A hotel bathroom is a make or break feature. It doesn't matter how many threads your Egyptian cotton sheets have or just how well stocked your minibar is; if your hotel bathroom is not great, then it just makes the whole room feel less luxurious.
Fortunately, most hotel designers are aware of this incontrovertible fact and put special care into putting together the en-suite.
We've brought together a handful of some of the most jaw-dropping, from indoor-outdoor beauties on sun-drenched shores to marble-clad modern bathrooms fit for a monarch. Slip on your robe and slippers, and let's take a tour.
1. GoldenEye, Jamaica
GoldenEye was built as a dream villa by James Bond creator Ian Fleming and it quickly became a hangout of the jet set, attracting the likes of Noël Coward, Errol Flynn, Lucian Freud, Katharine Hepburn, Cecil Beaton, Laurence Olivier, Evelyn Waugh, Alec Guinness Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, to name a few. Fleming would go on to write Casino Royale and many more of the Bond novels in this very villa. Later it was bought by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who opened it as a hotel and added beach huts in 2016.
The outdoor showers and baths here are quite frankly superlative, every bit fit for a Bond girl, boy or person.
Book a stay at GoldenEye. Villas from around $700.
2. Ritz Paris
First and foremost, we had to include Ritz Paris because it was the first hotel to feature en-suite bathrooms, the original!
But more than one hundred years later these rooms still delight thanks to their classic regal aesthetic and the amazing detail, most patricianly the gilded taps in the shape of birds. The fluffy peach robes are also the stuff of legend.
Throughout the hotel, period furniture from Louis XV style to Art Nouveau has been faithfully recreated, and the rooms themselves are similarly fit for would-be Marie Antoinettes and Madame de Pompadours.
Book a stay at Ritz Paris. Rooms from $1000.
3. El Fenn, Marrakech
The only thing that El Fenn's 30 rooms have in common is that they are all exquisitely designed and all offer luxurious deep bath tubs. Other than that, each one has a unique style and color palette, with a bathroom to suit every taste.
The hotel, originally conceived as a private home for Vanessa Branson, is set across interconnecting riads and blends Moroccan crafts with bold color and mid century furnishings.
Book a stay at El Fenn. Rooms from $390.
4. The Goodtime Hotel
Sugar sweet and ultra-cool, the aptly named Goodtime is the brainchild of Miami hotel impresario David Grutman of Groot Hospitality and iconic musician Pharrell Williams.
The whimsical look, said to be inspired by the movies of Wes Anderson, is courtesy of architect Morris Adjmi and superstar designer Ken Fulk. We love the playful pastel-color bathrooms with their retro tile and Art Deco style finishes. Proof that you don't need a huge bathroom to introduce a sense of play.
Book a stay at The Goodtime Hotel. Rooms from $200.
5. Peter and Paul, New Orleans
Centered around a deconsecrated Catholic church in New Orleans, Peter and Paul is arranged across three different buildings: guests can choose to stay in a former convent, in the school where the nuns taught, or the rectory where the clergy lived. Each space has been imaginatively renovated and refurnished with pieces that are either made by local artisans or bought second-hand from antiques fairs.
We love how characterful the bathrooms are, and varied too! From freestanding clawfoot tubs set against retro Seventies-style tile, to zany pinstriped shower cubicles, and slinky deep tubs concealed by a curtain next to the bed.
Book a stay at Peter and Paul. Rooms from $160.
6. Hôtel Le Royal Monceau Raffles
This Parisian "Palace"-grade bolthole is designed by French superstar Philippe Starck, who took inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Throughout, the playful, contemporary design plays with angles and perspectives.
The bedazzling mirrored bathrooms are a highlight. It feels sort of like being inside a dazzling giant jewelry box. Comforts are more than superficial though. Bathrooms offer deep freestanding tubs, rain showers, Clarins toiletries and Dyson hairdryers as standard.
Book a stay at Le Royal Monceau Raffles. Rooms from $1300.
7. Hazlitt's Hotel, Soho, London
Expect old-school British elegance and just a dash of English eccentricity at Hazlitt's in central London. The name comes from the 18th-century writer who originally lived in this complex of townhouses.
The retro bathrooms featuring rolltop tubs feel particularly luxurious, set to a backdrop of 1700s-style art and decor. Even better, the literary-themed hotel is lined with bookshelves, so what more charming way to relax than taking a good long soak with a favorite tome?
Stay at Hazlitt's. Rooms from around $310.
8. Le Meurice
This is, without a doubt, the most stunning bathroom that I have seen with my own eyes. It's located in La Belle Etoile penthouse suite at Paris's ultra-luxe Meurice hotel, which costs about $20,000 per night to stay in and is reportedly a favorite of Beyoncé's, while being entirely out of reach for most mere mortals.
Nonetheless, we can dream...and steal design ideas. This regal bathroom looks out over the rooftops of Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre, framed by the elegant art nouveau style windows. Such views aren't easy to come by, but we love the general idea of a bath with a view. The whole marble bathroom is clad in Italian stone embellished with splashes of gold.
Book a stay at Le Meurice. Rooms from $1300, rising depending on room or suite grade.
9. Coqui Coqui
This may just be the world's most romantic bathroom.
Coqui Coqui Mérida, located in the capital of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, is one of a handful of boutique lodgings created by hoteliers and parfumiers Francesca Bonato and Nicolas Malleville.
On the ground floor of this vast Parisian-style mansion you'll find a chic perfume boutique whose musky botanical scents waft up to the penthouse suite, where guests stay.
Stand-out features include the four-poster bed and the absurdly romantic bathroom complete with two parallel freestanding tubs set against a backdrop of high ceilings and gilded mirrors. Spa treatments are also available including body scrubs in a sun-drenched outdoor bath.
Book a stay at Coqui Coqui Mérida. Suite from $420.
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Hannah Meltzer is a Londoner by birth and Parisian by adoption. She previously worked on the staff of The Daily Telegraph’s travel desk, before moving to Paris in 2017. She writes regularly about travel and Parisian culture for The Telegraph as an expert destination correspondent. She has also written for The Independent, The Times, Vanity Fair, openDemocracy and Télérama. Recently she wrote a podcast series about Parisian culture for an LA-based production company.
Hannah is based in the 18th arrondissement in the less touristy side of Montmartre behind the Sacré-Coeur basilica. Though her life sometimes resembles a hammy cliché — sketching in sidewalk terraces, walking her beloved dog Babette through the streets of Montmartre — she is adamant she has not lost her London humour and open-mindedness, or her accent.
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