Sky-high thread counts, private butlers and fancy amenities are all very well, but a decadent hotel bathroom really gets us steamed up. From minimalist designer sanctuaries to luxe safari tubs with wildlife views, these 10 incredible bathrooms are worth a trip in themselves. Lie back and soak it all in.
The Mark, New York City
When your hotel's style bears the signature of Jacques Grange, the French designer whose clients include Karl Lagerfeld and the Princess of Monaco, you know you're in good hands. This swanky Madison Avenue dame is head-to-toe understated Parisian chic. We're talking black-and-white marble with twin basins, deep-soaking tubs and polished nickel fittings by British bathroom maestros Lefroy Brooks. In case you're inclined to linger, they've even installed televisions behind the mirrors.
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
The bathrooms at this towering, hyper-futuristic stay are a cultural experience in themselves thanks to yukata kimonos and truly astounding views of, depending on the room, the Tokyo skyline, Tokyo Bay, the Imperial Gardens and, on a clear day, Mount Fuji. You also get to experience Japan’s world-famous high-tech toilets. That means motion sensors to raise the lid when you walk in, heated seats, multiple-function bidets, touch-free flushing, the works. But what it really comes down to is relaxation thanks to German marble soaking tubs, aromatherapy bath products and Italian showers.
Sextantio Le Grotte, Italy
Mankind might never have moved beyond cave dwelling if their caves had looked like the ones at Sextantio Le Grotte, an utterly charming 18-room stay in southern Italy. Carved out of prehistoric cave dwellings in the town of Matera, the feel is monastic but magical, with freestanding bathtubs lit by flickering candles tucked throughout little nooks in the walls. All of the rooms are different, but bathrooms include everything from showers set in naturally-carved stone recesses to a tub tucked down a set of stairs beside a roaring fire.
Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevada, Mexico
The captivating Spanish Colonial city of San Miguel de Allende is a magnet for artists and nouveau bohemians, and this romantic, art-filled hideaway perfectly nails the spirit of the town. Set in a collection of historic mansions, the bathrooms highlight Mexican handicrafts in the form of hand-painted talevera tiles, copper or silver roll top tubs and local artwork. The wide range of organic, Mexican-made bath products and perks in some like outdoor showers or bathroom terraces make them feel positively spa-like.
Lion Sands River Lodge, Africa
Elephants blowing water onto the young giraffes parading across the horizon. No, this is not the view from your safari jeep, but from the comfort of your free-standing, egg-shaped soaking tub or outdoor rain shower in the sprawling bathrooms of this safari lodge beside the Sabie River. Care to kick it up a notch? Spend a night perched in the romantic Kingston Treehouse above the bush, where open-air showers come stocked with organic Africology bath products.
Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef, Maldives
When you’re in a spot as idyllic as the Maldives, the less time you have to spend indoors the better. That’s why at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef’s overwater bungalows feature outdoor rain showers that let you go au naturel in nature. Take a dip in the reef, then climb up your private ladder onto your deck to rinse off with Forest Essentials Ayurvedic-inspired shampoo, body wash and conditioner. The indoor portion of your bathroom is no slouch either with separate walk-in showers and jetted tubs, all with views of endless blue.
Armani Hotel Milano, Italy
Want designer bath products without running up a massive Sephora bill? Book a stay at the Armani Hotel in Milan. The man himself designed everything in this suave stay on Via Manzoni, from the clothes hangers to the house fragrance. Bathrooms embody his impeccable, thoughtful tailoring, from the luxe textures (marble, stone) to tech amenities like sound systems that connect to your phones/computers alongside luxe hotel musts like rainfall showers and heated towel racks. And afterwards you can wrap yourself in some plush designer duds (in the form of Armani robes).
Estancia Vik José Ignacio, Uruguay
In a hotel that is equal parts art gallery, fashion hang and polo grounds, it’s hard to imagine that the bathrooms could compete for attention. But the ones at the 12-suite Estancia Vik José Ignacio are up to the challenge. They all have deep-soaking tubs, infinity rainshowers and toiletries custom-made for the hotel. However, because each of the 12 suites was created by a different South American artist, the bathroom design is elevated to high art. Take the Daglio Suite, which has a museum-worthy beechwood tub handcarved by a Uruguayan boatmaker with river views that make you feel like you’re floating. Guests love it so much that many have commissioned replicas to be shipped to their homes. Now that’s what we call a souvenir.
Calistoga Ranch, California
This romantic Napa Valley idyll would be a winner for its gorgeous rooms alone: the ultra-private guest lodges sport indoor-outdoor fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows and woodsy settings among oak trees. But the bathrooms are the clincher. Secluded wood-lined shower gardens open to the great outdoors, with dappled sunlight falling on the expansive deck and birdsong as the soundtrack. Add to that jetted tubs and bay laurel-eucalyptus bath products and you’ve got a spa-like experience without even leaving your room. If you do, however, you can take a bath of a different kind – this time in the mud or mineral baths that made Calistoga famous.
There’s a steamy sexiness to the bathrooms at the Viceroy Anguilla, thanks to it-designer Kelly Wearstler. Oversized walk-in showers can accommodate, ahem, more than one. Deep soaking tubs with sea sponges and fragrant bath products have see-through screens that peek into the bedrooms. And the design mimics the Caribbean swagger of the bedrooms, where driftwood light fixtures mix with silver travertine marble floors. And you’d be hard-pressed to find more flattering lighting, with the island sun casting a soft glow on all that marble and chrome.