Is our busy world making the sumptuous clawfoot tub a dated hotel amenity?

To many travelers like Alexis Henderson of Maryland, having a beautiful clawfoot bathtub to sink into in their hotel room is one definition of heaven.

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“I love big, deep tubs. If the tub is awesome, I usually make time for a long bath,” says Henderson, who travels the world when vacationing with her husband.

But to others, their idea of luxury is a great shower or a more modern egg-shaped tub.

The lodging industry has for years been responding to our time-pressed societal needs by opening with modern tubs or mostly showers, or eliminating tubs during renovations. That’s why I raised the question of the vintage looking clawfoot tub on social media.

A lively discussion on my Facebook page has ensued over the last 24 hours, revealing that there is still a lot of love left for nostalgic tubs, yet there’s no consensus on what the future bathing routine in a hotel will look like.

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The clawfoot tubs remain in great demand at the luxury property Flemings Mayfair in London (see photo above), Flemings general manager Oliver J.Q. Brown told me during a conversation via Twitter and email.

“We do get requests (for rooms with clawfoot tubs) and whilst we try to accommodate the requests it is not always possible,” he said.


Yet even Flemings is open to change. When the hotel completes its current refurbishment plan, two rooms will receive egg-shaped baths, which are similar to clawfoot tubs in that they are free standing but more modern with a flat bottom. “Taps are nearly always positioned in the centre sharing more comfortable,” he notes.

Give me a shower, unless…

Frequent traveler John Ruda says he’d “definitely take a great shower over a bath.”

But Ruda is also open to new experiences, he said, citing the free standing tub inside a jumbo shower stall at Kimpton’s Palomar Phoenix hotel (see above). It makes “the switch from soaking to showering quite easy and mess free.”

High-tech showers are the way to go

Antje Pfahl, who lives in New Delhi and previously worked for Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton luxury chain, says she prefers a good, hot shower with a big shower head and water jets from different sides – ideally including the back – as well as a steam component.

“That’s luxury for me,” she said.

Travelers hoteliers: Do you prefer a shower, a clawfoot tub or a modern tub? Why?