My shower complaints are getting progressively worse…

I think most that read my trip reports will recognize that I have positive or at worst neutral reviews of flights and hotels at least 95% of the time. This week I seem to just be having really bad shower luck. On Friday I mentioned the showers at the Grand Hyatt Santiago, due to the difficulty of controlling the temperature and pressure. Yesterday I mentioned the showers in the “Cool Corner Room” at the W Santiago, which aren’t at all enclosed or separated from the room, which is frustrating because your whole room shouldn’t heat up when you take a shower, in my opinion.

But here’s my greatest shower complaint of all. After the upgrade “issue” yesterday at the W Santiago I got a suite, which featured the single most poorly designed shower I’ve ever seen anywhere. Take a look:

Who on earth thought it was a good idea to have the shower be a raised platform above the bathroom floor, with no barrier preventing water from flowing down? After showering for a few minutes (which is how long it took for the water to build up), probably half of the water drained where it was supposed to, while the other half flowed into the bathroom.

It really blows my mind. Surely someone designed this hotel, so what was going through their head when they made that decision?

Funny enough most of the reviews I’ve read about this hotel are glowing, though it’s one of the few hotels on my “no way in hell am I returning” list (and it’s because the hotel is all style and very little substance). The Grand Hyatt, on the other hand, I love.

Anyway, just my two cents, though maybe I’m off base…

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest
  1. In the mirror reflection there appear to be towels everywhere. Did the water from the shower run onto the carpet? I could write a book about the stupid showers I’ve encountered over the years, the worst being a shower spraying up from the floor (!) in Lahore, Pakistan.

  2. The handful of W’s I’ve stayed in have suffered from the same style over function flaw. I’ve been casually reading your blog for around a year. IMHO, I believe you provide spot on reviews of wonderful properties and services for those of a certain caliber. The absence of the occasional meritorious critique would yield a review of much less value, at least to me. Sometimes the illusory misgivings that lead to plebeian rants on other travel sites, however, have a certain entertainment value; though the absence of opinion on relatively important issues (such as shower with an automatic room flooding feature) can be a mystery to me.

  3. Tough crowd lol. I totally agree that W Hotels are style over substance. Stayed at a few in the past and some of the design decisions just boggle my mind.

    I do like the “One Shower/Complaint At A Time” suggestion tho haha.

  4. Don’t disagree with your comments given that you were in an expensive “western” hotel. However, in “non-western” hotels in Korea almost all showers are exactly as you describe this one. In fact, this was the biggest cultural shock I faced on a recent trip there. We had to change hotels several times to find “western” showers.

  5. I have been in many VERY SMALL bathroom/showers in India and Loas were everything gets wet when you take a shower.

    However, these rooms were $20 a night or less!!!!

  6. I stayed at this W in April and had no problem with the shower at all during the stay -it seemed similar to the Parker Meridian in NYC and i liked it. I had more issue with the lack of lighting in the bathroom (a W issue) but I was only in a standard room using C&P.

  7. The design would not be flawed if they had properly sloped it to drain the opposite direction. What dodo’s!

  8. @DavidM In those parts of the world bathrooms/showers traditionally are in their own room with nothing else so there was nothing stopping from getting every corner of the room wet. As they try to bring shower, toilet, sink etc in to one single room they just combined them with out thinking it through. Even modern apartment buildings have the same design where bathroom means “everything in it can get wet” philosophy. Its just a cultural difference.

  9. Is this serious?! All of this complaining is ridiculous. Just stay at the Grand Hyatt or the Sheraton there, then. No one cares about the shower. I really hope this comment does NOT get moderated.

  10. @ LR — This is one blog where comments don’t get moderated, regardless of how you feel about me or my posts. 🙂

  11. I apologize for the tone of my prior post. Your blog is usually spot on because it’s so helpful. This complaining, in my opinion, does no one any good. The one thing that was helpful, was the ability to Tweet SPG in the future, should there be any issues. Other than that, I can go to TripAdvisor for complaints on hotels.

    Best, LR

  12. @LR The bathroom design of a hotel room can really have a significant impact on how one enjoys the stay. Simply due to a poor design one should not have to end up mopping the bathroom because water ended up everywhere. Water is the primary feature in most bathrooms and someone should have figured out where it goes.

  13. England had a number of hotels where water seemed to go everywhere not to mention spigots for hot or cold water but not combined, you could not get warm water.

    If the room is a wet room I can understand it but not care for it but many others just let water flow all over which makes no sense. Water causes so many issues I would want it contained.

  14. @Speedy: If the design of a bathroom can have a “Significant Impact” on how you enjoy your stay, then you and I have a very strong difference of opinion on how to make a hotel stay enjoyable… BUT that’s not the point. The point is the blogging about it in a quasi-rant post accomplishes nothing. Just my 2c.

  15. @Wouter, @LR – So you’d rather have false, glowing reviews when there are such mindless design flaws and poor service? How dumb is that? I’m glad Lucky points out deficits – and there seem to be plenty at this place!

