Updated March 2021
I grew up sharing a bathroom with two brothers. My first year of college I shared one with nine other women, who are still some of my closest friends. For most of my life I lived in a home with a tiny tub and slanted shower – my husband’s head practically touched the tiled ceiling. Perhaps that’s why I have such an appreciation for gorgeous bathrooms and spacious bathtubs.
I am saddened by the slow extinction of the hotel bathtub. They are being phased out for large showers, which may be beautiful and elegant, but there’s no way to lie back, slip on a glass of wine and read a book in a shower. One of the first things I do when we check into a hotel is look to see if there’s a bathtub. More and more, the answer is no.
So here’s my trip down my own personal Memory Lane of Special Bathtubs, including the most amazing one I’ve ever seen. If you have some special tubs, please share them in the comments below.
Iberostar Grand Bavaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
I visited the celebrity-level luxurious Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the fourth and by far most upscale resort in this country for Iberostar. My gorgeous suite, done in peaceful shades of beige and blue grey, had a wood-floored balcony facing the Caribbean.
But it’s the bathroom that was truly breathtaking – the Jacuzzi tub had a view of the ocean, the meandering pool surrounded by tented lounging beds and wicker chaises and the huge ship that houses a bar and is a signature of this adults-only resort. I can shower, floss my teeth, go through my 87-second makeup routine and even tinkle, all with a view of the ocean.
One night I lowered the see-through shades on the two exposed sides of the tub, filled it with hot water and sprinkled it with Forest Essentials Sea Salt. Ready for the ultimate relaxation, I pressed the button for the invigorating yet soothing bubbles, and was instantly rewarded with projectile blasts of water in the face. Now my hair was soaked, so the bath was over as I scrambled to dry my hair before dinner. But at least I could dry it with a view of the twinkling lights of the ship and the blue haze of the pool.
By far the most magnificent bathroom I’ve ever had was at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand, where we were lucky enough to enjoy a Reserve Villa, the most luxurious accommodations I’ve ever experienced. The villa was almost 4,000 square feet, with the multi-roomed bathroom making up a good portion of that. But wait, there’s more! We had private gardens that included a magnificent outdoor shower, where we could even shower with a view.
County Laois, Ireland
In addition to a gorgeous tub, our room at Ballyfin had a fireplace and spectacular views of the Irish countryside. See more about Ballyfin in The Travel 100 in our story on Top 10 Hotels and Resorts.
Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino
Lake Charles, Louisiana
It took me a minute to realize that this tub fills with water from the ceiling, a first for me. I was mesmerized watching the water cascade down into the tub.
Country Club Lima Hotel
Look at the beautiful stone surrounding this bathtub in my huge room at the Country Club Lima Hotel.
Big Island, Hawaii
While we had a bathroom in our cottage at the historic Puakea Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii, we also had a separate bath house with this beautiful wooden tub and a shower. I loved soaking in the tub while taking in views of the Hawaii landscape.
For more on Puakea Ranch, see our story and video Escape to Puakea Ranch on Old Hawaii
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Unfortunately this amazing guest house in Costa Rica has closed, but I had to share the photo of the bathtub there. The two towel swans add a romantic touch.
Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Resort
Los Cabos, Mexico
One unique feature of this bathroom in Los Cabos is the bed is to the right of the bathtub at this all-inclusive resort in Mexico. I didn’t have far to go to get in bed at night after washing my face.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
I liked the shape of this bathtub in Turquoise Place in Gulf Shores, Alabama. See more on Gulf Shores in the story Things to Do on Vacation in Gulf Shores.
1000 Islands Harbor Hotel
Clayton, New York
I loved my huge bathroom in the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, New York, located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
See more about the 1000 Islands in our story in The Travel 100, Road Trip to Oswego County.