by Mandy Clarke
03rd September, 2017
Are your bathrooms on point?
Bathrooms are important. Guests like them spotless, smelling fantastic, sporting some efficient utility space and, of course, stylish.
The bathroom is usually the first area that guests check for cleanliness and the place where housekeepers spend the most time; so, it’s important that the bathroom set-up is easy to keep clean, cheap to maintain and fulfils its multifaceted role. However, it isn’t all about utility: guests also want to be inspired and a little bit spoilt.
Do people even appreciate a good-looking bathroom?
When describing a lovely trip, travellers typically remark on (of all things) a sensational bathroom they happened upon. Perhaps they noted some magnificent marble flooring, spectacular mosaic tiles, exceptionally spacious shower, clever mood lighting or indulgent spa bath. There is nothing more luxurious and inviting than relaxing in a great bath. A weekend away is all about indulgence, and little contributes more to feeling indulgent than a beautiful bathroom.
In many hotels across the world, designers leave their artistic fingerprint. During recent travels, I relaxed in an outdoor tub, courtesy of a rainforest retreat in Maleny on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Here, I experienced the tropics up close and personal! I have sat on a high tech, fully automatic lavatory in Tokyo, which had a mechanism that warmed the toilet seat… You might say it was a tech hot-spot. I have also visited a glamping resort where the simplicity and natural beauty of the bathroom took my breath away.
These vivid experiences and fond memories are one of many reasons why bathrooms are worth some thought.
Are your bathrooms appreciated? Or, are they worn out and in they need a facelift? This is a costly space to renovate, nevertheless the standard of your bathroom is a major factor when trying to maximise your accommodation’s yield. However, a good industry bathroom refurbishing specialist can give you helpful advice on how to maximise the effect of your refurbishment, for a minimum cash outlay.
When you eye-up your guest bathroom for a makeover, consider a few things… How old is it? What do your guests think about it? What complaints have you had? Is cleanliness the biggest issue? Do your guests say they aren’t clean enough? Do your housekeepers say they take too long to clean?
Your bathroom tiles could be your biggest problem; perhaps they make the bathroom look old and tired. Most modern buildings feature tiles in the bathroom, frequently used because they wear well, look modern, are easily maintained, and create interesting design effects. A poor grout or silicone job can spoil the whole bathroom; on the other hand, a good grout and silicone can overcome a poor tiling job.
If these complaints apply to your bathroom quandary, or your bathroom is just generally tired, here are some common refurbishment solutions…
Grout. Cement-based grouts are usually porous, meaning dirt, liquids and oils are absorbed into the grout. Very few detergents can effectively remove ingrained stains, so they build up over time. To prevent this, cement-based grout should be sealed but many are not. However, it is never too late and specialists can prep-clean your tiles and grout and then seal, usually with a colour-sealer. They can also remove and replace cement based grouts in wet areas such as showers.
Silicone. This is used to provide a flexible, water-proof joint between vertical and horizontal surfaces (walls and floors) but even high quality silicone that contains mould inhibitors only lasts for 10 years before it starts to look grotty and pull away. The removal and replacement of old silicone will give an instant refresh to your bathroom but it’s not a job for the faint of heart.
Tiles. Old, slippy tiles may be able to receive an anti-slip treatment to significantly improve their R-rating (for wet slip).
The upshot is that with a little bit of specialist help, your bathroom can be given an intensive makeover that will help restore it back to beautiful. This can be very cost-effective, require limited downtime, make your guests happy and reduce housekeeping cleaning time.
New bathroom fittings. When planning to refresh or redesign your bathroom, you must decide whether you want modern simplicity, chic and glamorous, vintage or a totally unique look.
With heritage and period-style enjoying a revival, you can achieve the look by choosing period fittings: add a touch of vintage glamour and give your bathroom a sense of timeless elegance and character.
