Thoughts on hotel bathrooms

You’ll be pleased to hear this wasn’t written from a hotel bathroom.

I’ve noticed a recent trend in hotel bathrooms and I just feel like I really need to talk about it because I’m getting quite concerned that nobody else seems to be bothered by it.

My issue is this thing where hotel bathroom walls are being partially, mostly or entirely replaced by glass.

Who is responsible for this bright idea? And, more importantly, has someone taken them outside and had a stern word with them? It occurred to me the other day that most of the hotels I’ve stayed in recently have had some sort of glass element to the bathroom.

[In case you’re not quite sure what I mean, this is what I mean]

Pictured is the Holiday Inn in Queenstown which was a) pretty darn expensive for a Holiday Inn and, more to the point, b) a prime example of a useless shower window. Why is is there? What purpose does it serve?

There was the hotel in Paris where the whole wall between the shower and the bedroom was glass, and you could press a button to change the glass from frosted to unfrosted. Who is overly interested in having that unfrosted – even when travelling alone – such that this was made into a particular feature of the room? This was a Novotel, so it’s not like it’s an especially fancy or trendy place. I’d have preferred a decent work desk, to be honest.

Then there was the hotel in Kuala Lumpur with a tiny hatch window between the bathroom and the main room. Coo-ee! Why, Intercontinental?? What is occurring to me whilst I’m taking a shower that’s so important that I need to open a little portal between the bathroom and the bedroom just so I can inform my travelling companion about it?

And the piece de resistance was the apart-hotel we stayed in in Melbourne that not only had a fully glassed in shower (facing into the living room; I hope you didn’t invite any guests over) but also had a lightly frosted window right next to the loo – leading into the bedroom. In fact, the head of the bed was looking directly at it. What kind of an antisocial idea is this?!*

Of course, none of these bathrooms with glass components are in the least bit soundproof, either.

[Our bathroom at Qunci Villas in Lombok had no roof and still managed to offer more privacy than all 3 bathrooms mentioned previously]

So why do hotels do this? My first theory is that they’re trying to enable more light to flow into the bathroom, since they hardly ever have windows of their own. However I have never found that to be a benefit. The light that does manage to filter through is never enough, so you’ll need to put the light on anyway. Then light will flood from the bathroom to the main room, disturbing whoever is sleeping. Then we have the silhouettes. And I’ll take privacy over light any day.

Could it be cost? Perhaps it’s cheaper to put up glass walls than real ones. But this trend isn’t just restricted to cheaper hotels. And what excuse does my most recent hotel have, where they have interrupted a perfectly good wall with a stupid window?

Just please don’t try and tell me it’s a design feature, or I might cry.

Is it too much to ask for a bit of privacy in a hotel bathroom? Where has this glass trend come from and am I missing something?


*Some reviews on Tripadvisor or similar called out this particular window situation and noted their unhappiness about it. The hotel management’s response was that this feature was only found in double apartments, therefore they assumed that people sharing a double bed would be fine with it. I’m sorry, but since when did sharing a bed with someone mean you don’t mind watching them go to the loo?? I am categorically NOT ok with this.

For your hotel problems Pinterest board:

I have a big problem with hotel bathrooms. I'm wondering if anyone else has the same issue as me??



  1. 18th January 2018 / 21:44

    Yes, I was very glad to read that you weren’t writing this from a hotel bathroom. LOL.

    I haven’t stayed in a hotel with a window between the bathroom and bedroom yet (what?! Who wants to watch someone else on the loo?), but the Ibis hotel we stayed at for New Year had a sliding door to the bathroom, thankfully not made of glass, but it was not sound proof AT ALL! I mean, it didn’t even properly “close” as such, just slid across the gap. There are some things people just don’t need to hear no matter how intimate they are!

  2. 18th January 2018 / 22:34

    I have not experienced this, and there are different levels of OK I am with it depending on who I’m travelling with. Even if I was with my boyfriend, we don’t need to watch each other go to the toilet. The assumption that people sharing a room would be ok with it is weird. I’ve travelled with my Mum a few times and shared a room; we don’t need to see each other shower or use the toilet. I’ve travelled with male friends who I’ve shared rooms with, and we definitely don’t need to see either of those things. What’s wrong with privacy?!

  3. 19th January 2018 / 02:01

    I stayed at a hotel in Chicago that had a glass wall from the shower to the bathroom (and luckily a curtain, but still, so weird) and I thought it was because it was a trendy place. Nope, this is not something I’m interested in! I also hate when there is a pocket door that doesn’t latch for the bathroom because again, sound escapes, and just… some things need to just stay in the bathroom…

  4. Laura
    19th January 2018 / 03:58

    I’m so pleased that I’m not the only person who is fed up of checking into a hotel room, only to find that solid walls are apparently an optional extra that I didn’t ask or pay for. I’ve experienced varying degrees of terrible glass dividers between bathrooms/toilets and bedroom areas in hotels. I usually travel with a friend, who, like all my friends and my boyfriend, I’m happy to share a double bed with, but don’t ever need to see them or their sillouette on the toilet!!

