Worth the investment: the Dornbracht MEM bath spout pictured enables free-standing assembly says the firm Worth the investment: the Dornbracht MEM bath spout pictured enables free-standing assembly says the firm

Investment in hotel bathrooms has “dramatically” reduced in many regional markets, but manufacturers and suppliers warn that cheap fit-outs could be costlier in the long-run.

“The bathroom in many ways has been sacrificed through value engineering and too often the original design concept is heavily compromised,” said Dornbracht Middle East general manager Phillip Payne.

“As a premium brand we share with the design community many of the challenges they face in educating investors and owners that taking the short-term approach regarding quality of products, finish and construction can prove to be far more expensive over the lifespan of a hotel.

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Similarly, Sanipex specification director Ben Bryden reported a reduction in hotel spends on bathroom fitouts since the global economic downturn, but said “standards have been maintained”.

Payne said location effected how hotel owners viewed the added value of a quality bathroom. “In some of the stronger established tourist destinations, where premium hotels must compete more and provide the overall experience their international clientele expect, we see a much better retention of the recognised international bathroom suppliers.”

Bryden estimated the cost of a standard guestroom en suite fit-out in a five-star hotel at US $2700 to $9500. But Grohe project channel manager – lower Gulf Firas Ibrahim estimated the total average cost per bathroom, including sanitary ware, at between $4000 and $5500.

On the contrary, Laufen head of international project sales & export Ivan Zupanovic said he had seen a growth in investments in bathrooms as the regional hotel market has grown more competitive. “The design and function of bathroom products have become increasingly important and the portion of budget that hotels are giving over to bathroom design has grown accordingly.

“Most hotels have understood that the bathroom plays a key role in their customers’ perceptions of the hotel as a whole and our own research shows a continuous shift in the hotel sector to high-end interior design with premium quality products.”

But Villeroy and Boch sales director NMEA and India, bath, wellness and tiles, Thorsten Bies, said this had not always been the case.

“Spending was significant in the Middle East up until 2008. During late 2008 and 2009 we saw a reduction in spending due to the economic crisis when we saw hotels reducing budgets. The good news is that the situation is currently changing again, and as hotels compete to attract new guests and keep the existing ones, hotel operators and investors are once again investing in high-quality brands.”