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The problem of the Marriott renovations - especially the new showers

The problem of the Marriott renovations - especially the new showers

Old Nov 21, 19, 8:36 am
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The problem of the Marriott renovations - especially the new showers

What started as a rarity has become increasingly endemic: the disastrous Marriott renovations. I can't be alone in thinking that these new bathrooms are a disaster. Just to be clear, I am talking about these.

The reliable old Speakman showerhead of generations yore and the slightly more recent but still functional (if lower pressure) Kohler are being replaced with fancy looking - but functionally worthless - Moen "eco-performance" shower head. While it may perhaps work in new-builds with very high ceilings, I feel like no one at Marriott has actually used one of these shower heads in a typical legacy Marriott.

These new shower heads are rains shower. Rain shower heads work on one (or both) of two principles: either you spray a ton of water down (which will never happen at a hotel in today's cost conscious and faux eco-friendly world) or you rely on height to allow water droplets to form an accelerate to create the feeling of water pressure. This is very different than traditional pressure and aerated shower heads that rely on smaller streams pushed out of the showerhead at high pressure to create a satisfying shower. Aerated showerheads add air into the water to further create a sensation of higher pressure, and there are many showerheads in the same flow rate (1.5 gpm) as the new Moen eco-performance showerhead being installed in the new bathrooms that have great reviews and provide a great shower experience.

So, in theory, a 1.5 gpm rainshower waterhead could work - with a big if. The big if is that there must be enough height to allow water droplets to form and accelerate. Typical rainshower install guides say that there should be a minimum of one foot from the shower head to the height of the person using it (with even higher - 18" - being ideal). This is why rainshower showerheads - when properly installed - are typically ceiling mounted, especially if there are any height clearance issues. This does, of course, require some costly water-line replumbing. And, in some hotels, the ceiling is just not high enough to support a rainshower waterhead (at least without redoing the ceiling drywalling).

95th percentile design principles instruct to accommodate people in the 95th percentile when you do your design. The 95th percentile height for men in the United States is about 6'2" or 74". This means that rainshower showerheads should be mounted at a minimum of 86" inches with higher being ideal.

So far I have stayed at two hotels with these new showerheads - the SF Marriott Marquis and the Santa Clara Marriott. Both are older builds which means that ceiling height is limited. Rather than reroute the plumbing to at least maximize the available height, they simply use the existing plumbing and against the vertical wall. And the heights of the showerheads? At the Santa Clara Marriott, the height - in multiple rooms - from the floor is about 71 inches. It is literally below the top of someone's head. While the old showerheads were about this high as well, they were of the old type which meant pressure at the source - and not pressure from droplet formation and gravity. The San Francisco Marriott is better, with a height of about 78", but still well below what design standard would indicate.

For anyone over 6', the experience in these showers is terrible. There is no feeling of water pressure at all because there is no pressure at the source and droplets haven't formed and accelerated. I am used to low-flow hotel showerheads, and the experience in these showers is worse than showerheads that run at half the water rate (like the terrible .8 GPM Aloft showerheads).

There is a high pressure showerhead attachment, but in terrible design fashion, you can't raise it very high because it is literally blocked by the rainfall showerhead. The maximum height you can raise it to at the Santa Clara Marriott - for example - is about 66". This is below elbow shoulder height. The only way to make it work is to remove the rainfall showerhead - likely causing damage because that strips the teflon tape - and raising it up higher. And, of course, since it is an attachment rather than a true showerhead, the spread of the flow is not very satisfying because it is very narrow.

Whoever moved forward with this design - both at Marriott corporate as well as the franchisees that agreed to implement this design in hotels that simply don't have the ceiling height to support it and/or did not want to reinvest in relocating plumbing lines - are insanely tone deaf and focused far too much on creating aesthetically pleasing designs that look high end than functional. I imagine that anyone that is away from home 200+ nights a year like me cares more about functionality than pretty aesthetics.

Just to drive this point home and hopefully make it clear I am not exaggerating, here's a picture of me standing next to a showerhead at the Santa Clara Marriott. I am 6' 4". This is not a particularly bad example: all rooms in the North and South towers have the same height (I have checked and confirmed with the hotel).

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Old Nov 21, 19, 8:48 am
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Cancer is an awful word to use in a thread title when that word has significant meaning for so many people.

