Get ready for a counter revolution
Get ready for a counter revolution
07 FEBRUARY 2019 8:24 AM

Hotel brands are mandating more space for bathroom counters. I’m all for it.

Have you all been watching the new Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?”

If you’re not familiar with the show or Kondo’s book, the idea is that people can declutter their homes (and lives) by simply tidying up (i.e., throwing away anything that doesn’t spark joy in your life).

In theory, it’s fantastic. Who doesn’t want to create a simpler, more Zen home, without unworn clothes, kids’ toys and piles of books junking up the place? But in practice, it can be tough to actually go through with the tidying up.

I’m pretty good at it when it comes to my house and my things, but where I fail miserably is travel. There’s nothing I would love more than to be one of those organized people who packs a perfectly curated capsule wardrobe that takes them from boardroom to nightclub across three countries and five climates in 10 days, all in a tiny, chic Japanese-designed carryon satchel.

As hard as I try, that will never be me. I’m the one running through airports with stuff flying out of my backpack. I’m the one who always packs gym clothes and doesn’t use them. I’m the one who always, always checks a bag.

I’m not high-maintenance, I swear. What I am is a lifelong Girl Scout, always prepared for any emergency. I pack antibiotics, a humidifier, a multi tool and shoes that I could probably wade through a river in if the situation called for it. I like to be prepared, so I pack. It all comes in handy, too. Believe me, when you forget to pack your hair straightener/Kind bars/Advil/size 7.5 black flats, who you gonna call? The answer is me!

So I’m delighted to see a trend in guestroom bathroom design of more counter space. It may sound silly and small to you, but this is huge to me. It’s even worth a blog topic, this counter revolution. I walked through the Motto by Hilton room build-out at the recent Americas Lodging Investment Summit conference in Los Angeles, and that brand has a nice ample bathroom counter—and it’s even a city-center brand. Choice Hotels International’s Cambria brand—also popping up in more and more space-starved urban locations—also has a great feature where they offset the sink to provide more counter space.

Now all we need is the return of that 1980s guestroom concept that had the toilet and tub/shower in one room with the sink and vanity in a separate area. Ahhh, those were the days! (I know, I know, it’ll never happen.)

Counter space is an example of a guestroom amenity that’s universally liked. Not everyone loves open shelves/no closets. Not everyone loves weird “workspaces” instead of desks. Not everyone loves showers instead of tubs. But show me someone who doesn’t love a little extra counter space, and I’ll say that person is a monster.

And New York City, you’re not off the hook with this! (Speaking of hooks, every hotel bathroom in your city needs more of those.) If you’ve got vertical wall space; use it. Floating shelves are better than the top of a toilet tank any day.

I’d love to hear from hoteliers and hotel designers about your take on this counter revolution. Comment below, email me at or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph

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