The decline of the hotel tub—Gone for good?


Freed up space
Freed up space: Without a tub, hotel bathrooms are free to add more vanity space to the area and design without making contact with a large tub.


The popularity of the hotel tub is diminishing rapidly,” said Christopher Ehlers, director of hospitality for Symmons. Changes in guest perceptions lead many to believe that the guestroom tub is dirty, and is something to be avoided. “People are more germophobic these days,” Ehlers went on to say. 

Properties still seeing successful implementation of the tub are more inclined to have a family focus—where there is an emphasis on bathing out of function rather than relaxation. “There are a number of items that are more desirable in the bathroom than the tub at the moment,” said Jeff Harwanko, lead engineer designer for Speakman.

➔  20 gallons vs. 120 gallons

The difference between taking a bath in a shower versus a tub.

Source: Symmons 

Harwanko also maintained that the tub’s lack of use is taking up functional space that would best be used otherwise. The presence of a tub can also lead to frustration on behalf of travelers when moving about the bathroom. In some cases, simply not having a tub can create the illusion of a larger room. “Guests would rather not have to step over a tub in order to shower,” Harwanko said. “Singularly installing a shower can also provide a perceived increase in space as the guest doesn’t feel trapped in the ‘tub space’ area.”

Changes in the economy also reflect poorly on the image of hotel tubs. “There is a perception that the use of hotel tubs are now about leisure and indulgence, things a lot of people have no time for,” said George Gottl, principal and creative director at UXUS. “When hotel stays are business-oriented, those guests see showers as a more time-effective way to clean up.”

It is no surprise then that the industry is attempting to get rid of tubs when they can to create more space and increase the positive perception of their offerings. “When gut renovations take place, properties are usually removing tubs,” Ehlers said. “So many properties are working hard to update their look, and tubs just don’t have a place in a modern look.”

Though design goes through phases and trends, the hotel tub is a design choice that is both large and expensive. Ehlers is of the opinion that they are on their way out for good. “I don’t see them coming back,” he said.

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