Excerpt from an article in September 2003 Lodging Magazine
THE GRAPES OF BATH
"How to make Guest Bathrooms Luxurious + Memorable
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. It can make or break a hotel’s reputation. If the word is favorable, it can be a significant boon to the bottom line; it also can open up unique marketing opportunities that push the envelope in terms of innovation.
At least, that’s been the experience of the Hotel Derek, a 314 unit boutique property that markets itself as “Houston’s most fashionable address for business and leisure travelers” Since its January 2002 opening, the Hotel Derek has tried to create an overall experience that its guests won’t soon forget. (A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the Hotel Derek was named to Condè Nast Traveler’s “2002 Hot List of the 52 Best New Hotels in the World.”)
“The great thing about doing independent hotels is that you don’t have anything that’s mandatory to use – there’s no corporate standard,” says general manager David Hill. “We wanted to have the best possible experience that guests would remember and talk about.”
“The thing about hotels is this: Showers matter to guests,” says Hill. “We don’t want to have what everyone else has.” Two products in particular make the Hotel Derek’s bathrooms memorable: (Down Under) Wonder Shower and the HYDRO line of European spa products developed by Switzerland-based Ada Luxury Care.
According to Hill, the hotel’s vice president of development had encountered on a trip to Australia a shower head that delivered a shower far superior to anything he’d ever experienced. Years later while browsing the internet, he discovered the (Down Under) Wonder Shower – a showering device that features a solid brass 3.5-inch diameter shower head with 127 precision-drilled spray holes and an 11-inch heavy-duty extension arm that may be positioned at any angle within a 180º radius. Originally made, distributed and sold in Australia as the Uni-Shower the product was re-designed and developed to be compatible with American showers by Houston-based Wonder Shower Company Inc. and is now manufactured and marketed worldwide as the (Down Under) Wonder Shower.
“The two most important amenities I want in my hotel room are a good, comfortable bed and a good shower,” explains Gregg Schuller, co-founder of Wonder Shower Company Inc.
“Most people forget their shower two minutes after they finish, that’s not the case with the Wonder Shower” says Schuller. Adds Hill: “You think no one notices, but we get more comments from guests about the Wonder Shower than anything else. We now sell them in our gift shop ($75) and use them as amenity gifts. It’s something to talk about and it really helps us stand out in the mailroom.