    As an aside, these showers work fine if they actually slope the floor properly. I’ve been in many in Europe where they built it right and things work as they should.

    I hope Lucky’s reviews never deteriorate to the level of some of the mindless posts of others where everything is always hunky dory!
    Sorry. I’d rather get the real goods.

  16. @Stacey (VeryGoodPoints): Great job downplaying Lucky’s critique of a poorly designed shower. Feel better?

  17. Good for you Ben! I’m so glad that you got the upgrade at the end. Despite getting the upgrade, I believe W Santiago have ruined the stay for guests by not being honest. If I had such experience at a hotel, I would never return again. At the same time, I would also tells friends and family about my bad experience. As for showers, I do like my showers warm and steaming. I did not like the shower at the St. Regis Princeville because they too have open showers.

  18. Like MBA’s, a little college does not an expert make without real world experience. I wonder if the construction crew were pondering the logic…

  19. @LR: When you’re paying $300+ a night for a hotel room, you ought to care about what you’re paying for. Especially when the bathroom is a substantial part of it. If you’re so wealthy that poor design in a pricey hotel room doesn’t phase you, then you’re much wealthier than most of us. And if you’re not wealthy, your apathy isn’t helping.

    For the rest of us, Lucky’s post is extremely helpful. It’s informative and useful to those considering a stay at the W Santiago. So, thank you Lucky and remain on course. Don’t let the dolts dissuade you from speaking freely.

  20. @simon, @stephan: The issue is not the amount of the nightly rate of the hotel. Nor should it be about the poor design of the hotel shower. By your reasoning, if the hotel stay was free, then it would be ok.

    I don’t consider myself “wealthy”, but fortunately, money is not a big concern in my household. Regardless, this has nothing to do with my opinion of this post. This post sounds like pure nagging.

    Sure, this post MAY be useful to those considering a stay at W Santiago. But how many of those is that? I mean you are literally talking about 1 hotel in the world, at a specific suite at that.

    Hopefully, Lucky will get back to doing what he does best – finding great deals and synthesizing them for his readers.

  21. As someone who stays in hotels pretty regularly, I think it’s absolutely appropriate to call them out on basic design flaws (especially when they’re so obvious as this). Sure, these are minor problems in the grand scheme of problems in the world, but I think everyone’s aware of that, and within the context of this blog there’s definite value in pointing them out.

  22. Some of your complaints do make me roll my eyes…but this is a horrible design for a bathroom. Considering how easy and cheap it would be for the hotel to rectify, I’m surprised they haven’t already…

  23. “The point is the blogging about it in a quasi-rant post accomplishes nothing.” -LR

    What exactly is the point of your own endless ranting then? You seem to be complaining more than anyone. I’m not sure if that’s truly ironic or just blindly hypocritical, but either way you don’t seem to be picking up on it.

    I may go for days or weeks without seeing something that applies specifically to my goals or interests on Lucky’s blog, and I’ll probably never visit many of the cities Lucky visits, let alone the specific hotels, but I see no reason to take offense at that.

    Many of the people who may benefit from Lucky’s review of a particular hotel have probably never seen or heard of this blog. Maybe they’ll bump into it through an internet search. Maybe that one hotel’s entry is all they’ll ever read. But for them it could give insight that may be very useful for their specific situation.

    Even in my case, where I’m unlikely to ever stay at this particular hotel, this discussion has alerted me to a common complaint about a brand I don’t have much first hand experience with. I’m not all that familiar with W hotels, but thanks to Lucky’s blog I know that I should be careful selecting them if I’m traveling with anyone besides an intimate lover or significant other. Yes, some of us actually find privacy an important consideration when choosing a hotel.

    I didn’t used to think the shower itself was much of a consideration in the past, but these days it’s becoming more and more of an issue. Thanks to enclosed building methods with little or no outside ventilation it can be difficult to prevent excess humidity. Over time a consistently humid room can become “funky” and gross as carpets and upholstery begin to absorb the moisture. Chain hotels often react to this condition by applying harsh disinfectants and industrial fragrances, which may work to some degree on a tiled bathroom, but which may not work so well on the porous surfaces and spongy fillers found in the rest of the room.

    Like Lucky I cannot understand why some hotels are working so hard to bring everything that used to be contained out into the open. Sometimes it’s nice to have partitions that help divide the wet and private stuff from the dry and public stuff. Just my two centavos.

  24. Lucky you are surely not “off base.” The shower is a stupid design. It boggles my mind that some high-paid corporate executive probably approved the design. So much for college education…

  25. Quite enjoying the banter back and forth, though let me just address one thing that LR is saying, as he doesn’t think this post is “useful.”

    LR, first of all I appreciate/respect your opinion and that you’re reading. Let me share my approach to blogging. I’m not trying to fill any specific agenda or only make posts that are “useful.” I take a bit of a different approach to blogging where I have more of a stream of consciousness approach, and I just share what’s on my mind as far as travel goes. I write by my own standards, and if people find it interesting I’m honored. If they don’t I understand that as well, as I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

    But I think one of the things that makes my blog a bit different than many others is that I’m not just trying to share “useful” information (though I try to do that as well). I also like to share the funnier/more interesting parts of travel, and often those are my most popular posts.

