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When the Most Private of Business Becomes Public

Home / Hotel Trends / When the Most Private of Business Becomes Public

The newest design trend among luxury hotels is the exposed bathroom, reports The New York Times. From Los Angeles and London to China and India, bathrooms enclosed (barely) by transparent glass walls and bathrooms that are free-standing, open areas of hotel rooms are all the rage among designers and hoteliers. The arguments for these designs range from conserving space to adding luxury to opening up hotel rooms by removing walls and letting in natural light. Some proponents of the exposed bathroom have also argued that the design minimizes spatial confusion and allows guests to locate easily all areas of their hotel rooms. (I say you’d have to be from another planet to need help differentiating between the clothes closet and the water closet.) Of course, for couples there’s also the voyeuristic opportunities afforded by unabashed views. But in this age of over-sharing, is some private business better left private?

As you can imagine, most travelers find the exposed bathroom experience to be disconcerting at best and downright disgusting at worst. One traveler who was greeted by a toilet in open view at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, Florida, in 2005, called it the “design equivalent of ‘too much information.’” What do you think? Are exposed bathrooms sexy or scuzzy?

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