Pushed to the brink by bad de­sign

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Here is the thing about ho­tel bath­rooms … no mat­ter how flash the city prop­erty or el­e­gant the re­sort, the en­suite is, for me, the defin­ing el­e­ment that lifts the ac­com­mo­da­tion to top billing, re­gard­less of the star rat­ing or tar­iff. It is not about tele­vi­sions inset above the tub (I don’t re­ally need to watch soap op­eras while in the bath, dis­re­gard­ing the ob­vi­ous syn­ergy) or the pro­vi­sion of fluffy-wuffy tow­els the size of sheets, but a thought­ful lay­out and the lit­tle de­tails all be­ing present and cor­rect.

Many es­tab­lish­ments con­sider it groovy to have a tub in the bed­room, usu­ally a rolled-top claw­foot num­ber by a pic­ture win­dow over­look­ing a glit­tery lake or gen­tle coun­try­side or, in one odd sce­nario I en­coun­tered last year, an up-close of­fice build­ing. But one reaches a cer­tain age where ca­vort­ing naked in and out of a bath is never a good thing, and not just be­cause of the po­ten­tial au­di­ence but the pos­si­bil­ity of slip­ping on the soap (roll­tops not be­ing known for their safe car­riage of toi­letries, spec­ta­cles and other needs). In a nudge-wink hon­ey­moon suite? Yes, un­der­stand­able; but not, please, in cham­bers of any other cat­e­gory. Ditto for lava­to­ries with­out doors or pri­vacy screens. This look-at-me loo move­ment seems to be the de­sign world’s fancy of the day and it is so very wrong.

But what has got me hop­ping mad most re­cently is the drain that sits in the cen­tre of the tub. OK, I know this sounds far too par­tic­u­lar and per­nick­ety, but bear with me. It will have a push-down re­lease plug, which is the po­si­tion needed to fill the tub. So far, so good. Then you get in and the minute your der­riere, thigh or, in­deed, any sub­stan­tial part of you makes con­tact with said plug, it pops up un­der pres­sure and the wa­ter starts to run out. Push, pop. Push, pop. On and on it goes and all be­cause some highly-paid de­sign guru has opted, again, for style over sub­stance, and prob­a­bly be­cause they only take showers or weigh less than a leaf.

Oh yes, showers, and those das­tardly mixer taps that re­quire a de­gree in en­gi­neer­ing to use, and the si­mul­ta­ne­ous choice of over­head rain­fall dumpers or wall­mounted whoosh­ers, and no mat­ter which you re­quire, it’s sod’s law the wrong one will turn on and drench all the in­cor­rect bits, such as the freshly done hair you were not plan­ning to wash.

And then there’s the teeny-tiny let­ter­ing on the ho­tel unguents that can­not be read in a steamy shower and be­fore you know it you are ap­ply­ing body lo­tion in­stead of con­di­tioner and get­ting into an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent kind of lather.

As I am amid a house ren­o­va­tion and have been haunt­ing bath­room sec­tions at depart­ment stores, it is now ev­i­dent the silly push-pop drains have hit the home mar­ket and are breed­ing. Un­able to con­vince sev­eral sales­men (sorry, tap­ware con­sul­tants) of the prob­lem, I have help­fully given two demon­stra­tions (so far) by hop­ping into (empty) dis­play tubs. This has not gone down well at all.

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