It is time, as the walrus is famously supposed to have said, to talk of many things – in this particular instance, the rights and wrongs of luxury hotels’ bedrooms. As always, the gal will look at the half-full glass, and what is right. Every establishment needs to think of guests. What might they want in bathrooms? All the Wynn hotels have it right, with light, airy bathrooms, off-white surfaces so that you could see even the tiniest hair if there were one. Make-up mirrors should be attached to the wall, with moveable height: question, when there are two washbasins why not give each an illuminated mirror attached at different heights, to satisfy both an NBA player and a Japanese geisha?
While on the subject of bathrooms, it is possible to get shower controls right. Yes, they need to be away from the shower- heads so you can turn water on without getting wet, but they need to be fool-proof. The Hansgrohe push buttons are easiest around, please will developers take note – I personally long for Hansgrohe about one morning in five, which is the average when I end up with a cold shower, or washing my locks under the bathtub tap as I cannot work the shower at all. Oh yes, and talking about not being able to work something, any espresso machine that is not a simple Magimix or Nespresso should be banned. How is an overnight guest supposed to work them?
Let us move on to lighting. Well, hardly anyone has got this right, across an entire brand, but Four Seasons and Peninsula are the best. The former goes for simple switches in logical places while the latter believes in clear signage, in your preferred language – clever. I was in one hotel the other day where some of my bedroom lights would not turn off and one, which I needed, remained stubbornly dark (it turned out that tripswitch had gone). The answer here is that every hotel room should be slept in, from time to time, by someone from the hotel and, certainly, owners and GMs should sleep in their presidential suites, which invariably have challenges with lights, showers, air-con or WiFi which are not experienced in the main body of rooms.
Arrival in the bedroom at any luxury hotel is like the 30-second sell. You know immediately. I warm to any room that has a ledge or shelf just inside the door, ideal for my door keys (how many times, otherwise, have keys got under papers and you cannot find them for love or money?). I am turned on by research that means I am welcomed with my preferred reading, and my favourite fruits – as above – rather than a plate of itsy-bitsy marzipan sculptures done by a two-year old. Heavy books are ridiculous VIP welcomes unless the hotel immediately offers to send them on, and a bottle of expensive Rosé bubbly is wasted on someone who only drinks Brut. It is easy to find these things out, but a lot of minutiae are general woes. Why do so many top hotels still require guests to perform Houdini antics to reach electric sockets on the floor and out of sight?