Regardless, I doubt Marriott takes into account people 6' 4" which comprises 1% of the population of US men
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Old Nov 21, 19, 8:56 am
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Regardless, I doubt Marriott takes into account people 6' 4" which comprises 1% of the population of US men
Did you not bother to read my point about 95th percentile design? I realize I'm an outlier and I am used to having to occasionally stoop to use a shower. How Marriott is implementing these doesn't even accommodate the 50th percentile (which would be an 82-83" shower height for this type of showerhead - not 71") - much less 95th percentile. This accommodates the 10th percentile of women's height or the 1st percentile of men's height. Even if you are aggressive and aim for a 6" fall height, this still means this is implemented for people shorter than 5'5" which is the 10th percentile of men.

This is not a "tall person" problem. This is an everyone problem that is doubly aggravated for someone that is tall.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 9:10 am
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The lack of functional desks and closets is a bigger problem for me. I don't mind the new showers at all.

The addition of a shower wand is a big plus as well.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 9:11 am
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Feel better? You probably need a shower after writing that.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 9:13 am
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We had these shower types in the AC Belfast IIRC but there was a "normal" shower head there too which both myself and my tall partner (taller than you!) used happily enough. As a tall person, OH is more than used to ducking under the shower head to wash his hair - its just part of his life and has been for a long time!
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Old Nov 21, 19, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by nequine View Post
We had these shower types in the AC Belfast IIRC but there was a "normal" shower head there too which both myself and my tall partner (taller than you!) used happily enough. As a tall person, OH is more than used to ducking under the shower head to wash his hair - its just part of his life and has been for a long time!
Yes, and that is true with well-designed dual-shower head setups. Unfortunately Marriott's particular implementation has the wand blocked by the rainfall showerhead. You can raise up the showerhead to the top, but the flow of water.. just hits the back of the regular showerhead. So if you want to use the wand, the end of the wand is even lower than the lowest part of the rainshower head (which is angled). When I do this, the water basically hits my stomach.

The only way to get a decent shower (as I indicated above) is to physically unscrew the showerhead - which is leak-protected with teflon tape and removing it strips this teflon tape and creates leaks - so you can raise the wand to the top without it being blocked by the rainshower head.

edit: just to make this concrete, here is a picture of the AC Beltfast shower head. Notice that the rainfall shower head is far enough away from the wand that you can position the wand all the way to the top. Compare that to this where you will notice that the rainfall showerhead is too close to the wall and, therefore, raising the wand to the top hits the back of the regular shower head. In addition, unlike most wands - which have good "spread" (like the AC Belfast picture) - the Marriott wand has a very tiny spread. So even when using this, you don't get good water coverage.

Last edited by ethernal; Nov 21, 19 at 9:47 am
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:04 am
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Not being terribly tall (5'6") I don't have the problem that the OP has about the height of the shower head. But, I hate that the showers have no place (well, very little) to put all you shower accouterments. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, shave cream, etc. just don't fit on the small shelf they provide.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
The lack of functional desks and closets is a bigger problem for me.
Totally agree.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
The lack of functional desks and closets is a bigger problem for me. I don't mind the new showers at all.

The addition of a shower wand is a big plus as well.
I agree that the closets are annoying - going 'horizontal' for hanging is just ridiculous - although it seems somewhat property specific. At least the renos that I've been in haven't been too bad desk-wise. I think the last generation of renos (maybe 2012-2015 vintage?) actually seemed worse desk-wise. Many rooms had no desk space at all - these at least have a good 18-20" desk build into the wall. Smaller than I would like but tolerable.

I think the showerhead is likely property specific too. If there are high ceilings, I bet it works fine. But these just don't work at old legacy Marriotts that with low ceilings. The idea that you can put a rain shower showerhead at the same height as an old showerhead is just wrong. The old showerheads were already mounted below design standard, but it was not too bad because pressure exists at the source - as opposed to building pressure via droplet formation and gravity.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:32 am
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This post taught me more about showers than I ever knew I was missing. Iíve been in a couple really crappy showers lately, but no idea if itís down to the physical principles you mentioned. As others have said, I find myself more consistently annoyed by the lack of a desk or closet space.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:59 am
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Agree on the shower, my pet peeve is how few hotels have baths, but I guess that should be for another rant thread, LOL
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Old Nov 21, 19, 11:00 am
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I agree that the rain shower wands at the Santa Clara Marriott just don't work.

Water pressure at all the hotels in the area around Great America Park is pretty low, and the new shower heads are of such a design that using them feels like being drooled upon rather than sprayed.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 11:02 am
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Headlines and "outrages" like this make it all too easy for the normal world of well-adjusted, level-headed travelers to mock FT.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 11:24 am
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This whole thread is a joke, right?
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