    The worst was many years ago, when as a teenager I shared a hotel room with my parents(!). There was a blind made of twigs that could be rolled up to reveal the entire bathroom! Even when in its ‘down’ position it offers none of the same barrier qualities as a wall!

    I think that hotel designers believe it’s a ‘romantic’ feature, much like a claw foot bath IN the bedroom, not even in the bathroom at all! The horror.

  5. 19th January 2018 / 08:05

    Oh, wow, I have not experienced this hotel trend, but I would freak out if the bathroom had a glass door. Nobody wants to see that!

  6. 21st January 2018 / 19:12

    Oh my goodness, yes! This bothers me so much too!! We found in Asia it was really common in high end hotels – they either had no walls (the bathrooms were wide open in the bedroom or they had glass walls that were either completely see through or lightly frosted. I like my privacy (even when it’s just Jesse!) and my shower time is me time so it totally irks me.

    In Hawaii we didn’t have the problem except for one place where they had a closed in bathroom but the door was lightly frosted glass. So weird! We even looked at a few houses here where their ensuites were open (with half walls) to the bedroom so it must be a trend thing.

  7. 22nd January 2018 / 00:40

    bhahahaha this is hilarious and so true! I noticed that for the first time like 6-7 years ago when I went on a trip to Boston and the hotel shower was just surrounded by a glass panel, like whaaat? awkward

  8. 22nd January 2018 / 08:25

    I just died from laughter, but seriously!!! The Ritz Carlton Shanghai Pudong (calling them out!) had a similar element around the fantastic bathtub. Why do I need glass around the tub so everyone in the room has to see me relaxing? It was so strange. The Ritz Carlton Los Angeles has opaque glass that is curiously not serving a purpose either. Does nothing demand privacy anymore??

  9. 22nd January 2018 / 21:19

    Oh we stayed in a place like this in Melbourne, and it was so annoying. The bathroom had a glass sliding door that didn’t lock or even properly shut – sharing in a room of 3 just made bathroom time weird…..

    We did stay at a place on the Gold Coast for our anniversary once that had a giant window instead of a wall in the bathroom – so that you could look out over the balcony and see the sea. Given you were so high up, privacy wasn’t much of an issue, but it would be awkward if another high rise popped up in front of it, haha! And thankfully the toilet was in a separate windowless room with a door!

    Hope that you are having a nice start to your week and you had a good weekend! We had a quiet one here.

    Away From The Blue Blog

  10. 23rd January 2018 / 08:05

    I’m not okay with it either!!!

    When we attended my company’s Christmas party out of town, I brought my sister so she could watch my youngest in the hotel room while hubby and I went out. The door to the bathroom was one of those barn-style sliding doors…. made of frosted glass. So there was no “seal” closing of the door; there were gaps on either side, and ALL sounds made it through as well as the light from the bathroom. PLUS it had a motion sensor light switch!!! SO in the middle of the night, you’d be blinded by sudden light and then have to deal with an infant who had been roused from a deep sleep.

    It was a nice hotel, too, so it was rather frustrating.

  11. 23rd January 2018 / 09:31

    I, just, no. I am not ok with this either – and certainly don’t understand it, especially in twin rooms. Especially as if you’re getting a twin, you’re just going to be friends or family so you *definitely* don’t want to share all the noises…

  12. 23rd January 2018 / 09:38

    This had me laughing out loud and now that you mention it, I can think of heaps of hotel bathrooms I’ve stayed in with glass walls or as was the case where we stayed in Bali, no wall but a screen instead! Let’s just say if you didn’t know your travel companion intimately when you started your holiday, you definitely would by the end!

  13. 23rd January 2018 / 20:01

    HAHAHA It’s all about design aesthetics now… Not about who hears you take a poop!! HEHE

  14. 29th January 2018 / 14:47

    We stayed in a hotel in China once where one entire wall of the bathroom, facing into the room, was a clear window, but on the inside of the bathroom, there was a blind that you could lift and lower as desired. Still….why? I thought the whole point of a bathroom was to have walls.

  15. 4th March 2018 / 03:00

    I’m not a fan of the glass wall bathrooms either. I think they are ridiculous. My guess is that they are trying to make the whole hotel room (including the bathroom) appear larger. I don’t know. I do like the outdoor bathroom you had in Lombok, though. That looks nice. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Just so you know, I reply to comments via email so we can continue the conversation. Catch you in your inbox!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *