Holiday Inn Express Queenstown, New Zealand: BATHROOM CONTROVERSY

Old Sep 22, 20, 6:04 am
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Holiday Inn Express Queenstown, New Zealand: BATHROOM CONTROVERSY

Had the opportunity to stay at the HIE Queenstown (herein abbreviated as HIEQ) for 5 days last month. And yes, there is a bathroom controversy, but I'm going to tell you all about the rest of my stay before I get to the controversial bits.

They were kind enough to give us a corner room with a view of both the lake and the mountain that the gondola goes up, which was pretty spectacular.


Lake Wakatipu

The mountain that the gondola goes up (I don't know the name).

Unfortunately, HIE has shut down the breakfast buffet systemwide. The HIEQ is getting around this by putting out a limited service of muffins, hot croissants or frittatas, and fruit for people to grab. I appreciate the effort here, and it's set up in a way where you can grab your stuff without touching other people's items, but I do wish there was a more robust selection.

The HIEQ has a "living room concept" for the hotel. The lobby is enormous, with ceilings at least three stories high, two giant fireplaces, lots of couches and tables and places to sit. There's also lots of power points throughout the lobby, including two rows of tables with power points in the middle that are clearly meant to be used as desks during the day. However, they clearly never tested these with Apple devices.


Your power point must be this tall to ride this ride.
That was a bit of a blip, but otherwise the living room concept was enjoyable. I spent a fair amount of time there. I don't know how the concept is going to shake out globally over the next couple of years, though. A gigantic space where people can mingle during a pandemic? Hmm.

The room had spectacular views, a couple of comfortable seats and a great bed. It also had a design decision that I absolutely LOATHE...the glass wall around the bathroom. The HIE BNE had this too, and I HATE it. I am wondering if this is an HIE in Oceania decision or something they're doing across the chain. (The new German HIEs in Freiburg and Frankfurt did not when I stayed there in November/December...but I see that the Freiburg one isn't even an HIE anymore! That was fast!)

Okay, I know it makes the bathroom seem more spacious. BUT. If you are sharing a room with someone, you are going to have a level of intimacy you may have never previously experienced. My partner and I have been together for 13 years, but there are certain things I would prefer to remain private. And I couldn't. Because even though the glass is frosted, you can see shadows and you can hear EVERYTHING. I thought this concept for a bathroom was cute when I experienced it at an EasyHotel, but that is an ultra-low-budget place where I had to pay £3 if I wanted a remote for the TV. I honestly believe this is the biggest design mistake IHG has made, and I'm going to be very carefully checking any other HIEs for this before I stay in the future.

The location is good, the beds are comfortable, the staff is fantastic, and I love the lobby concept. But can someone please put real walls around the bathroom?
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Old Sep 22, 20, 8:42 pm
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Thanks for your review. I think the HIE would my choice if I decide to escape Auckland and go to Queenstown. I am single so the glass walled bathroom wouldn't bother me. This is quite common these days particularly in newer hotels, but there are normally blinds you can pull down for privacy. If there are no blinds here then that is indeed controversial!
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Old Sep 23, 20, 5:04 pm
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This is a common design for HI/HIE in APAC, most of the hotels I've stayed at in China/Indonesia/Singapore are like this too. It's not fully exposed, it's frosted glass so you can't actually see the person showering, but it would theoretically be possible to make out shadows of the person showering's movement if you look carefully.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 7:53 pm
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You cannot see in through the frosted glass - this is quite a common design and been to various hotels across Oceania, Asia and Europe that have this sort of design - some even more open plan without permanantly frosted glass - some with glass that can switch from clear to opaque and others with curtains

You cannot see through the glass , so not much that can be seen even if choosing to look at the bathroom

It seems risible to blame the hotel for a design flaw with an apple charger rather than blaming apple for its poor design of its charger. Normal AU/NZ plugs will fit perfectly in those power sockets.

Sounds like a different hotel would be a choice to make rather than trying to insist that a hotel change its design around an individual
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Old Sep 23, 20, 8:33 pm
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Is a common design factor the last few years, Ritz Carlton club rooms have this sometimes ... Dubai for example. And one or two others that escape me right now. the IC in Jakarta also on higher up rooms/ suites.

But an electric blind also goes with it. Don't know about HIE's.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 4:55 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post

It seems risible to blame the hotel for a design flaw with an apple charger rather than blaming apple for its poor design of its charger. Normal AU/NZ plugs will fit perfectly in those power sockets.

