Is a see-through hotel bathroom OK for families?

I saw an article about a week ago in The New York Times about a new trend in fancy hotels – the open, see-through bathroom. Designers are praising it as the greatest thing since flushable commodes. The story reported:

This was the shower at the W hotel where we stayed last week. A little bit of clear glass but also open.

This was the shower at the W hotel where we stayed last week. A little bit of clear glass but also open.

” ‘Today’s luxury hotel bath is a space to live in,’ said Trisha Wilson, the founder and chief executive of Wilson Associates, a company that over the last two years has built 6 hotels with open bathrooms, with 10 additional hotels planned in Morocco, Vietnam, China and other locales. ‘We are seeing as much as 50 percent of the guest room being dedicated to the bathroom,’ Ms. Wilson said about her firm’s hotels.”

But the idea creeped me out, as it did this daughter who was traveling with her father.

“Last fall, Anika Chapin accompanied her father on a business trip to Toronto. The room that they shared at the stylish Hôtel Le Germain had two separate beds, but also a large glass window dividing the bathroom and bedroom that left the shower in full view. Automatic blinds on the outside of the glass could be raised or lowered from a button in the bedroom, but not from inside the stall.”

The smoked glass "Fortress of Solitude" as my husband called it. A little bit of privacy but ...

The smoked glass "Fotress of Solitude" as my husband called it. It had a little bit of privacy but . . .

” ‘I guess it could be sort of mysterious and sexy in the right circumstances, but it’s definitely only awkward when you’re sharing the room with your dad,’ Ms. Chapin, a 26-year-old assistant Broadway director, said.”

After I read the article, I sort of dismissed it as “Well, we’ll never stay at a place nice enough to have to worry about this.” However, when we checked in last Friday night to the W in downtown Atlanta, I have to say the bathroom was pretty darn see through and if we had the kids with us, it would have made bath time difficult.

The shower was partially enclosed in clear glass but mostly just open. The toilet area was enclosed in smoked glass. You couldn’t see every detail, but you could totally see somebody sitting on the toilet or wiping their booty! (In 15 years of marriage I have NEVER seen my husband go to the bathroom. We have a closed-door bathroom policy. I do not need to see this.) Michael called it the “Fortress of Solitude” as in the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movie.

How much privacy on the toilet and in the shower does a FAMILY need? Would you be A-OK with the glass-enclosed shower? What about a glass-enclosed toilet? What about no glass at all? Is this a question you will ask when you book a hotel in the future – “Is your bathroom see-through?” Is that a question people should have to ask?

81 comments Add your comment

Lawyer14

April 15th, 2009
1:37 pm

Xynox and others alike,
It’s one thing to feel comfortable to shower and potty in front of your S.O. which I think a lot of people can do. However, if I spend a week in one of these hotels and have to see and smell every time my S.O. does a no. 2, I’d be miserable. When you leave the door open in your 2500+ sq ft home that is much different seeing how the probability of someone being right there at that moment is less and the smell won’t travel alllll over (unless it’s just one of those days).

We all know what the body does but who really enjoys sitting around smelling poop or watching someone squint & push??? That’s just not my idea of good times.

Just Bill

April 15th, 2009
1:57 pm

On a related note, I used to work in an office building where different businesses were housed on the same floor, all sharing fairly large restrooms. All the time there would be guys in the stalls, sitting on the toilet and talking on the phone. I always made sure to make bathroom noises and flush while they yakked away. What morons. I don’t take or make calls while I’m taking … you know.

LM

April 15th, 2009
1:58 pm

When I was 18 and into my 20 I worked at a couple of hotels, nothing like the one in the article. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up walking in a room and either the guest did not hear my knock or didn’t care if they were seen. And the things people leave out in the room to be seen or left after they check out. OMG the stories I have.

Theresa – He has been gone a lot the past few weeks, since we found out he was being deployed. We are going to TN for the weekend, just the two of us. I hope we get to enjoy ourselves and not work the whole weekend, but since it will be his last weekend to go up there and the property is still not ready for renters, we will be busy finishing the fence, landscaping, painting and anything else we can get done.

Rick

April 15th, 2009
2:06 pm

Sorry Becky, but no one should have to see Nanna and Pappa naked. That’s gross. Be considerate of your grandkids!

Jesse's Girl

April 15th, 2009
2:14 pm

I would be MORTIFIED for my children if they saw granny or papa butt…ewwww, nasty! No one needs to eye ball that. No matter your personal view on the human body….once you’ve rounded the wrinkle corner….your arse needs to stay clad around the babies….PERIOD. Think of the children.

Tish

April 15th, 2009
2:15 pm

I think that for a family setting, the privacy issue may play a key factor in chosing this style of hotel. However for couple, married ones at that, I have to wonder what type of sex life those who find complete privacy a necessity must be. Is oral sex completely out of the question for you? They are the same parts, just different functions. Are we THAT prudish as a society? Seriously folks…you’re married. Get over your hangups!

