In­ter­na­tional bathing beau­ties

I toyed with the idea of an over­flow, fan­cy­ing my­self surf­ing across the bath­room on a wave of laven­der bub­bles

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

With just a shower, and no tub, in our city apart­ment, and as a lover of long soaks, I have de­vel­oped an un­nat­u­ral fas­ci­na­tion with ho­tel bath­rooms. The first thing I check in any gue­stroom is the en­suite. Happy dance when there is a bath and sad face if not. Some­times there is a tub bang in the bed­room, po­si­tioned as some sort of show-off al­tar to bathing, which is fine when you are trav­el­ling alone but not al­ways such an at­trac­tive prospect with part­ner or friend in tow.

It is quite the thing in Asian re­sorts to have a sunken tub, which is all very well if you don’t have arthritic joints or dicky knees. I al­ways look into such depths with mount­ing fear. What to do if I get stuck? It has hap­pened once, at the un­likely but de­light­ful lo­cale of the Rose­land penin­sula in Cornwall. I was re­search­ing the Tre­vithick branch of the pa­ter­nal fam­ily tree and try­ing to es­tab­lish if we were re­lated to the great Cor­nish in­ven­tor Richard Tre­vithick, who de­vel­oped the high-pres­sure steam en­gine. I am still not sure of the ex­act fam­ily con­nec­tions but that night, per­haps gripped with ex­cite­ment at the pos­si­bil­ity of a fa­mous an­ces­tor, my leg cramped in the tub of my en­suite at the sea­side Ho­tel Tresanton.

I was in a tiny at­tic room with a dormer win­dow and could hear the seag­ulls caw­ing like crazy out­side; it was high sum­mer and one of those evenings when the sun de­cides to go to bed very late. Jolly voices drifted up from the beach; I tried shout­ing and bang­ing on the bath­room wall as right next door, in an iden­ti­cal lit­tle cham­ber, was my trav­el­ling com­pan­ion, Chris­tine. But she was al­ready safely bathed and nose-deep in a book, obliv­i­ous to my squawks and ap­peals for a crow­bar.

I tried rolling and crouch­ing on one knee in an ef­fort to hoist my­self out. The bath went cold; the tub was too full to top up with hot wa­ter and the pop-up plug was un­help­fully stuck but I toyed with the idea of an over­flow, fan­cy­ing my­self surf­ing across the bath­room on a wave of laven­der bub­bles. Even­tu­ally the cramp went and out I stum­bled, as wrin­kled and squishy as a prune.

Re­cent bathing ex­pe­ri­ences I have loved in­clude the semi-al­fresco setup at Villa Kubu in Bali where it is al­most a mat­ter of swimming with the fishes as the rock­walled bath­room is in­cor­po­rated into a pond and from the tub you feel as if you could prune the gar­den or at least do a head­count of the plump and lazy koi. At The Brando on Te­tiaroa atoll in French Poly­ne­sia, there’s a choice of bathing in­doors or out but the lat­ter is the go in fine weather, tucked into a tub be­hind a wooden screen and sur­rounded by broad-leafed trop­i­cal trees.

Soak­ing with a view? From a win­dow-side bath on Level 41 at The Westin Sin­ga­pore I felt like Jane Jet­son in­stalled at Sky­pad apart­ments and hov­er­ing lightly over this mod­ern-as-to­mor­row city. Surely even the seag­ulls would need oxy­gen masks up here. I had no prob­lems leap­ing out of the wa­ter and shim­my­ing into a tow­elling robe but that tremen­dous floor-to-ceil­ing panorama did leave me stuck for words.

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