Sounds like a different hotel would be a choice to make rather than trying to insist that a hotel change its design around an individual

A bit odd to colour the OP a lone MacBook traveller with the ludicrous expectation of having her offbeat whim catered for. Apple devices are pretty much mainstream, and their chargers are, well, what they are.

I'm not sure the hotel needs to change its design, but most hotels with pretensions to an international profile go to some trouble to cater for a range of international plugs: even the whacky ones we use in the UK. So maybe the HIEQ could recognise the design flaw in the power sockets they provide, and offer a solution.

The most satisfying of these would be to change the sockets (hardly a major structural project) or, as a makeshift, provide adaptors to those rare beasts, the MacBook users.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 5:08 am
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The sockets seem to be a pretty common position and suitable for normal NZ plugs - nothing to do with needing an international conversion - just a manufacturer creating a device that doesnt fit in a normal socket without it being raised high

Blaming the hotel for Apple's poor design seems rather back to front
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Old Sep 24, 20, 5:50 am
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Ummm, that Apple plug pack has a socket where the plug is to allow a normal cord (figure 8) to plug in, problem solved.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by taffygrrl View Post

Your power point must be this tall to ride this ride.
That was a bit of a blip, but otherwise the living room concept was enjoyable.
Suggestion... remove the USB cable out of the Apple wall-wart, and plug it directly into the USB socket in the wall power point?
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Old Sep 26, 20, 2:53 am
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Originally Posted by Cyberhacker View Post
Suggestion... remove the USB cable out of the Apple wall-wart, and plug it directly into the USB socket in the wall power point?
I think the apple cable comes with a C-type USB, and the wall-based socket looks unfriendly to such cockiness

I smugly carry adaptors. Hotels often have quite a collection of these from stuff left in rooms: one or two of them are mine.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 4:50 am
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Personally I HATE this trend of frosted glass or see-through panels and flimsy dividers between bathroom and bedroom. I don't really mind someone having to watch me or listen to me in the bath or shower, or me being on display when shaving etc, or even when having a pee at a pinch. But I draw the line at sitting on the toilet taking a dump, feeling like I might as well be sitting in full view in the middle of the bedroom, having a face-to-face convo with any other person around, while I'm doing my business.

I should imagine there are specialist sections on the internet for these kind of interests and pursuits, ideal for those who enjoy watching and sharing that kind of thing - all kept nicely away from normal folk like me. Yet hotel designers now seem to think we all just LOVE sharing our bathroom habits when we're having a break away for a few days. The truth is, of course, that the people designing the rooms and the hotels don't give a sh*t about the guest-experience, as long as the space/light/financial design parameters are met.
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Old Sep 28, 20, 7:26 am
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There are photos of the room on their website, including some with the frosted glass bathroom. If you don't like the design of it, why book it and then make a fuss out of it? Also, I fail to see how this is a controversy. It's a design choice, some people like it, some people hate it.
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Old Sep 28, 20, 11:11 am
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Originally Posted by jxd View Post
There are photos of the room on their website, including some with the frosted glass bathroom. If you don't like the design of it, why book it and then make a fuss out of it? Also, I fail to see how this is a controversy. It's a design choice, some people like it, some people hate it.
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With all respect, I doubt I would takeaway that the divider is made of frosted glass after glancing at this photo.

I ran into the same issue at a HIX in Ireland and now I know to look for it. Before then, it wouldn’t have been on my radar. And to me, this design is a big negative when traveling with someone else. Maybe not such a big deal to others.
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Old Oct 3, 20, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by jxd View Post
There are photos of the room on their website, including some with the frosted glass bathroom. If you don't like the design of it, why book it and then make a fuss out of it? Also, I fail to see how this is a controversy. It's a design choice, some people like it, some people hate it.


“A design choice” 😂 I believe there was a famous episode of Homes under the Hammer where a previous owner had fitted a toilet on the upstairs landing because of space limitations. I should imagine he explained it was “a design choice” to anyone who saw it. You surely must be an architect or an interior designer? you sell it so sweetly. 😀 I also concur with others here that once I experience such “design choices” I make a “consumer choice” and take my business to a better establishment that allows me to sh*t on my own.
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Old Oct 3, 20, 5:42 pm
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Thanks for the review, I have NZ on my wish list.

Regarding the "voyeur" bathroom thing - definitely see it more in Asia/Oceania, but not limited to HI/HIE or even the area. From my limited travels:

The Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong - Soho had frosted walls too, but no design on it.



My room at the Holiday Inn - Notre Dame also had a frosted door - the walls were regular walls though.
(No picture)

Radisson Blu - Sydney
The glass window over the tub

There is a wooden wall you can swing over like a door so it looks like a painting

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