Pooping In Public, The Newest Hotel Trend

open plan bathroom hotel
Bentley Smith, Flickr

They say traveling together will either bring you closer together or destroy your relationship, and the latest hotel design movement is certainly putting that concept to the test.

According to The Guardian, open-plan bathrooms are a growing trend in luxury hotels. Instead of hiding in a separate room, showers, baths and even toilets are now being placed right inside the bedroom. Occasionally, you’ll find walls separating the wet areas from the bedroom — although see-through glass does little to shield you from the eyes of your travel companion.A few hotels that have embraced this concept include the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam, the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel and the Ecclestone Square Hotel in London (though at least here you can flip a switch to turn the glass walls opaque).

While some couples might get a kick out of the less-than-private baths or showers, the placement of the toilet leaves a lot to be desired. After all, no matter how close you are with your partner, do you really want to be in on each other’s bowel movements? And what exactly do you do if you’re traveling with a relative, friend or business partner?

Making matters worse is the fact that some of these open-plan bathrooms are not just “open” to your roommate, but also to the public. At The Standard Hotel in New York, one suite features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall in the bathroom that faces out onto the street. And yes, people are watching. One hotel specialist told The Guardian that while staying at a different hotel in New York with a glass wall that faced the outside, she “could see a guy standing in a building looking at me having a shower.” Creepy or what?

Would you stay in a hotel with an open plan bathroom?

Galley Gossip: Flight attendant revokes travel privileges from husband

Dear Heather,

Someone I know was requested by his wife to meet him in another state due to a medical emergency on her part. She had been working out of the country. As a retired airline employee, she had flight benefits, which she used to book her husband a flight. As soon as he landed, instead of finding his ailing wife, he was served with notice she was filing for divorce. Once he flew back home, she yanked the flight benefit, leaving him unable to afford to fly back to the far away state to defend his property rights in the divorce. Just wondered if you thought the airlines would frown upon using flight benefits to lure someone into a state under false pretense.

K

Dear K,

Now that is some evil shhh….you-know-what! Wow. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, something like this happens. I feel for your friend, I really do. I can’t believe his soon to be ex lied about being sick in order to get him where she wanted him. Unfortunately for your friend, the retired flight attendant had every right to revoke his travel benefits. I know I would! I’ll get to that in a moment.
While the airline, I’m sure, would frown upon an ex employee using their travel privileges to do such a thing, it’s highly doubtful the airline will take action right away – if even at all. Only because there are two sides to every story and this is a marriage dispute, not a work related issue, involving an EX employee who can’t be reprimanded or fired. Anyway, it’s all he said-she said at this point. What right does the airline have getting involved? What right do we even have judging? (Yet judge we will!) Remember there’s a reason they’re getting a divorce in the first place. Not that it’s any of our business, but it probably has something to do with the fact they weren’t even living together in the same country when the papers were served, which explains why this question about her traveling benefits came to be.

The flight attendant lied. That wasn’t nice. In fact, it was pretty evil. But people do lie, especially those involved in nasty divorce battles. It sounds to me like your friend isn’t angry that his wife lied, but that he lost his right to travel. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t understand how divorces work so I can’t comment on his right to defend himself in another country. What I can tell you is flight attendants are responsible for the behavior of those traveling on their buddy passes. This is why flight attendants don’t just hand them over to anyone! If her soon to be ex husband were to misbehave on a flight and get written up by another airline employee, the retired flight attendant could very well lose her travel benefits forever! I wouldn’t chance it. Those are her passes. She earned them. She has every right to decide who gets to use them regardless of what’s going on in the marriage.

Do you believe in karma? I do. So if this retired flight attendant is as bad as you believe her to be, I’m sure she’ll get hers in the end. Until then, let the divorce judge decide. Just my two cents…

Thanks for writing

Heather

Photo courtesy of DCMaster

8 tips for surviving a visit with the in-laws

Sometimes your travels take you around the world, to dangerous locales where you don’t know the customs and need to always be on your guard to ensure your safety. And sometimes, they just take you to a visit with the in-laws, which can be equally awkward, confusing, and downright dangerous. Here are eight tips to help you survive a visit with you in-laws with your dignity, and your relationship, intact.

Bring a gift.

Whether this is your first time visiting your significant other’s family or your tenth, it’s always nice to bring a small token of your gratitude as thanks for the family’s hospitality. Flowers or a nice bottle of wine is a good, safe first time gift (unless the family doesn’t drink, then nix the wine idea), but you’ll earn bonus points if you bring something a little more personal.

