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We've had our fair share of Japanese hotel adventures, though we never quite tire of hearing about the country's unique taste in budget accommodations. Starting at around $38/night, these places are ideal if you have little cash to spare but need more than just a washing machine-sized capsule.
RocketNews has put together a handy list of the best amenities offered at Japanese budget hotels, explaining in 26 concise bullet points all the useful little extras that get thrown in, like free internet, free toiletries, free water, hand-written notes from housekeepers, pillow menus, origami souvenirs, and air purifiers. Oh yeah, and high-tech toilets.
Which got us thinking...where in the US can we find similar types of amenities?
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Ah, Greenwich, Connecticut, home to finance and insurance companies plus blonde monied madams (both young and old) sporting twin-sets and driving fast cars. Corporate viking GE is in nearby Fairfield, and they also come to play here. So, it's fitting that an old HoJo hotel was torn down to make way for the new J House opened last month care of Brenwood Hospitality Group. We drove our beat-up minivan to the hotel, handed it to the valet with nary a blink, and went inside for a look.
Well, it's official. The must-have amenity for luxury hotels is clearly the The TOTO Neorest Washlet. Yup, we're talking about a toilet.
But it's also the crowning glory of the Ebony Suite at The May Fair Hotel in London.
We've already dished on the Ebony Suite's lit-up bathtub which was also designed by TOTO but now the May Fair has issued a press release describing the mechanics of their technologically advanced loo:
Worth approximately £10,000, the TOTO Neorest Washlet is the most advanced lavatory around. Its futuristic design features a heated seat, integrated bidet with directional warm jets of water, temperature and water massage function, dryer and automatic deodorizer – all operated via a wall-mounted remote control panel.
Bathroom Tuesdays / Peninsula Hotels / Beverly Hills Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Toilets / Hotel Bathrooms / → All Tags
For today's second edition of Bathroom Tuesdays (what can we say? We see a LOT of hotel bathrooms), we're looking at the toilet bowls of the rich and famous. That's because we spied one of these amazing high-tech loos in the Pink Suite of the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel--a Neorest 500.
Yup, it's the same kind of water wizardry that we witnessed at the renovated Hotel Bel-Air where the toilet seat rises to greet you and you can choose several, um, cleansing options via remote control.
However, not all of the hotel's newly redone signature suites had the latest model. We spied at least one older edition of a Toto Washlet but it still had all the buttons and gadgetry of the Neorest, just a little fussier design.
Oddly enough, these toilets cost upwards of $3,000 which is just half the amount of one night in the Pink Suite....
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This might make you think twice about ever answering the phone in your hotel room again. A woman staying in a Holiday Inn Express near Baltimore was the victim of a prank caller who, citing a "gas leak," successfully tricked her into using a toilet bowl lid to trigger the sprinkler system, which then caused her room, as well as a few others, to flood.
According to WBAL, firefighters responded to the call on Friday night, assuming there must have been some emergency. Instead, all they found was a woman in a wet hotel room sheepishly holding a toilet bowl lid.
Meanwhile, the prank caller, who called the hotel a few hours later to claim responsibility, is part of a nationwide prankster network that apparently likes to target places like hotels and fast food restaurants. Though we like to believe our readers are too smart to ever fall for a stunt like this, we feel this might be a good time to state the obvious: always check with the Front Desk anytime someone claiming to work for the hotel shows up at your door or starts calling you. Better yet, just don't answer the phone at all—that's what we have cell phones for.
Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Toilets / Luxury Hotels / Dorchester Collection / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
Inside of all the guestrooms, not just the fancy suites, are the finest thrones you could hope for--Neorest 500 automatic toilets, complete with remote controls. Do you hear bells ringing? We do!
While it's not as advanced as the cans at the Peninsula Tokyo, the Neorest still rises to greet you (see video below) and is heated at all times. Plus, when you're done you can look at the remote for all sorts of other "activities" to do.
One of the reasons we love luxury hotels so much is that we get to live in the lap of luxury for a little bit and the Hotel Bel-Air is certainly giving its guests that chance with their new bathrooms. Not only are there La Prairie amenities but in addition to a shower, there's a deep soaking tub with a TV appropriately positioned above. Heaven.
But if you plan on taking the Neorest home with you, it will cost upwards of $3,000 and no, the hotel does not sell it in its boutique store.
