As design requirements within the hospitality industry become ever-more stringent, Roca has appointed a new international specifications manager to ensure that demand is met in one of the most crucial areas – bathrooms and washrooms. Here, Mark Poulain speaks about his new role and explains how Roca is well placed to serve the contract market.
What does your new role at Roca entail?
With a background in sales within the hospitality industry, I will be drawing on my experience and knowledge of the sector to help raise the profile of Roca on a global level within the contract market. By joining together and working with Roca subsidiaries around the world, we can ensure that wherever in the world our products are being specified the same high level of service is delivered as standard.
My role largely involves overseeing the sharing of information so there is joined-up thinking – whether our customer is an independent boutique hotel in the UK, or an international hotel chain with buildings in several countries around the world.
In your experience, what demands are being placed on designers working in the hospitality sector?
The importance placed on getting the design of the hotel bathroom just right should never be under-estimated. It is the area of the hotel that can make or break a reputation, and is often where ultimate responsibility will lie for the classification of a room in a particular category. That’s because the majority of guests will inspect the bathroom in a hotel as soon as they are given the key to their room, and it is second only to the bed in ensuring comfort levels are high.
The onus for the hotel designer is on creating comfortable, hygienic guest bathrooms that tick all the boxes for design, quality, technology and sustainability, whilst being respectful of budgetary requirements. Cost-effectiveness is a huge issue within the hospitality sector, which is why it is so important that durable, high-quality fittings are specified so that maintenance issues are kept to a minimum and the life-cycle of a bathroom is as long as possible.
It’s also vital that hotels are able to differentiate themselves from the competition, and with the bathroom creating such a big impression this is again where much of the onus will be placed in this regard. For hoteliers, choosing the right bathroom manufacturer and the right bathroom products is vital for reflecting the hotel, its decor and for the creation of an ambiance that guests will enjoy.
Of course, budgets and the market for which the hotel is geared will determine much of the choice, but those manufacturers that can offer unique bathroom solutions that break from the norm – whilst also fulfilling the practical elements of the design brief – are likely to be top of the specifier’s wishlist.
How do you think sustainability and eco issues can be balanced with aesthetic and budget considerations?
There is unarguably a much greater significance being given to energy and water saving and climate protection within the hospitality industry, and the bathroom is where the biggest difference can be made. The good news for specifiers is that sustainable bathroom solutions, and those that offer superior eco benefits such as saving water, don’t have to compromise on style or performance – making it very possible to achieve the best of both worlds, resulting in happy customers all round.
In terms of budget, products that help a hotel to save water can be found at all levels of the market so don’t have to be expensive, and of course offer significant cost savings in the long-run. This is particularly the case on larger projects, where there may be 200 or even 400 bathrooms, as that’s when considerable amounts of money can be saved by opting for water-saving products.
Which of Roca’s new innovations can help hotels meet their demanding briefs?
Roca offers a wide range of space-saving, water-saving, design-led solutions that are particularly suited to the hotel bathroom environment.
The W+W combined washbasin and WC is a good example of form meeting function, as it not only looks the part in the contemporary bathroom and makes cleaning easy, but it also maximises on space and conserves water, using waste water from the washbasin to fill the toilet cistern. With the W+W, water usage can be reduced by as much as 25% compared to a standard toilet, which adds up to massive savings for hotels of all sizes.
One key area where specifiers can create individual bathroom spaces that are different from the competition is with the choice of brassware, and Roca has a wide range of taps and showers at all price points. Not only can these be specified as statement pieces, but this is where a hotel’s commitment to sustainability and the environment can be truly realised.
Many Roca taps feature built-in flow restrictors, which help to reduce water wastage without compromising on performance. And helping hotels meet their running costs is the Cold Start function, with the water flow on taps with this feature always starting from cold, heating up progressively as the lever is turned.
Roca also works with world-famous designers to offer products that break the mould of bathroom design and ensure that truly individual hotel bathrooms can be created that deliver on a practical and aesthetic level.