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When It Comes To Wellness Design, Don’t Overlook The Bathroom

High-tech bidet seats have become a way for hoteliers to attract guests who are focused on wellness and looking for a luxury spa-like experience in the bathroom

In the hospitality industry, the wellness trend is more important than ever. Guests are living healthier lifestyles, and they expect to maintain those habits when they travel. What started with gyms and smoothie bars has evolved into group fitness classes, aromatherapy and air purification systems.

Property owners have recently shifted their focus in wellness design to the bathroom. The quality of the bathroom experience can leave a strong impression on a guest, and rather than consider the space as purely functional, hoteliers have looked to create a luxury, spa-like environment across their rooms and suites.

Among those new luxuries has been the rise of the electronic bidet seat. A bathroom staple in Japan since the 1980s, U.S. hotels have started to embrace this personal cleansing system as the new standard for hygiene, comfort and personalization. It is a shift that TOTO — the company that originated the WASHLET bidet system and made it a household name in Japan — has helped facilitate. 

“Improving people’s lives is what inspires every TOTO innovation," TOTO USA President of Operations and E-commerce Bill Strang said. “The WASHLET uses pure, clean water, and a bunch of innovative technology, to make you cleaner and more refreshed than you ever felt after a bathroom break.”

Japan’s high-tech bidet seats have amassed a growing fan base in the U.S. in recent years for their collection of high-end features. In addition to heated seats, a bidet function and dryer, some models boast an air-purifying system and lids that open and close automatically. They also feature adjustable water pressure and temperature, as well as a self-cleaning bidet wand. Hotel owners are finding that bidet seats are easy to install as they replace existing toilet seats. 

All these amenities offer not only an improved level of cleanliness but also enhanced relaxation, Strang said.

As technology and wellness features are being more readily incorporated into bathroom design, especially in luxury and boutique hotels, TOTO’s NEOREST Intelligent Toilets take wellness and pampering to a new level of luxury. These high-tech toilets with the integrated WASHLET personal cleansing system are not only beautiful but also intelligent and intuitive. Their technologically advanced cleansing technologies help keep the bowl pristine for months at a time. 

There is also a sustainability element to installing a bidet seat. They virtually eliminate the need for toilet paper, and TOTO products feature EWATER+, an eco-friendly, electrolyzed water mist that keeps the bowl cleaner, reducing the need for harsh cleaning chemicals. Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year, and bathroom bidet seats could save 15 million trees annually, Scientific American reports

Hotels that offer high-tech bidet seats signal to wellness- and sustainability-minded guests that the property is helping conserve resources.

In Japan, TOTO first made inroads with its WASHLET by selling the product to luxury golf resorts, capitalizing on traveling business professionals. The trend later expanded to other hospitality locations and, eventually, homes. Today, about 76% of households in Japan have a bidet seat.

When TOTO first brought its WASHLET to the U.S. in the 1990s, it received a lukewarm reaction. Questions swirled about the cleanliness of the bidet wand, while in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, bidets were commonplace.

TOTO’s WASHLET wand sanitizes itself before and after each use with electrolyzed water

Changing opinions on wellness have made the U.S. more open to electronic bidet seats as more people look for ways to improve their health and comfort. TOTO’s WASHLET sales in the U.S. have consequently grown by 20% annually.

Today, more luxury and boutique hotels are capitalizing on the wellness and technology trends, signaling to their diverse guests that they will have a unique spa-like experience in their bathrooms. Celebrities have also popularized NEOREST and WASHLET as the ultimate luxury items. Actor Adrian Grenier recently installed a $10K TOTO NEOREST in his Brooklyn fixer-upper.

In luxury and boutique hotels across the U.S., smart toilets are also being introduced to cater to their international clientele who seek bidet seat features. For example, at a hotel in New York City, 149 guest rooms feature TOTO WASHLETS. The Japanese-owned boutique hotel, which charges $299/night for a room, upgraded to smart toilets to make its high proportion of Japanese visitors feel more at home. 

The WASHLET offers five warm-water rinsing modes, warm air dryers, adjustable cleansing wands, heated seats, automatic air purifiers and wireless remote controls, USA Today reports.

Today, high-tech bidet seats are operated by remote control

Other hotels across the country in cities such as Las Vegas, Seattle, New York, Miami and Beverly Hills have also installed high-tech bidet seats. They are even being installed in unexpected places like Davenport, Iowa, and Boulder, Colorado. 

In the Greater Bay Area, from downtown San Francisco to Palo Alto and the Napa Wine Country, hotels have embraced smart toilets to bring the ultimate in luxury and innovation to their guests. For example, a high-end boutique hotel in Palo Alto designed to cater to Silicon Valley’s demanding global travelers features TOTO WASHLETS in all 23 rooms and suites, which have a $700/night room rate. 

The impact of smart toilets has also been felt on social media. Online review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor empower guests to share with others how the smart toilet experience surprised and delighted them, enhancing the bathroom experience throughout their hotel stay.

High-tech bidet seats have also gained popularity in offices as a way to focus on employee wellness, a new strategy for attracting and retaining talent.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and TOTO. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.