One of my pet travel peeves for a while has been hotel bathrooms with high-walled bathtubs that are treacherous to climb into and out of — just to take a shower. The dangers of slipping on a wet surface — either within the tub or the bathroom floor after the shower — are always looming.
In fact, most hotel room accidents are related to bathtubs.
Yes, I admit it — I’m getting older and not as flexible as I once was. Which is true of many baby boomers — a huge number of whom are traveling these days. (The problems for seniors are even worse.)
And it all seems so unnecessary, if all one wants to do is take a shower. When I’m traveling, I seldom have time to take a bath, nor do I wish to. At home, I only take showers, and besides, how clean are those hotel bathtubs, anyway?
It turns out I’m not alone. According to one hotel consultant, only two percent of those who stay in non-resort hotel rooms actually use their tubs — mostly families with small children. And obviously some rooms need to have tubs to accommodate families and anyone else who prefers a bath.
But surveys of business travelers show they overwhelmingly prefer taking showers while traveling. And my guess is that many, if not most, baby boomers would love to see those treacherous bathtubs disappear.
In response, a number of hotel chains — including Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn — have been cutting way back on the number of tubs in their rooms and instead offering spacious showers. Newly built Marriotts, for instance, now have a ratio of 75 percent shower stalls to 25 percent tubs.
That seems about right to me. Both shower-takers and bath-lovers should be accommodated. And whatever your preference, it’s a good idea to call ahead to check availability of either option.
But I’m glad hoteliers are responding to their customers’ preferences in this regard — just as I’m glad they’re making hotel lobbies more friendly to laptop use and as social gathering areas. I know I’ll be patronizing hotels that do everything possible to maximize both safety and comfort for guests — that’s just sensible marketing.
Now if they would just do something about those pesky unwrappable wrappings on those little bathroom soaps…
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