Ward

April 15th, 2009
2:22 pm

Bob’s got it right. All too often, designers are blind to anything beyond their ‘vision’.

Fred

April 15th, 2009
2:27 pm

Tish, in any good relationship, some space is required. For me, the toilet is pretty good place to start.

Tish

April 15th, 2009
2:30 pm

fred, I’m not saying you should be stand there holding a conversation while they are suffering through a bout of the trots, but if I’m in the bathroom getting ready in the morning and my hubby has to pee, I’m not going to leave the room, nor would he. There are exceptions to every rule, but I just find it astounding that there are couples that have never shared bathroom time before.

Alejandro

April 15th, 2009
2:34 pm

I simply don’t see the need for hotels to do this. There are plenty of ways to make a bathroom nice, expensive et al without using glass walls.
My wife and I are no prudes, we have an open door policy with each other as far as bathroom time is concerned — no problem. We don’t stand there and have a conversation with each other, but if one of us needs to come in for something or ask a question and then leave, it’s allowed.

Alejandro

April 15th, 2009
2:38 pm

“We all know what the body does but who really enjoys sitting around smelling poop or watching someone squint & push??? That’s just not my idea of good times.”

Speak for yourself!!! ;)

Almost 50

April 15th, 2009
2:39 pm

Who the heck came up with this stupid idea? I do not want my husband watching me sit on the toilet! And, vice-versa! We have a separate potty with a door at our house. I don’t mind if he walks through the bathroom if I am showering, and we have had plenty of showers together, but potty time is where I draw the line. Again, what a stupid idea. WTF???

DB

April 15th, 2009
3:01 pm

@Whatever: The reason the girls have privacy in bathrooms and guys don’t is because they have to deal with things each month that no one else wants to see and that tends to freak out most guys. I can’t believe I have to actually explain this to a guy.

Speaking strictly as a woman, I can assure you that there are at least four or five days a month when I really don’t want an audience for what I need to do in the bathroom. ‘Nuff said? I am perfectly comfortable with both my body and his body and all their various functions, but I don’t think 10 minutes a day of total privacy is too much to ask. Happily, we have a lovely master bath with a private room for the toilet, so it’s not a problem sharing the bathroom. In fact, we BOTH enjoy our privacy in the bathroom, so every house we have lived in has had a similar layout.

@LM, I’m sorry you and the new hubby is sick :-( That’s no fun at all. I hope you’re both on the mend and you guys have a few fun days before he has to leave.

DB

April 15th, 2009
3:03 pm

@MJG: I responded to your comment on the mayo-mustard blog!

JATL

April 15th, 2009
3:12 pm

Yuck! My husband and I pee in front of each other and shower together, but there are plenty of times I want privacy, and I’m sure he does too. I usually want to go to the toilet ALONE -completely -which with small children is a luxury unto itself. These rooms don’t seem to take into account how many friends share rooms when traveling or Parent/grown child couples, business travelers (yes, I’ve had to share a room with a co-worker on two different occasions), etc. What a stupid -all form no function -idea!

Becky

April 15th, 2009
3:29 pm

I didn’t mean that we parade around in front of the kids naked, but they have walked in while I was getting out of the shower..They are 6, so I don’t make a big deal out of it & they don’t either..As for wrinkles, not at that stage yet, so again no major problem..

I do like my privacy at times when I’m in the bathroom & we allow each other that, but I’m not gonna be offended if he is in the bathroom with me at any time..

ESR

April 15th, 2009
3:40 pm

What’s next, glass toilets? I can here the kids now….” I see corn..”

ESR

April 15th, 2009
3:41 pm

oops ” hear the kids..”

motherjanegoose

April 15th, 2009
3:41 pm

DB…thanks…back atcha in the mayo blog.

motherjanegoose

April 15th, 2009
3:50 pm

DB…I think I am being banned from that blog….LOL! My comment did not come up.
This blog is getting a bit too graphic for me. I have been in our bathroom with my husband on the potty and he has been in there with me but it is not something I want to chat about on the internet.

We generally NEVER stay in a one room hotel with our kids. I am used to my own room for business travel and it gets too crowded with 4 adults in one room.

New question that is related somewhat:

I try to scoot all of my things to one side and keep things off of the bathroom counter for the housekeepers to be able to clean up quickly and not have to mess with my makeup, shampoo or shoes etc. while vacuuming and straightening up the room. My kids know to tidy up their things
( unless we are in a condo at the beach and then they can do WHATEVER they want with their room as long as they clean up before we leave.)

Last week, in NYC, our friends wanted to leave their things all over the suite. I was trying to be kind and mention that we should tidy up for the housekeeper. I was told, “oh you may not want to travel with us then as we feel if we are paying for the room we can leave it how we want…”

Actually, I had booked the room with my Hilton Honors points and it was a LOT of points. The actual rate was over $300 per night. I try to be considerate and not leave a mess…am I the only one?