Select a period: Victorian, Edwardian, or art deco-style fixtures and fittings are all designs that are now trending. If you go completely heritage, do not forget modern touches because as much as everyone loves authenticity, guests demand modern luxuries, such as power showers, loos with views, eco-flushes and taps with ceramic washers. These are all easy to incorporate if you select good quality products.
It is surprising how the addition of new tapware and fittings can instantly update your bathroom and change the visual. Ultra-modern fittings can also transform a good quality bath, toilet, sink and shower. A focal point with one particularly beautiful fitting can also be created; a rainwater shower head or unusual tap fitting.
Speaking of focal points, you might consider a fabulous mirror! A beautiful mirror is a cost-effective way to combine functionality with glamour and pizzazz. Mist-free mirrors, specifically designed for this industry, are a great choice and can also provide LED lighting for extra sparkle.
Shower screen and bath tub repairs. Before replacing your shower screen or bath tub, it may pay to consult a shower doctor or bath doctor. These are specialist tradespeople who can thoroughly clean, remove scratches, chips, or resurface your shower door and bath.
If you consult industry specialists, you can be more confident about getting the best products and technology available and this can be a cost-effective and money saving alternative to complete replacement.
Designer bathroom products. When you renovate, you are making an investment of both time and money, so it is vital to do your homework and make a wish list to fit your price-point.
Trends. Investigate the latest trends to get you on track and focus your creativity. There are several hotel bathroom trends that have come and sometimes gone (1970s avocado bathroom suites, say no more) but marble is one that is timeless, individual, and striking. Nature and earth-friendliness are huge trends right now, with designers looking to bring the outside, in. They use natural elements in their designs and create rich textures with treated wood and stone. Technology and lighting are also part of the bathroom trends, with high tech loos, mood lighting, TVs and sound systems often featured.
My rundown of recent designer trends:
- Timber: now purpose-designed, these products enable you to bring warmth, nature and texture into an area that was previously a timber-taboo space. Think outside the box and use it as a wall covering or a wooden basin. Timber duckboard flooring, which has been used in boat building for years, is now showing up in hotel bathrooms because it looks great, feels warmer and is softer than tiled floors.
- Metallic accents and rustic materials contrast beautifully with natural products, look stylish, are on-trend and can be used in edgier projects. If you have lofty ideas and a budget to match, a copper bath can look stunning. Or, take it down a notch with metal taps, towel and shower rails and accessories.
- Oversized plain tiles: big basic tiles have returned to the spotlight. Try using them with a creative twist, laid in usual patterns to add drama to any project.
- Add nature: timber isn’t the only natural material that has become popular, earthy materials like natural stone and rock are being embraced. Kiln-fired ceramic or polished stone basins are popular and are replacing standard sinks.
- Double showers: indulgent and romantic, they can be found in most new hotel properties. They usually consist of an oversized rain shower and separate handset, rather than dual showerheads mounted on the same rail or bar. This configuration offers a more luxurious, invigorating and customisable shower.
- A return to modernism: this is the idea that form follows function. It is a welcome trend for those who hate excess, and is perfect for those who prefer streamlined with clever and discrete storage solutions.
- Small with attitude: designers need imagination when space is limited, especially in urban areas.
- Ambience: it’s not just about pure functionality. You need to integrate key functional elements with bespoke furniture, cabinetry, accessories, luxurious amenities, LED mirrors and mood lighting.
- Industrial chic: go edgy with industrial-inspired bathroom designs. The use of concrete is a particularly cool look that can be gritty or silky smooth and polished. Plus, it can be used on bathroom floors or as a wall surface.
- Combine concrete with timber, natural fibres, bespoke or vintage furnishings, and plush accessories to create a very fresh, modern, industrialised style with a welcoming vibe.
- Feature man-made and local products: mass-produced is out. If your budget is in, beautiful artisanal tiles can make your bathing space unique. Support local businesses, craftspeople, and artists, to infuse your bathroom with local inspired individuality and visual appeal.