USA Today: Want to take a long hot bath the next time you're on the road? Good luck finding a tub.
Bathtubs are disappearing from many hotels across the USA, going the way of a mint on the pillow, as chains use the freed-up space to install ever more luxurious showers.
Holiday Inn has gone from roughly 95% of its newly built hotels having tubs a decade ago to only 55% of new structures featuring them now. Marriott plans for 75% of the chain's rooms to have showers only. And Hotel Indigo, a 6-year-old upscale chain, never had tubs, except perhaps in suites.
The reason for the phaseout: Corporate trekkers don't have time for a long soak, and many travelers simply prefer showers, hotel officials say. "Most business people are on the run and take a quick shower," says Bill Barrie, senior vice president of design and project management for Marriott, who says the industry has been shifting from tubs to showers over the last three to five years. "There's no time for baths."
"Plus," Barrie says, "the shower experience now can be pretty dramatic."
Marriott is using frameless glass shower enclosures and switching to doors that slide outside the bathroom wall to create more space. Holiday Inn offers Bath & Body Works products, curved shower rods and curtains that let in more light. Hotel Indigo touts its glass doors and handheld shower heads.
"Certainly when you do a glass-enclosed shower vs. a traditional shower tub combination … you'll feel you're in a more spacious environment," says Mary Dogan, Hotel Indigo's director of brand management in the Americas. Showers also make bathrooms look more clean and modern, she says. "Our customers prefer or appreciate the spa-inspired walk-in showers."
Still, some hotels want to provide a bit of both.
Embassy Suites found in a 2008 survey that a majority of travelers take a shower rather than a bath when on the road for work, but a tub or bath/shower combination is the first choice for vacations, especially when traveling with young children.
So there are tubs in the suites with two queen-size beds, which are popular with families, while the "King Suites," often used by corporate trekkers, feature walk-in showers, says John Lee, vice president of brand marketing at Embassy Suites Hotels.