Bathroom design: Tubs vs. showers

While separate showers and tubs have been a mainstay of high-end hotel bathrooms for years, many luxury properties are opting for spacious walk-in showers, eschewing tubs altogether. “Showers are certainly where the shift in the hospitality guest bathing category is moving toward, especially in full-service and boutique properties,” Chris Robinson, senior commercial sales manager at Delta Faucet, said.

This, of course, presents new opportunities for designers to make what could be strictly utilitarian into something elegant. Robinson noted interest from hoteliers in adding a hand shower option to each unit—which can make a shower more comfortable but also drive up costs to add another valve behind the wall for renovation or remodels. Delta, he noted, has integrated a hand shower into its showerheads to cut the installation costs. “Our In2ition showers come with stretchable metal hoses and a magnetic docking system that allows ease of use but will hold up to guest usage,” he said.

But not every designer is willing to lose the bathtub just yet. Adam Rabinowitz, national sales manager for projects at Dornbracht Americas, believes that the tub will survive. “As showers begin to grow in typical rooms, the suites and spa continue to cater toward wellness,” he said, and this can include guests having their own private spa. “Soaking the body in warm water with essential oils and minerals is an essential piece of water therapy.”

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Innvision Senior Design Manager Renee Rudder agreed. “While walk-in showers are becoming an increasingly popular trend, the bathtub will always remain an important feature for hotels to offer guests,” she said. “With the improving economy, leisure travel from middle-class families will continue to increase. As long as these travelers are present in the hotel market, the bathtub will be necessary, even if it becomes a feature in a fewer quantity of rooms.”

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