Bathroom = Usability Fail

February 25, 2009

I’m no globe-trotting jet-setter, but I have stayed in plenty of hotel rooms in the past couple years. And I’ve never stayed in a room with as bad a bathroom as the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara, California.

How bad was the bathroom? Let me count the ways:


1. Sink
It’s bad enough that the sink sits up high, on top of the counter; everyone knows sinks should be below counter level. But look — the darn thing is sideways! Who’s the genius that decided we’ve been doing it wrong, all these decades of having the faucet to the rear of the sink?

2. Hot/Cold Faucet
Everyone knows that hot water is to the left and cold is to the right. That’s how it works when the faucet is behind the sink. So, in this sideways arrangement, you’d assume that pulling the faucet closer to you (i.e., to the left) would be for hot water. And you’d assume wrong. Not only is the sink sideways, but the faucet is also backwards; pulling the faucet closer (i.e., to what should be the left) is for cold water. Stupid.

3. Towel Rack
How do you explain putting the towel rack below the sink, where the water will splash all over the dry towels as you wash your hands and face? It’s a terrible spot for a towel rack, and it also means you have to lean a bit to get your face above the sink — you can’t get right up close to the counter.

4. Vertical Toilet Paper
Again, who needs years of familiarity with having a horizontal roll of toilet paper? Not the Hyatt. No, they have the TP sitting vertical, so all your learned muscle movements related to pulling and tearing the bum wipe are completely useless. Total fail.

5. Toilet Paper Placement
It’s not just the vertical stance, but also the terrible placement. You don’t really get a sense of the depth in this photo, but that roll of TP is way back against the wall, completely out of reach to anyone not named Plasticman. To get there, you have to turn your body, rotate your neck like Sybil, and contort your arm into a position that it wasn’t meant to form. I strained muscles I didn’t even know I had just reaching for some TP.

Why not put the TP near where the towel rack is (and hang it horizontally), then move the towel rack to the wall above the toilet … like at every other hotel on earth? And mix in a normal sink while you’re at it, Hyatt.

On the bright side, the water pressure in the shower was pretty good.


  • Reply Keri Morgret February 26, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Our room had poor water pressure in the shower, especially when you turned the water up hot enough to stop getting goosebumps.

    There was also the weird door to the bathroom that kept opening itself if you weren’t careful. I agree, one of the worst usability in a hotel bathroom I’ve ever seen — especially when there are three women staying in the room!

  • Reply Cari McGee February 26, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Sorry, Matt, but two of the five hated features are on the cutting edge of home design. The sink which sit above the counter and the vertical TP holder. So, you’re saying we’re not headed for a contemporary redesign of our home anytime soon?

  • Reply Matt March 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Cute … Keri and Cari leaving comments. 🙂

    Cari — no, we will not be doing any “contemporary” redesigns like this anytime soon.

    Keri — I forgot about the door to the bathroom. You’re right, another fail.

  • Reply Random Guy February 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Those towels right next to the toilet are a fail for Communicable Diseases. They are constantly misted with waste particles whenever you flush.

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