Ask your significant other for details about his or her parents and buy them something that you think they will enjoy – perhaps a favorite bottle of scotch for Dad or the latest cookbook for a Mom who fancies herself as the next Martha Stewart. If the two of you have recently been on a trip, be sure to bring back a few little souvenirs for the family. Keep the gift to a reasonable amount though, generally under $20. Showing up for a first meeting bearing elaborate or expensive gifts screams “desperate to be liked.”Stick to “safe” conversation topics.
Politics, religion, money, unions….we all know these are sensitive subjects, but sometimes we get sucked into discussing them with near strangers anyway. Don’t fall into this trap, even if you think you know (and agree with) the position of your partner’s family. Until you’ve known them for a while, and know whether or not they can calmly have a debate or disagreement without taking things personally, just change the subject. Unless the family says something completely unacceptable (and even then, let your spouse take the heat for voicing a dissenting opinion for the both of you) just bite your tongue and never take sides. And remember, if you find your SO’s fam completely vile in their political or religious views, that doesn’t mean that your partner feels the same way they do.

Remember some conversation starters.
Have your spouse help you out with some safe topics you can pull out if the conversation starts to wane. A quick rundown of current family events (who is about to have a baby, who just got married), the latest news in each person’s life and the hobbies and jobs of each person should suffice. Come armed with a few anecdotes of your own, like a quick synopsis of the duties at your new job or a few highlights of the latest trip you took with your partner. This way, even if you get nervous, you have a few topics you can fall back on to avoid any awkward silences until you get to know everyone better.

Bring everything you need to feel comfortable.
This includes bringing your own toiletries, hair dryer, and any other items you need and which might not be provided by your hosts. Since you are sleeping in another person’s house, you may need to rethink your PJs as well. I sleep in a tank and pajama pants; at my in-law’s house, everyone gathers for coffee in the kitchen first thing each morning. After being the only person fully dressed on my first trip, I learned to bring a hoodie to throw on over my tank so I could join the PJ party and not feel uncomfortable. Just don’t overdue it; there’s no need to bring your own pillows or roll in with two suitcases for a weekend trip.

Verify sleeping arrangements before arriving.
This is a job for the spouse or partner. If it’s the first visit (especially if you aren’t married) and the house has multiple sleeping arrangements, be sure to verify which bedrooms you’ll using when you are in town. It’s embarrassing to arrive only to find that the girls will be bunking (even worse if that means literally in bunk beds) in one room and the boys in the other. Make sure your significant other checks out the sleeping arrangements in advance, and if the two of you aren’t comfortable with them, opt to stay in a hotel.

Bring snacks if you are a picky eater.
When you are staying at your in-law’s house, you are at the mercy of their taste buds. While you can sometimes run out for a bite, other times it’s just not possible. You may find yourself stuck in a house with nothing you care to eat, especially if your idea of a “healthy snack” and theirs differs significantly. Play it safe by stashing a few power bars or some almonds or crackers in your bags so that you have an emergency snack if needed.

Plan some alone/out-of-the-house time.
Like being stranded in a broken down car on the side of the road, spending time at the in-law’s can make you feel a bit trapped, maybe a little claustrophobic. Be sure to schedule some time alone with your partner out of the house. Even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store for some milk or a quick walk around the block with the dog, a few moments away from the pressure of impressing your family will allow you both to relax and reconnect.

For the hosting spouse – remember to have your partner’s back.
If it is your family that you and your significant other are visiting, try to remember that this can be a stressful time for your partner. Try to make it as easy as possible on him or her. Help him remember the names of all your aunts and uncles. Remind him which cousins to avoid after they’ve been drinking. Help her get into a conversation with your grandparents. Think about how you would feel in the situation and do what you can to make it a more comfortable one for the person you love.

Stick to these tips in the beginning, tready lightly with your new in-laws, and soon you may be one big happy family. If the in-laws are coming to visit at your house…..these rules still apply, plus one more.

Go out of your way to be the best host you can be.
Think about all the little things that would make you even more comfortable as a guest. Lay out fresh towels for the visiting family members. Stock the kitchen with their favorite foods. Leave some quality toiletries in the bathroom and a bottle of water by the bed, and put a few books from their favorite genre out on the bedroom. Put together a city guide for them, complete with pre-paid transit card so they can get around easily. Do your best to make them feel as welcome in your home as you would like to feel in theirs.