We noticed that having a phone right next to the toilet has become standard at a number of hotels, which made us wonder: Does anyone actually use those telephones? On the one hand, we guess they can be, um, convenient. But on the other hand, they are probably infested with germs and the thought of touching one gives us the heebie-jeebies.
Also, toilet telephones always have cords—maybe so there's no danger of them falling in the bowl? So it's not like you can take the phone into other rooms. And we've previously declared corded phones one of the most useless hotel amenities.
What's up with the lynched roll of toilet paper at this hotel? Well, it's in the bathroom of one of the few rooms at Chicago's newest little hotel plaything, Longman & Eagle. L&E isn't your typical hotel, as you can probably tell just from this roll of TP; it's of the restaurant and rooms concept, where the anchor of the property is really a (Michelin-starred!) restaurant and bar, with a topper bonus of rooms for let.
This hotel isn't downtown, nor is it near Lincoln Park, Michigan Avenue or any other tourist hotspot. It's actually out in the hipster-rific neighborhood Logan Square, where the sidewalk scene is more locals walking dogs or locking up their fixies. It's also conveniently across the street from an L Blue Line stop to O'Hare Airport, and thus we found ourselves staying for one night recently before flying out.
It's a curious place, one which will breed at least a few wannabes in other US cities, despite this kinda annoying toilet paper holder (which winds up when you unroll some paper and then maniacally unwinds). We'll take you inside and all around the rooms and the food early next week. Stay tuned!
Ashton Kutcher grossed out America when he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno recently and went all TMI, saying that he enjoyed peeing in his backyard, but we're more interested in another one of his bathroom habits. Demi Moore's hubby revealed that he and the Mrs. were inspired by a Japanese hotel lavatory.
He didn't name the hotel, but its cool high-tech toilet prompted the Kutcher clan to buy one, albeit one not as fancy, for their home. Kutcher said the Japanese john does so much, "It’ll pick up the phone for you." "The seat goes up and down, it knows that you're there," he said. "It's like magical. I'm not kidding—it says, 'Thank you,' after you go."
Are you ready for super special Guess the Hotel? We're coming at you from half the world away with this one! Oopsthat's a hint right there! Well, suffice it to say that this is the control panel for a hotel room toilet, only one piece of the technology puzzle for this hotel, much of which is patented by them.
Do you think you know the hotel already? Here's a few more clues to help:
· Their toiletries are an exclusive line made by the grandson of winemaker Robert Mondavi.
· Someday hopefully soon, guests will have the option of making their arrival by helicopter.
· Other in-room technology includes panels displaying the outside temperature and wind speed, and even the room's humidity.
· Although relatively new on the scene, this hotel has quickly become the one to which all the others compare themselves
Only the best will get this one! Drop your best guesses in the comments below!
Hotel Bathrooms / OpenThread / Punta Cana Hotels / Dominican Republic Hotels / Hotel Toilets / → All Tags
You know how it is when you check into a hotel and you're so tired, so desperate to just have a private place to lay down and relax? You do a quick little look around the room and the bathroom, and perhaps there's a couple cute little flowers placed on the freshly folded towels, but you never expect flowers to also be floating in the toilet, do you?
This is something we encountered for the first time ever last week, at the Puntacana Resort in the Dominican Republic. We lifted up the toilet lid and saw something in the toilet bowl, but happily they were only the little pink flowers you see pictured above. A cute gesture...or is it?
Have you ever been greeted by flowers in the hotel room's toilet? What hotel had them? Perhaps it's just an island thing, but we're curious to see just how widespread this practice is, and if it grosses out anyone else. Let us know in the comments!
Full Disclosure: We were in the DR thanks to Jetblue and the Dominican Republic Board of Tourism. But rest assured that we worked more than swam, and all views expressed here are our own.
Are you fascinated by Japanese toilets such as this one? Do you want one for your own personal use? It's ok, there's no shame in admitting that!
At the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance, Calif., where we stayed back in December, they are giving away one of these HI-3001 WT "Feel Fresh" Bidet n' Wash Hygiene Systems to a lucky Facebook fan. The toilet, which retails for about $600, features a push button control panel, warm water wash, twin spray nozzles, and comfortable heated seat. (Hee hee.)
All you have to do is become a fan of the hotel on Facebook and you are automatically entered in the contest. No purchase is necessary and the winner will be chosen at random. The contest runs from now until 8pm on April 15 (Tax Day!) so become a fan now. Doesn't your tush deserve the very best?
We'll have more non-toilet related news from the Miyako Hybrid Hotel next week so stay tuned!