top of page
  • Timo Kiviluoma

Hotel bathrooms: Nordic hotel guests expect logical functionality, cleanliness, and sufficient space

You can immediately see the hotel's level, age, and level of maintenance from the hotel's bathroom. Cultural factors are also revealed during use, e.g., the operating logic of faucets.

I asked my Nordic followers what they expect from hotel bathrooms and what they would like to have in the bathroom. The respondents are middle-aged ordinary men and women who stay in middle-class hotels or better.

Hotel bathroom at Solo Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, Lahti


1. Functionality. Nordics value reasonable functionality. Where to hang the towel and spread the things, Is there water everywhere after the shower, Does the floor and surfaces dry nicely.

"It's the worst thing when the floor is totally wet and there are no tools to dry it, and then the socks get wet."

"There's nothing more annoying than having to put a make-up bag on the lid of the toilet or trying to balance it on the edge of the sink - where it falls, however, and that 40 euro powder you just bought at the airport breaks down."

"Once in Chicago, I showered with cold water for a week when I couldn't figure out how to get warm water from the tap."

Hotel bathroom at Tallink Hotel Riga

2. Dimensioning. Long and plus-sized men and women find tight spaces oppressive. This is, of course, a problem in old buildings. When a hotel is completely renovated, the bathrooms are often rebuilt from scratch and become modern and beautiful. However, the space is usually not increased, and, for example, you have to move very carefully in the shower, or the door openings are narrow compared to the current dimensions.

"The shower door must be wide enough. I don't like those bathrooms with fogged glass in the room; I'm shy."

"The bathroom mirror was made for tall people - I could see my forehead and the top of my head."

Hotel bathroom at Hotel U14 Helsinki

3. Gear. In addition to the fixed furniture in the bathroom, the Nordic traveler expects to find more than just hand soap in a better hotel.

"Why are there no make-up removers in the shampoo-soap packages in hotel rooms? In addition to the traditional shampoo and body cream, you can sometimes find shaving supplies and a shoe polish set, but never make-up remover, wipes, or even tampons."

"90% of hotel bathrooms lack a bidet shower next to the toilet seat. It's frustrating to use a dental cup/glass or a 0.5 l water bottle for intimate washing."

A bathroom with a view.

4. Lighting. Since bathrooms are usually windowless rooms, compromises in lighting design make the bathroom look either sterile or dim. Multipoint lighting and indirect lighting work best. But if a window exists, even a tiny bathroom feels more extensive and more spacious.

"In the hospital lighting, I just look terrible. Even after a long make-up operation, I'm not satisfied, but luckily, outside the bathroom, I look more normal."

Hotel bathroom with proper lighting.

5. Cleaning. The bathroom is a severe test for hotel cleanliness. While sitting on the toilet seat, there is time to look at the toilet from a lower angle. Dust, hair, stains, etc., are evident in bright lighting.

"I don't want to think in a hotel room about what the previous guest of the hotel room was like and what he has done. Especially in the bathroom."

Hotel bathrooms are challenging to photograph; usually there is very little light, and reflections come from all directions. The pictures in this story are from bathrooms I liked, from Finland and the world.


bottom of page