Becky

April 15th, 2009
4:13 pm

No MJG, you aren’t the only one..I don’t throw towels on the floor & I try to keep it fairly clean..I know that there are people that get paid to clean these rooms, but they aren’t paid to be my personal keeper..

DB

April 15th, 2009
4:29 pm

No, MJG, you definitely aren’t the only one. When we stay in a hotel, towels get gathered in one place in the morning (I try to leave them lying on the edge of the tub, so the maid doesn’t have to bend over to get them.) I don’t consider paying for a hotel room carte blanche to be a slob. It’s enough of a treat for the bed to be made and the bathroom to be tidied — a maid shouldn’t have to pick up your dirty underwear, and I sure don’t want them touching my toothbrush!

I bet your friend didn’t leave a tip for the maid, either. Pfft!

DB

April 15th, 2009
4:40 pm

MJG – back ‘atcha on mayo-mustard! I was trying to find Roseanne Barr’s routine on YouTube, but can’t find it — must be too old!

motherjanegoose

April 15th, 2009
6:15 pm

DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON THE TIPS….I arrived at the airport with $400 cash and $30 in ones….for tips. This was not a business trip for me, so I just thought it would be easier to use cash.
She had $200 in cash. I am a good tipper, if the service is good. We had a lovely buffet breakfast at the Embassy Suites each day that was included in our FREE ( my Hilton points) room. Yes, I tipped those who cleaned up our mess and was one of the few who tipped the cooks when we stood at the bar and got our omelettes and eggs over easy.

I always tip the housekeeper, the porter and the cabbie etc. I was really thinking that perhaps they would spring for one dinner for us, as they stayed with us in our room for FREE for three nights and that included breakfast…NO. I do not think I am a good candidate for inviting friends ( my daughter’s) to come with us as I would think they would realize what a great deal they got not having to pay for the hotel and a full cooked to order breakfast for 3 nights and at least offer to buy our dinner one night. UUGH!
Even my own sisters take me out to dinner when they tag along with me to the beach or meet me on a business trip. Maybe I am expecting too much or maybe some folks do not have a clue.

catlady

April 15th, 2009
9:26 pm

What happens in the bathroom should STAY in the bathroom (until flushed away, if possible)

nurse&mother

April 16th, 2009
1:51 am

MJG-I think it is common courtesy to pay for someone’s meal (or do something special) for a gracious host/hostess. Not everyone was brought up this way, however. We had one of my husband’s friends (and his flavor or the month) invite themselves to stay at our house for the night a few months back. They didn’t tell us of their plans. We were expecting them to drop by for a few hours on their way to ATL from Chattanooga. Once they had arrived, they hinted that their plans had changed and wanted to spend the night. My husband and I had already decided to go out for dinner (before the imposition). Not only did they not offer to pay (I didn’t necessarily expect this-merely expected we would “go dutch”), they didn’t even offer to pay for THEIR food and bar tab! Rude! I will make sure next time to offer peanut butter sandwiches and chips.

Nadia

April 16th, 2009
7:38 am

What does wanting or not wanting to see your significant other on the toilet have to do with your sex life?

To answer the question, though…I cannot decide what I think about this. No one in my house gets much privacy, so a hotel with a bathroom like this would not be much different. I do think it would make my husband uncomfortable, though.

Penguinmom

April 16th, 2009
1:56 pm

Not everyone can afford separate rooms for their family. I definitely would want to know in advance so that I could choose a different hotel if I didn’t want that type of bathroom.

This all reminds me of my father’s stories of his time in Africa during the 50’s. People would go to the bathroom on the side of the road but they would chant so that they couldn’t hear the noise their body was making. It had something to do with evil spirits.

I don’t understand people who are less comfortable with their spouses and the bathroom then they are in public restrooms. Everyone in there hears what you are doing. And what is going to happen when y’all get older or if one of you becomes disabled? Not that I’m looking forward to that day but it shouldn’t be the first time you ever see your spouse in the bathroom.

My husband and I are fairly open about bathroom time but that does not mean I want a glass wall so that everyone Has to see what is going on in the bathroom. Especially if you have older children or are traveling with friends/business people.

nurse&mother

April 16th, 2009
3:39 pm

Ok, to answer the question. I don’t care for see through bathrooms in my hotel room.

While my husband and I are completely comfortable going to the bathroom in front of each other, we usually don’t interrupt each other unless, he or I need to run in to grab something (that can’t wait). I’d rather not see him on the commode (or should I say smell him, lol) and vice versa.

Skreet

April 21st, 2009
9:12 am

Y’all so silly. Who cares if a family member sees you on the log ride!

C

April 23rd, 2009
9:46 am

I firmly believe that the family that craps together, stays together.