to toy with the temperature before getting in, whereas making a mistake with shower water can be painful.
Bathers, on the other hand, have to deal with the tub plug.
I used to think I was the only one who couldn’t always figure out how to get the tub to seal, necessitating a quick semi-sponge bath before the water drained out. (Sometimes, the plug or seal is just broken, but that’s another issue.)
The Grand Hyatt in Seattle is a very nice business-oriented hotel with modern, high-tech rooms. But what stood out on a recent visit? User-friendly bathrooms. Though they don’t have the toilet in a separate room, each room does have a separate tub and shower, with straightforward red and blue marked handles to twist for hot and cold water, and a simple rectangular lever you could push down and pull up closed off the tub.
No doubt many other deluxe properties also have user friendly bathrooms. But shouldn’t there be a standard?
What do you think, Comsumer Traveler readers? Ever had a maddening bathroom experience? Or, is there a hotel where you really think they have the tub or shower done exactly right?