Why Do Hotels Have Phones In Bathrooms?

Filed Under: Hotels

The more I stay in hotels, the more questions I have. For example, why do W Hotels think I want a bathtub in the middle of my room? Or why do W Hotels always have a shortage of trash cans in the rooms?

Okay, maybe those questions are specific to W Hotels, though more generically…

Have you ever wondered why do so many hotels have phones in the bathrooms, usually by the toilet?


Up until this point I assumed there were a few potential reasons:

  • People are most likely to slip/fall in the bathroom, so it helps to have a phone nearby, and near the toilet is probably the driest place in the bathroom
  • If someone has a stroke or something in the bathroom, it’s good to have a phone nearby
  • Hotels cater to busy people — do they really have time to stop working while on the toilet? šŸ˜‰

Well, it looks like we finally have our answer as to the real reason hotels have phones in the bathrooms. I was just reading Hack My Trip’s review of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and ptahcha left the following comment on the post:

Fun fact: phone next to the toilet is a requirement for higher categories under the AAA diamond system.

I did some research, and it is indeed true. If you look at page 29 of the AAA Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines, you’ll see this:


In order for a hotel be rated AAA Four Diamonds or above, it must have a landline or cordless telephone available in the bathroom. Wow!

Now, admittedly the reason it’s a requirement is probably for one of the reasons I speculated above. Though I had no clue this was actually a requirement, and that without it you can’t be a top rated hotel.

I learn something new in this hobby every day!

  1. Given your hotel room cleanliness issues, I’m assuming you’ve never used the bathroom phone. Nor would I. Except possibly – possibly – in case of a stroke.

  2. I’ve always felt they were there in case you’re expecting an important call. Nothing is worse than being indisposed and having the phone ring. You know, like when your work colleague down the call is ringing you up to let you know it’s time to hit the Exec Lounge for drinks.

  3. I wish they added more trash cans as a AAA requirement. Hate having to hunt for the one small can that is usually under the desk!

  4. It appears there is newer version of the AAA Guidelines document (dated June 2012; http://www.aaa.biz/Approved/files/evaluation/DiamondRatingGuidelines.pdf). It no longer states that a bathroom phone is required for a 4D rating. Rather it has a list of “Other Bathroom Attributes” on Pg 29 (which appears to apply to all Diamond levels). The list includes “Telephone” and says “Points allocated as appropriate”.

    Conclusion: As of June 2012, a bathroom telephone is no longer required for a 4 or 5D rating… but it helps.

  5. Unfortunately, many of my friends talk on cell phones while using the potty (which I find highly disturbing) so this would probably be nice for them (as it removes the “dropping cell phone in toilet” aspect).

  6. what amazes me here is that lucky has the time to not only read the comments in his blog, answer them, and go over all the “ask lucky” questions; but he also has time to read other blogs, and their comments! This makes me like you even more lucky!

  7. Interesting. Now I would love to know who came up with the idea of having wide open windows from the bathroom to the rest of the room, and why. I suppose could be nice if you are rooming with a supermodel šŸ˜‰ For the rest of us, I think we prefer our bathrooms to be private. So who came up with this concept? (Sorry for being off topic. I was just in the Tokyo Hyatt Regency and this was a “feature.”)

  8. Lucky Dawg!
    when you are taking care of personal business its nice to have a phone in easy reach without dripping across the floor in a rush to answer

  9. Toilet phones are a holdover from the days before mobile phones. Believe it or not, there was a time when we only had access to landline phones on desks, kitchens, payphones, and if very fortunate, next to the toilet in a fancy hotel. The hotel toilet phone was utilized by drunk-calling your boss while taking a luxurious dump.

  10. Clearly the reason for this is so guests can talk on the phone while taking a dump. I do it all the time and I am sure a lot of other people do because it is a great use of being on hold.

  11. This seems to be a very US-oriented thing. I have noticed in particular that when traveling to Canada I rarely if ever see this, and I feel like it is fairly rare in other parts of the world as well. But in the US at midrange properties and up it’s pretty much guaranteed.

  12. Page 1 of the linked AAA document actually clarifies it’s not a requirement:

    “The Diamond Rating Guidelines are not rating requirements, but are components used to determine the appropriate Diamond Rating level. Diamond Rating guidelines are simply a reflection of what is typically seen throughout the various market segments of the lodging industry.”

  13. I remember staying at the New Otani in Tokyo in 1977. They had two things that I had never seen before: there was a phone next to the toilet, and every day housekeeping folded the toilet paper into a point. Both things have become very common now, but they were new to me then (I am pretty sure the toilet paper thing was of Japanese origin).

    P.S. My bathroom at home has a wall phone next to the toilet, but I don’t even have a landline anymore so it is just a vestige. And I never used it once even when it worked.

  14. I never have made an outgoing call from the toilet phone, but the few times I’ve been otherwise occupied when the front desk called, it was very, very nice to not feel like I have to quickly waddle to the bedside.

  15. I always thought it was so that if you were in the toilet and the main bedside or work table phone rang you wouldn’t have to scramble out in a hurry in order not to miss the call.

  16. In case you mysteriously fall in but 1 arm and hand are just able to reach that landline lifeline.

  17. “Now I would love to know who came up with the idea of having wide open windows from the bathroom to the rest of the room, and why.”

    I understand it’s more popular in the parts of the world with legal prostitution (in other words, everywhere but the US), so that you can monitor your “escort”, as some have been known to wait for you to hit the head, then rip off everything important that you have.

  18. Err..use the phone after a stroke. Now if we accept that most strokes are sudden and debilitating, how many stroke victims are likely to be sufficiently able to crawl across the floor, and then lift themselves up sufficiently to make a ca? Remember that one of their arms is likely to be markedly affected by the stroke as is their ability to speak. You will also note that the rating requirement says in the bathroom – not next to the toilet. However, I guess placing it next to the toilet gives you some place to sit other than in the bath while to take or make that important call.

  19. Not so mike…….Elvis had a heart attack and a heart attack victim does have the “possibility” of reaching for the phone to alert medical help……….YMMV…………ask yourself why there are call buttons in the bathrooms at hospitals?

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