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Is There Ever A Time When A Peekaboo Bathroom Is Ok?

August 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM | by | ()

The public bathrooms at 25hrs Hotel Bikini Berlin

The 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin hit the headlines last week, not for its funky rooms or its already heaving-with-locals bar, but for its public bathrooms, which are rather more public than intended (at least, we hope so – you know Germans and their toilet obsession). The hotel has floor-to-ceiling windows in the public area bathrooms, and it’s only 10 stories high, meaning that you’re as on display as the animals in the zoo next door while you get down to business. This is the very definition of 'horrendous'.

This is clearly (hopefully?) the nadir of the ghastly peekaboo bathroom trend, but it got us thinking – are they ever ok?

It’s what we wondered during a recent stay at The Hotel (yes, The Hotel) in Brussels. It’s the former Hilton and is a huge tower block perched on a hill overlooking the city center. The views are spectacular, and the renovations of the hotel (The Hotel?) have made the most of this, putting walls of windows center stage, and letting that light and those views flood each and every room.

Yes, the whole of each and every room. Including the bathroom.

In all but the standard rooms at The Hotel, the bathrooms are open, and part of the bedroom – the basins overlook the bed, facing the windows, and the shower and toilet are behind that, sharing one frosted glass door (ie when you’re on the throne, the shower will be open, and vice versa).

The shower also has a peekaboo sliver of glass a few inches wide that overlooks the bedroom, so unless you’re cowering in the corner, any roommate will get flashes of you soaping up. Actual peekaboo, rather than full frontal exposure, but still, it slightly unnerved us. Here's the view from the shower:

Surely, we said to the hotel, something vaguely suggestive like this has no place in a business hotel in the totally square capital of Europe? Surely repressed English people complain? Surely Barack Obama – who’s stayed a couple of times – is far too important to give his Secret Service men a morning flash?

Au contraire, said the hotel. Because The Hotel is mainly a business hotel, most guests travel alone, so they love looking out at the Palais de Justice or the Atomium or the Place du Sablon as they lather up of a morning. (Also, the suites have enclosed bathrooms, so Obama presumably hasn’t encountered this issue.) You know what? Once we’d processed that information, we were fine with the bathroom. (Although it did mean that, after a late night out with friends facing a long walk home, we offered them our couch in a manner that redefined reluctant, and probably would have paid for a second room had they been autistic enough to accept said offer.)

Have we stumbled upon the one time a peekaboo bathroom is ok? And if we can agree that it only works in a business hotel, does this mean we can stop pretending that waking up to a faceful of your roommate doing their ablutions is sexy?

In summary, in case any hotel needs clarification, here is the handy HotelChatter guide to peekaboo bathrooms. A sliver of shower overlooking an awesome view in a single room: ok. A glass walled toilet overlooking a busy street: not ok.

Architects, please design accordingly.

[25hours photo: Metro/Photoshot. The Hotel photo: Julia Buckley for HotelChatter]

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