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Bathrooms rejuvenated

Ultra-chic, voluptuous, elegant: the bathroom offers guests relaxation and wellbeing. Elegant materials offer warmth. Spacious showers are gradually supplanting bathtubs. In full mutation, this “well-being room” is becoming a key element in the room. And the equipment – accessories, welcome products – are keeping pace with trend.

Is the bathroom the new diva at hotels? Re-styled, pampered, on glossy paper, it is gradually acquiring status as an icon, a proportionate position in 21st century hotels. Or, rather disproportionate. Because the bathrooms are coming out of their closet. Little by little they are taking over increasing space within largely open rooms. Repositioned on the luxury market, the new Sofitel hotels will see their bathrooms occupy 35% of the volume of its rooms. And, since guests spend most of their waking time there, bathrooms are becoming a living space. In the upscale television screens in bathrooms are no longer a rarity. These “well-being rooms” are no longer just about hygiene: well-being is their raison d’être. “They must offer an experience that borders on relaxation and the spa experience,” explains Sylvia Jensch, Marketing Director of ADA, where the range of seaweed-enriched Hydrobasics welcome products is in strong demand.At the dawn of a new impetus for bathrooms, an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure.The world of the bathroom is undergoing serious major changes. And bathroom equipment – accessories, welcome products – must keep up with this rapid evolution. “Two years ago things speeded up and now things are settling in. We had to adapt in order to keep up with these changes,” admits Jean-Guy de Russé, designer for JVD, specialist in accessories (hairdryers, mirrors, and so on). The first major trend in this evolution: the progressive disappearance of the bathtub. “We still sell bath salts and effervescent tablets, but today we are adding products to our range that are especially for the shower such as body scrubs,” explains François Marchand, president of Aficom. In the luxury hotel industry there is still a choice of shower or bath. But the solution of a large shower is becoming more widespread in the economy and midscale hotel industries as well as design hotels. On the one hand, because, according to many specialists, guests have a preference for the shower, which is faster and more hygienic. The bathtub is falling into disuse among businessmen and young people.Another accusation: its high level of water consumption, an unacceptable defect at a time when environmental preservation has become one of the major concerns of professionals and clien phénotele alike. Now hoteliers don’t hesitate to take advantage of new building and renovations to gradually impose the “shower only” room model. The space once occupied by the voluminous bathtub is made available for wider, more comfortable showers. With one must: rainshowers. Veritable regenerating tropical storms, “rainshowers” play an active role in this new dimension of well-being desired by hoteliers and architects.How can the bathtub be saved from a fateful death? The growing fitness phenomenon has given the bathtub a new lease on life with some upscale hotels offering miniature spas with balneotherapy, Jacuzzi, and hydrojets. Undoubtedly some bastions will remain where the bathtub will be undethronable in the bathroom. Palaces in particular, where nothing is too beautiful for satisfying clientele and where it is still possible to find a bidet, which is practically a vestige of another era. Other properties offering bathtubs are resorts, which offer guests the time to luxuriate – alone or not alone. Finally, hotels that welcome young children cannot completely banish the bathtub as they are very useful for washing babies. Particularly since children remain an indulged clientele and ADA offers them a specific Kid’s line with its bath set Ducky.While the progressive disappearance of the bathtub and the appearance of the shower constitute two major advances in the world of the bathroom, another visible evolution is that of its design, which is increasingly contemporary. White, almost clinical, bathrooms are a thing of the past. Today, “lines are more geometric and more room is given over to materials,” observes Jean- Guy de Russé. Wood, ceramic, marble, glass, cement, granite... All these elegant materials may be used to provide an image of purity and timelessness. “Our products must highlight the new decoration of the bathroom,” concludes Olivier Colin, sales director of Manusec, “we also have a range for people with limited mobility that is more style conscious and moves away from hospital white”.The transformation of the bathroom is a global phenomenon that may be observed across all segments of the industry. The new economy hotel concepts offer their clients state of the art bathrooms. The future All Seasons will have a spacious shower room. The wellbeing spaces at the Campanile Nouvelle Génération hotels, which offer a new standard, are decorated in gray, taupe, pearl or alabaster themes, and include thick bath towels and a house line of Good Night, Good Day welcome products by Campanile. “From economy to four star, hoteliers all want the same thing. For two star hotels, we offer designer products that are simpler and less expensive,” outlines Olivier Colin.Despite all the evolutions of the bathroom, one element remains constant and paramount: safety. “As the separations come down, distances for safety must be respected between the electric appliance and water sources,” warns Fabio Valentini, director of Agfraco, which offers the range of Elite wall hairdryers that have the particularity of not catching fire in case of an internal short circuit. Because of the maximum length of the wire, a pistol blow dryer, while more aesthetic, must be installed at least 2 meters away from a water source.At the dawn of a new impetus for bathrooms, an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure.

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