    I’ve written about running through Changi Airport in Qantas pajamas, arguing about time travel with a US Airways agent, and getting scammed in Kuala Lumpur by a lady and her sister. Those were some of my more popular posts, yet they had zero usefulness.

    Admittedly 99.9% of my reviews aren’t useful to most, since the chances of someone going to the same exact destination as me under the same circumstances are rare. Yet I still post trip reports all the time for a variety of reasons, based on reader feedback:
    a) Because some readers are actually visiting those destinations.
    b) Because due to work/family obligations people aren’t able to travel much, so they like to “go alone for the ride.”
    c) Because it helps people make “big picture” decisions about which programs to be loyal to and where to rack up miles.

    Ultimately I suspect this post will be useful to some, interesting to others, and useless to others — just like all my posts!

    Anyway, thanks for reading…

  26. Keep the stories coming Lucky! You are one of the few bloggers I actually enjoy reading from on a regular basis. Your humor really comes through and is a welcome change from the credit card pushing “all is good” world of other bloggers.

    Thanks for the laughs!

  27. I agree 100%, Lucky. Bad shower design seems to be the norm at about 50% of expensive Western chains. So glad you’re pointing this out. In fact, an FTer really ought to start a hotel room design consulting firm and do studies among FTers to find common design flaws and favorite features.

    For those that think it’s unlikely that a person would ever stay at the W SCL, I have an exciting new invention to introduce to you: Google!

  28. Definitely keep posting things like this. It may not be useful to many, but it is entertaining and if someone happens to google about the W in Santiago they will likely run across entries like this that will actually be useful to them.

  29. This also happens in Europe hotels – last week I was at the FRA Hilton and no door and the water flooded the bathroom floor and made a meaga mess. Surely Housekeeping must get upset with it.

  30. Lucky, thanks for always paying attention to the details and sharing them with us. Though I love innovative visual design, I definitely value functional design far more like you do, and indeed showers are an integral feature of a hotel room stay. Alas, many interior design decisions are conjured up by artsy folks and rendered in 3D virtually, without being tested in real-life. In the case of open showers, shower head spray pattern relative to the minimal enclosure, drainage, and exhaust are all things that they either didn’t consider or with which they lacked experience implementing. I’m overseeing bathroom remodels at my parents’ house, done by an experienced designer and contractor, and I’ve been amazed how even they don’t anticipate some of the problems we’ve found after the rooms are done.

    While I only know you through your writing, I appreciate that you come across as wanting to share your observations with us in the hope that they are useful or entertaining, or to engage us in conversation because you’re interested in our opinions–just as would occur with a friend. I’ve never thought your rants were to get something back out of selfishness or simply a desire to “hear yourself speak.” Please continue to be you.

    Safe travels,

  31. @Cranky Scott: That’s exactly what I was thinking as well. As much as any of us customers may complain about these silly designs it’s the cleaning staff who really suffer as a result. All the extra work that they have to employ to make up for the hotel’s own design flaws seems rather pointless to me. I’m not sure if these issues are being missed entirely by the architect or if some of it is being modified by the builder but somewhere along the way this train is running off course. Now, don’t get me wrong, having a few rooms with kooky designs may be fun if that’s what you’re into. Maybe even as much as half the hotel could have funky designs, but it should remain an option, just like King vs. Double. What are you supposed to do if you’re traveling with a non-intimate friend or family member? It’s like everyone gets stuck with the honeymoon suite, even when it’s entirely inappropriate.

  32. At least it didn’t have 220 volt wiring attached directly to the showerhead to provide the hot water, as in much of Latin America. Or did it? Those always make me a little bit nervous…

  33. @LR: Five things:

    “Is this serious?! All of this complaining is ridiculous… No one cares about the shower.”

    #1) I do. And from the comments, others do as well.

    “Your blog is usually spot on because it’s so helpful.”

    #2) Allow me to apologize on behalf of Lucky for failing to consistently post content that caters to you.

    “The point is the blogging about it in a quasi-rant post accomplishes nothing.”

    #3) It was informative. Therefore, it accomplished something. Also, Lucky is complaining (expressing dissatisfaction), you are ranting (hostile tone, and you shouted, comment 19). Of course, you apologized, which is good of you. (“I apologize for the tone of my prior post.”)

    “Nor should it be about the poor design of the hotel shower.”

    #4) And yet, that’s precisely the subject of this post.

    #5) Perhaps you should be more gracious and appreciative. Some may find it off-putting seeing you complain about free content that you’ve found to be ‘so helpful’.

  34. Those shower heads with electrical current connections are informally known as “suicide showerheads.” A friend of mine encountered one in Mexico, but fortunately only got a tingle from the electrical leakage.

    I’m irritated enough at toilet rooms and showers with windows into the rest of the room, and would be really mad if there were no separation at all. Unfortunately, that seems to be the style these days.

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