There are many aspects of the hospitality industry that have changed enormously over the past decade. One of the most obvious is the guest bathroom, as Zara Horner discovers.

Advances in technology have had a big impact on the equipment and furnishings in today’s bathrooms. Hotel guest bathrooms in particular have come a long way from plain, white, wash-and-go spaces and are now among the most important areas in a property.

Bathroom design, layout, and overall look have changed and improved dramatically, so much so that guests now expect these spaces to offer the obvious amenities in a space of stylish comfort and relaxation.

Sanitaryware equipment manufacturers encourage bathrooms to be presented as antidotes to guests’ stressful modern lives, playing an essential role in the overall guest experience.

One of the leading manufacturers in the world, and known for employing the skills and expertise of some of the best designers, German company Duravit say they are committed to making “intelligent products for beautiful, functional, comfortable and sustainable bathrooms that ensure well-being for years to come.”

Show us the love

One of the latest Duravit ranges has been designed by Dane, Cecilie Manz who acknowledges ‘Luv’ required a lot of research because of the importance of a room “where there is a lot of water and certain everyday actions are undertaken.”

The Luv range is a reflection of Scandanavia, Manz says, because of its “dull colouring… we don’t need to speak loudly, not everything has to be exagerrated.”

Minimalism is the name of the bathroom game today so the Luv range is not “over organised”, and is very much about “Nordic minimalism with timeless elegance,” as Mona Juchler, head of PR (Asia) for Duravit explains.

With “gentle forms” the Luv product range nevertheless “follows a stringent geometry and is defined by precise, clear and fine forms and edges.

“The designer’s original vision for this range was a bowl filled with water on a table,” Juchler says. “The result is a new design language that is both minimalist and elegant, and can be interpreted in a highly individual manner.”

What’s the plan?

“Technology, quality, design and sustainability” are at the heart of German sanitary fittings manufacturer Grohe’s production values. Nowadays, clients expect “countless options and endless flexibility,” Donald Lo, assistant marketing manager points out.

“New bathroom design has to take on the global trend to individuality,” Lo says, adding the company now has to offer “an incredibly rich toolbox for the creative mind with the broadest range of colours, finishes and matching products… in softened and humanised designs.”

Grohe’s latest ranges include its “broadest faucet, shower and accessories range” Essence with 10 possible combinations of colours and finishes, which come brushed or highly polished. Every spout and lever is almost identical across all product types. Matching accessories such as towel rails and soap dishes are also available. “They all speak the same design language of subtle and delicate transitions and simple, understated geometry,” Lo says.

The hospitality industry is all about individual experience now, and joining the products seamlessly across all zones of a bathroom contributes to the overall flexibility. Grohe’s VP of design, Michael Seum says: “[Clients] want the familiarity of iconic design, but they also want [a] pampered, individualistic look and feel.”

What’s new

As people use more tools and equipment inside bathrooms, the need for storage and counter space is increasing.

One of this year’s foreseeable trends is the rise of clever storage spaces that take guests by surprise. Juchler believes Duravit’s console table would be “an eye-catcher in every hotel bathroom and is available in traditional Nordic colours which remain very popular, such as taupe, stone grey, light blue or night blue.”

This bathroom vanity includes multiple drawers instead of just a single open space, which allows guests to keep everything where it’s handy.

Other innovations include toilet systems. And according to Juchler Duravit’s are “ingenious… our technology offers everything that today’s consumers want from a toilet: easy to clean, hygienic and fitted with a shower function for the utmost comfort.”

Just a few buzzwords on this:

  • HygieneGlaze 2.0

    Open rim and efficient flushing technology

  • Small flushing volume (four or five litres)
  • Hygienically clean thanks to an innovative ceramic glaze called HygieneGlaze 2.0
  • Greater comfort with the SensoWash shower-toilet

The demand for minimalist design features and classic finishes in hotel bathrooms are aspects BSC Hong Kong have also noted. “We believe that the trends we are seeing are all evolving,” Denise Lau the bathroom equipment contractor and distributor’s chief executive officer says.

The metallic finishes trend is one which Lau expects to continue. “From copper to brushed burnished bronze, stainless steel black etc. While basins and bathtubs are taking a twist with dark finishes or bi-colour tones of white in the interior and darker colours for exteriors. We are also [seeing a demand for] coloured bathroom furniture or even two-tone contrasting colour glass on glass.”

One of BSC’s latest innovations is the stunning hammock bath. Made of carbonfibre the bath is available in black, white and gold.

Bathroom ambience and eclecticism is what it is all about, Lau says. “Our colourliving range of tile coverings is now available in pink, racing green, and bespoke finishes. [We have] hand-painted tiles from Florence, and Vetrite thin glass panels with silver and gold leaves by SICIS.

“Toilet bowls are still mostly white probably for a hygienic look, but cisterns especially of classic designs like those from Thomas Crapper, are in British green, burgundy – or even a bespoke colour and personalised with the company name on it.”

Lau also predicts more collaboration between equipment manufacturers and international design gurus.

“For example, Gessi has recently collaborated with David Rockwell to develop Rockwell’s first-ever line of fittings and accessories. Defined by simplicity, the Inciso Collection weds modern style with heritage details and finishes.”

Environmental consciousness is no longer a buzz word, but a very real demand in most aspects of the industry and in the bathroom this is reflected in water-saving designs and eco-friendly manufacturing.

“For example, Agape’s Fez basin mixer has a lead-free version and Dornbracht Lisse basin mixer comes in low-flow rate models for water saving,” Lau says. “Gessi tap manufacturing uses electricity from renewable sources to prevent greenhouse gas emission, manufactures brass of low lead content and develops green technologies to save power during production stages.”

Agape’s Fez basin mixer.