In conversation with: Toni ElKadi on maximising the hotel bathroom experience

With the bathroom playing an increasingly important role when it comes
to selecting a hotel, a high-quality, contemporary design is key. Toni ElKadi, Head of Global Project Business Duravit, spoke to us about upgrading the hotel experience, while looking at how to maximise customer satisfaction via design…

Duravit D Neo range in Hotel Fritz

Whether in a three-star city hotel or a five-star luxury resort, comfortable, spacious bathrooms with perfect hygiene solutions are a solid foundation for satisfied hotel guests. With the spotlight firmly focussed on wellness and spa experiences, the pressure is on for the bathroom to deliver. We caught up with Toni Elkadi, who in his role in Global Project Business at Duravit, works with hotels across the globe, to discuss all things bathroom and design.

Hotel Designs: Mr. ElKadi, at Duravit you oversee Global Project Business, part of which involves interfacing with renowned hotel operators from around the world. How important is the bathroom within the interior design of a hotel?

Toni ElKadi: In an era of online booking portals, positive guest reviews are more important than ever for hoteliers. We need to see the bathroom as being a key factor in customer satisfaction and enhancing the quality of the guests’ stay. Guests are more susceptible to the bathroom than other areas of the hotel, no other space is as intimate for the guest as the bathroom.

HD: What are your recommendations to hoteliers for their interior bathroom concept in terms of design and colour? Are there any materials that hoteliers should avoid?

TEK: It’s not about avoiding a specific material, but rather selecting high-quality materials that meet the needs of both the environment and the guest. Rectangular bathroom furniture with open space is recommended for smaller areas, as they can increase the usability of the room. Use authentic, natural colours for furniture. This creates a relaxed environment and helps the guests feel comfortable and can enhance the overall experience of a stay, as the guests enjoy the tranquillity of the bathroom.

Zencha freestanding bath by duravit

Image credit: Duravit

For 5-star hotels and resorts, comfort, design and materials play a decisive role, especially for bathtubs. The innovative DuraSolid is a material with a unique look and feel. Duravit’s freestanding bathtubs such as Zencha, Luv or Cape Cod can be rectangle, round, oval or even square and entice guests to enjoy a unique bathing experience. With its all-encompassing product portfolio, Duravit provides designers and operators with inspiration and a wide variety of design concepts – whether modern, traditional, or contemporary.

HD: Which surfaces are best suited for the sanitary equipment in hotel bathrooms? What makes them suitable for this environment?

TEK: The quality of the product is the deciding factor, in addition to the attention to detail in terms of design. Duravit offers highly developed products made especially for wet and damp environments. As an example, I’d like to mention our innovative matt lacquer surfaces as these are scratch-resistant and are easy to care for. Several coats of a special water-based lacquer are applied by hand, producing a surface of an extraordinary quality with innovative properties. The anti-fingerprint coating makes fingerprints disappear, the surfaces have a pleasant feel, and they are easy to clean.

Duravit Starck collection in guestroom at Palais Wunderlich

Image credit: Duravit / Michael Gregonowits

HD: Cleaning and cleanliness also play a central role in the hotel business – can you elaborate a bit on this?

TEK: Exactly, a further aspect is of course hygiene. The hotel bathroom is a place that needs to guarantee the utmost in cleanliness and hygiene. That’s why the right equipment is essential and why the hygienic qualities of the products need to be considered, such as the Duravit Rimless technology. The open rim design promotes hygiene thanks to a powerful water flow and represents a cost-effective solution for the housekeeping team – the overall cleaning time can be reduced, and efficiency guaranteed.

HD: What role does sustainability play in hotel bathrooms?

TEK: Alongside design, sustainability is naturally a key principle in decision-making. All Duravit furniture is manufactured at our plant in the Black Forest and is PEFC-certified, meaning it is made from wood products from sustainably managed forests. Water consumption is also a key factor. This can also be reduced by the optimum flushing of toilets. The innovative HygieneFlush flushing technology provides a powerful flushing flow. Independent tests show that this new flushing technique optimally cleans the entire inner surface of the toilet. Similarly, the focus of the development of the Duravit faucets is on creating sustainable and durable products. Durable products are characterised by timelessly modern design, high user-friendliness, and intelligent functions. All washbasin faucets are limited to 5 l/min, and the MinusFlow option even reduces this to 3.5 l/min. This can save energy and costs, especially with large projects in the hotel area.

HD: And finally, how can technology in the bathroom enhance the guest experience?

TEK: As the world becomes ever more digital, innovative products that enhance the user’s comfort are finding their way into the bathroom. This is the product of a customer-focused research and development process that combines technology, functionality, and design in a meaningful way. An example of this is the shower toilet.  With shower toilets, hotels can offer their guests a comfortable experience with optimum hygiene – because nothing is as purifying as water. SensoWash is a by-word for contemporary, gentle, and flawless hygiene. The SensoWash Starck shower-toilet is iconic and minimalistic in equal measure. Light is another important topic for designers and operators. With the use of Duravit mirrors, the light atmosphere in the bathroom can be covered for any structural conditions – whether in terms of mood, ambience, experience, design or technology. Finally, sensor basin mixers: touchless faucets offer a hygienic and smart solution for public areas.

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Main image credit: Duravit