Travel Tips

The Most Spectacular (and Surprising) Hotel Bathrooms

Locations in this article:  Rome, Italy Tokyo, Japan

This Friday, we’re excited to launch Luxe Lavs, a new column all about the hotel bathroom experience. Contributors Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno can’t get enough of tubs, sinks, bathrobes, shampoo, stunning views, the latest gadgets, saunas, water closets, and anything else connected with pampering and grooming. They’re kicking off Luxe Lavs with a look at the most spectacular and surprising hotel bathrooms from around the world.

When we check into our hotel room, we ignore the thread count of the bed sheets and race into the powder room to ensure that our towels are Egyptian or Turkish cotton. We take bubble baths before unpacking. We have given hotels five stars on TripAdvisor just because the sink-lighting made us look gorgeous. If there is a TV in the bathroom and a heart-stopping view from the tub, we might never leave.

Each week Luxe Lavs will focus on something different. We will look for the most unique or the most coveted, but never the ordinary. Comfort, relaxation, ambiance, decadence or simply wacky–if it’s out there, and it’s in a bathroom, we will find it.

Here’s a teaser into the world of Luxe Lavs:

A Roman Bathtub Holiday – Rome Cavalieri

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At Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria, the suite bathrooms are a modern take on ancient Roman baths. The tub is up a few stairs so you gaze out at St. Peter’s Basilica while soaking in bubbles. The tub has hydro-massage features and the ceiling above is embedded with fiber optic lights so you feel you are under the stars while being indoors. Choose your color to set the lights to your mood, or enjoy aromachromo therapy (light and essential oils) that the shower heads have built in to them. The rare marble with malachite inlay, liquid crystal TV and Swarovski crystal water taps and walls complete the experience.

Toilet Technology – Peninsula Tokyo

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The Japanese have truly cornered the market on the latest technology, which you can see on display in the bathroom at the Peninsula Tokyo. The Toto CS 367 B toilet has a seat-heater option. The seat cover automatically rises on approach, and it shuts when you’re finished. You can press buttons for bidet, dry, and water massage. The latest gadgets continue with a TV that’s set into the fog-free mirror and is invisible when turned off. All of the outlets have built-in international power adapters so no more burnt out hairdryers. Sony-inspired techie fun is in the details: the spa button is on a control panel, the lighting dims, soothing music plays, calls are sent to voice mail, and the do not disturb button outside your hallway door lights when you are ready for complete privacy.

Caught in the Rain – Alila Cha-Am, Thailand

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The bathroom fittings at the Alila Cha-Am beach resort are by the well-known high-end German manufacturer Dornbracht. Set into the ceiling, the 24-by-19-inch showerhead drizzles and sprays like natural rainfall and with built-in Bose sound systems, you can sing in the shower to your hearts’ content. Getting drenched in this rain shower can be customized, choose from two different water settings and the Spa Alila products are organic and handmade by local company Sensatia Botanicals.

Hammam, How Are You – Park Hyatt Maçka Palas, Istanbul

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You don’t have to go to an expensive Hammam when you stay at Macka Palas because your own private Turkish bath is in your bedroom. Some suites are complete with a separate steam room; a heated floor; a heated stone seat; and a stone sink called “kurna” positioned next to the shower, which is used to collect cold water like a traditional hammam. Keep your eco-products fresh with the refrigerated cosmetic cabinets and the deep tubs round out the relaxing experience.

Dip & Dive – Cocoa Island, Maldives

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The Maldives are known for turquoise water and natural beauty and Cocoa Island, a spa retreat, is no exception. Each stand-alone villa is situated for privacy and access to the clear azure water. This hotel caught our attention with its outdoor shower right on the deck next to stairs leading into the sea. The view from the shower adds a whole new perspective while getting clean. Afterwards, if you want more water activity, dive right into the ocean.

By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for