Roundtable: Suppliers and housekeepers on bathroom design
Suppliers and housekeepers share their insights on sustainability measures and technology advances in hotel bathroom design
HOTELIER: What makes the perfect hotel bathroom?
Tariq Abbadi (TA): Comfort and functionality is imperative. This means no creaking or bursting pipes, noisy toilets and no odd odours. Invisible elements such as plumbing is often underestimated or saved on, however its smooth functionality and sound reducing features are critical for a positive hotel stay.
Pamini Hemaprabha (PH): Bathrooms should be the gateway to relaxation from guests’ points of view. Smart bathrooms are the way forward; we also need to ensure that bathrooms are given the best amenities and feel to guests who use them, as well as to the attendants who clean them.
Sheeja Sasidharan (SS): Ample light (sunlight if the building structure permits), non-porous walls and flooring that has minimal joints to avoid fungus growth.
Gabriel Nassar (GN): For a modern and spacious well-being area, a concealed cistern is the best choice. This offers a space saving solution that is both reliable, easy to install with tool free maintenance, hygienic and is easy to clean. When planning a hotel bathroom you should also place acoustics high on the list of priorities. As the quality of buildings are ever improving you hear less external noise, therefore, acoustics in the bathroom area becomes more important.
HOTELIER: What are some of the latest developments in bathroom design in the region?
TA: Recent bathroom technologies are not solely serving the purpose of making guests’ stay more comfortable, but rather focuses on water efficiency. Automated taps and mandatory installation of a dual toilet flush support the region’s environmental initiatives. Furthermore, technology also supports the well-being and comfort of the guest’s stay. The gentle illumination features of the SANIT LIS flush plate are just one example of this. When your guest enters the bathroom and steps into the sensor’s detection range, a discreet LED light strip lights up and then switches off automatically after a pre-set time of two to eight minutes.
GN: The first thing you notice about many products in bathrooms and toilets are the surfaces, which is why we refine how they look and feel. The oldest ceramic finds are estimated to be some 30,000 years old. The material is indispensable in sanitary applications to this day because fired sanitary ceramic is extremely robust. With the appropriate glaze and the right care, it retains its original sheen for many years – even with heavy use and when very abrasive cleaning agents are used. Not only should that, cleaning effort be minimal. The product surfaces therefore undergo special testing and are continuously optimised at our laboratories.
HOTELIER: What is the singular most challenge that you face as suppliers?
TA: Aliaxis sees itself not simply as a supplier, but as a solution provider, hence our challenge and mission is to educate the industry about water efficiency and underscore the industry in terms of being at the forefront with the latest efficient trends. The investment of a hotel is very high; developers or owners wish to avoid an early refurbishment to update the technologies.
GN: A product can be all that it is supposed to be but if it is not installed correctly problems will occur. Installers need to have the correct training and at Geberit we transfer our know-how on a daily basis with numerous trainings either at our training centres, on site, at a partners premises – wherever we are needed.
HOTELIER: What are some of the latest sustainability measures in the bathroom design segment?
TA: Sustainability is fast becoming a buzzword in the region but we should not forget that lower costs go hand in hand with sustainability. In response to this, hoteliers and investors are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of hotel development and operations. Sustainability lies at the heart of the Aliaxis Group’s company culture and this is reflected in its commitments to providing environmental information about its products. Besides achieving the Singapore Green Building Product certificate, our brands comply with international water efficiency standards and are newly tested on a regular annual basis. Educating hoteliers and guests about the significant impact that it will have by using less water and more efficient water consumption is part of our responsibility as a solution provider.
GN: As green buildings continue to gain in importance, so too does Geberit’s drive to help create a more sustainable quality of life through innovative water management. Geberit has long been playing a key role in this sector with appropriate products, for example, water-saving dual-flush and flush-stop technologies. Sustainable products are not only future oriented – they also ensure the future success of the company.
HOTELIER: With housekeeping in mind, how do you strike a balance between form and functionality?
TA Housekeeping usually has a very tight schedule of how many minutes they have for cleaning a room and getting it ready for the arrival of guests. Therefore, functioning and easy to clean elements in the bathroom are important. Using concealed cisterns with a wall-hung WC is definitely an element that will support efficient and fast cleaning, as the original back to wall exposed closets are known for being dust collectors.
GN: Placing the cistern behind the wall and choosing a wall-hung solution has a lot of advantages. For hotel bathrooms, it means saving space and more hygiene. As the cistern is behind the wall, the staff has got less to clean and cleaning the ceramics is also much quicker. Thus, this solution even saves time and money.
HOTELIER: What do housekeepers wish bathroom designers would ask them before they begin the design process?
PP: It’s imperative for designers to get in touch with seasoned executive housekeepers who can share their insights and expertise, especially from end users’ point of view and also from guests’ point of view. We need to have smart bathrooms which provide guests ease of use and to relax while taking a shower.
SS: We want bathroom design to look good and to enhance guest experience. In terms of what designers designing hotel bathrooms should think about in regards to the housekeeping department, they should think about form and functionality, ease of cleaning, whether it is labour intensive or not, and will it save costs.
HOTELIER: How does water pressure and drainage affect how bathrooms are designed and how bathroom design products are used?
GN: There are three components within plumbing that are necessary; reliability, comfort, and sustainability. As a hotel stakeholder, optimising operating cost by choosing reliable suppliers is important. Beside the physical damage that is caused, rooms need to be blocked during restoration, which lower the room key revenue. Comfort is also highly affected by poorly sourced drainage hence many more owners and developers are choosing acoustic drainage now to avoid the sound of water running above the ceiling. Lastly the GCC is very much at the forefront when it comes to water saving and sustainable initiatives. Water has become such a scarce and valuable source that water treatment and water usage are hot topics at water management conferences to optimize the resources we have. Aliaxis is a strong supporter of such initiations starting from reducing the flushing volumes of our concealed cisterns to working closely with many water treatment plants in the region.