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Waheeda Harris

Contributing writer

Waheeda Harris is a freelance journalist who writes about travel, design, culture, cuisine, style and the people who are passionate about what they create.

The 1980s was a decade of excess. Luxury was epitomized by the TV show Dynasty, where Alexis and Krystal had big hair, big jewels and big shoulder pads. And to keep in touch with their gaggle of friends, they had big phones and lots of them, from the town car to the bathroom. Because if you’re that important, you need to be able to be available anywhere, including in a spacious hotel suite.

No matter if you were about to step into the tub after a day of shopping or preparing for an evening out on the town, a guest could easily call room service or across the country to chat with a friend thanks to the bathroom phone with the extra-long cord.

But in the 21stcentury, a bathroom phone is not a luxury amenity. It’s a tired leftover of hotel décor. And certainly, when one is on the throne, it has always been bad etiquette to use the phone unless it’s an emergency.

According to a 2017 article in Express.co.uk, the explanation as to why some hotels keep this archaic germ carrier around was that hotel rating systems still equated four- and five-star luxury with the presence of a bathroom phone. Apparently, this a preference by older guests—but we don’t buy it.

People of all ages and income levels have moved on: give us high thread count sheets, organic bath products, handcrafted chocolates on our pillows—we don’t need or want that icky phone. And as luxury hotels and resorts often have separate floors dedicated to ultra-luxe service or butlers who are ready to serve at the touch of a button, the bathroom phone makes even less sense as something necessary to designate a hotel room being more than ordinary.

Busy daily lives have made a hotel stay a welcome retreat and if we need to be in touch with the front desk, housekeeping or room service, the phone beside the bed provides direct dial buttons that are preferable.

To all those hotels who still think a phone is necessary in the bathroom and near the toilet, please reconsider and remove it. Replace it with an outlet that has a USB port, if you must, so we can charge our mobile phone while we finish our ablutions, keep an eye on our texts and be ready for a selfie.

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