Essentially Perfect Washrooms
By Chaitali Aggarwal
Attending a ballroom party, a corporate cocktail-dinner, the ubiquitous press conference(s) or an open-air wedding affair at a famous 5-star hotel? One can almost be certain to visit the washroom at least once, for a face re-touchup or even a reassuring second look in the body-size mirror.
May be, go for a shoeshine or for applying the natural body freshener or just doing the nature's call...there's more than a reason to be there! Yes, designer washrooms can be such a blessing and so much of a contrast with the public toilets in the city.
You can tell by the relieved look on people's faces as they come out of the hotel washrooms. And, this was enough reason for me to peruse a few toilets done wonderfully in some of city hotels. Here's what I found out.
All photos by the author. Copyright: Right Impact Media Inc.
The highway washrooms are far, fewer and maddening. The least said the better. While the washrooms in the selected city’s fancy shopping malls or inside NCR’s cinema multiplexes offer some respite in terms of hygiene, bare necessities and aesthetics. Move away from the monotony of malls; its washrooms don’t offer much except that they do have ample water in taps and toilet roll in its place.
As a kid, staying occasionally as a guest in a 5-star hotel with my family, it came with “Oh my god, it feels like heaven” feeling. The excitement was about the good food, stylish service, luxurious accommodation with facilities you never knew existed, and so much more! Growing up, the feeling still gripped me but it got a new twist. It was no longer just about the luxury these hotels offered; the décor, the interior, the architecture. The washrooms became a more important part of the 5-star hotels’ experience. And so, it was only recently that I started noticing more aspects about the myriad 5-star hotels critically as I decided to do a recce of a few of these luxury hotels’ toilets in my city.
A recent visit by fnbworld's intern reporter to Hotel Le Méridien in the heart of New Delhi left me stupefied. As I entered, the plush, chic interiors and the urbane looking lobby of the hotel incited me to explore deeper. I made my way sooner to its washroom closer to the concierge. The experience was awe inspiring, to say the least. I was soaked in a wonderful fragrance as I entered and was enthralled to see its munificent interiors. In front of the entrance door was a table with a shoe-shine brush, a moisturizer, a comb and some clean, rolled up hand towels. What, however, really caught my eye were the floor-to-ceiling wonderfully framed mirrors - somewhat like mirrored walls.
The toilets were clean and hygienic and the lady assistant inside was attentive and kind enough to answer a few questions that www.fnbworld.com posed. A large-sized LCD screen playing Tom and Jerry added to my visual comfort. The washroom had a long comfortable couch at one end and on each side was a showcase that had various styling products from leading cosmetic brands that could be bought from the in-house salon, I was informed. There was a diaper-changing table to assist mothers and a separate stall for the physically challenged. The washroom had a chic urban décor that suited the ambience of the hotel.
Not far from Hotel Le Meridien, I decided to move on to the Shangri La’s Eros Hotel. Intrigued by the washroom exploration fever, I decided to venture into its washroom(s) that are located closer to the hotel’s coffee shop and easily accessible in case of an emergency, 'whereas the ones inside the Le Meridien are located on 2 floors - one fairly closer to the lobby and the other one in the lower ground floor. The one at Shangri-la is spacious with warm pale lighting to soothe one’s senses felt nicer. The washroom had a long table with a mirror behind it and a cushion chair underneath it on one side of the wall. The other side of the wall had a long sitting area in front of it.
Apart from the fragrance and soothing flicker of the aromatic candles, what stood out in the ladies washrooms was a tray placed between the washbowl that had small nail-filers, combs and ear buds for guests to use, with hygiene ensured by their fool-proof packaging.
A nail cutter, a small bottle of the BVLGARI perfume, a hairbrush, a shoe-brush, a bottle of NOVA hair-spray were some of the accessories lying for the guests.
Anything that the ladies visiting the washroom should require was there, including rubber-bands and cotton-wool, apart from the usual hand towels and napkin-tissues. The facilities were clearly outstanding, including a separate washroom for the physically challenged.
To peruse yet another washroom, I headed to The Imperial Hotel – one from the British era situated at Janpath. Built in 1936, the hotel certainly has a vintage charm which my senses so relished as I swayed into the washroom, located in a quiet corner of the lobby. While the ladies’ washroom was rather small, the men’s from the outside seemed quite spacious.
The ladies washroom was replete with bottles of moisturizers, lotions, body sprays and what have you. Full-length antique body mirror stood in one corner of the washroom to take a final look before leaving.
My curiosity mounting with every step, I decided to make my trip to the 5-star hotel in the heart of the city - The Lalit Hotel on Barakhamba Road. Much like The Imperial Hotel, the washrooms were located in a quiet corner of the lobby. Definitely bigger than the one I went to at The Imperial Hotel; these were smaller as compared to ones in Hotel Le Meredien. A comfortable couch lined one of the walls, while large and small designer flower vases with artificial flowers added a pleasant look to the interiors. Surely, they could’ve done better with fresh flowers. Its inside was clean, fresh and smelled wonderful so hardly any surprises here.
However, what astounded me were washrooms at the relatively smaller and recently opened Radisson Blu Hotel at Dwarka. Easily accessible via the lobby, the male and the female washrooms are located adjacent to each other with a separate washroom for the physically challenged located next to them. Quite spacious from inside, the washrooms had soothing music playing with a pleasant fragrance lending a refreshing charm. The ambience was appealing and paintings on the walls and large flowers vases added a touch of elegance.
There were long full-length wall mirrors, a small table and a few comfortable chairs placed in front of the mirror and in the middle of the washrooms. Branded bottles of liquid soap and moisturizers for the use of guests and hand towels and napkins were available aplenty. Common to all these washrooms were the shapely spigots, fancy liquid soap dispensing bottles and automatic electronic hand-dryers.
The 'unusual tour' of some of the city's finest hotels' washrooms for me did prove one thing – a blend of perfect hygiene, choicest aesthetics and modern facilities in the washrooms can make one's toilet experience so pleasant. I hope, the pathetically managed city government run toilets will take some lessons soon in washrooms management. No wonder, the house-keeping department is such an important part of the hospitality industry.