Bathed in Luxury: Five-Star Bathrooms

by Kate Burt in Designer style at home

“With the luxury bathrooms we design,” says Blanca Sanchez of Weybridge based Halo Design Interiors, “people are looking for that same sense of comfort, wellbeing and technology that you get in a high-end hotel”

“People expect all the gadgets – mirrors with iPod docks, televisions – because the bathroom is becoming much more of a multi-use room.” 


And Sanchez knows all about designing-in that level of luxury, having been the creative force behind top-end residential projects such as St George’s Hill in Surrey, and this stunning ski lodge in Courchevel.

Here are her tips and trend insights for creating a hotel style bathroom that’ll make you want to lock the door and luxuriate inside it all evening…


At the moment there’s quite an emphasis on clean lines and the use of texture – so while stone is still popular, it’s probably restricted to a feature wall. Also, using ‘split-face’ stone, where the surface (or ‘face’) of the stone is removed, leaving a rougher texture, is a more contemporary way to use this traditional material.

Another trend is to use stone alongside porcelain, which gives cleaner lines, needs less upkeep, easier to fit and doesn’t need sealing. Composite is another popular material. Many people prefer the purity of this powdered stone resin, which can give sharper lines and purer colours than real stone and feels more calming and spa-like than stone. It is also much lighter in weight.


The sense of luxury you get with freestanding is that the bath or basin becomes sculptural; almost an artwork. In a bathroom we recently designed in Wentworth we installed a stunning freestanding, roll-top copper bath lined with tin. You would think the result would look very traditional, but we made everything else sleek and minimal, so rather than ‘old French farmhouse’, you get a luxurious modern look.


There’s been a movement away from the square hard lines that have been fashionable for a while and people tend to go for either very chunky taps, or ones that are so minimal you can barely see them. The Axor Massaud range continues to be very popular, as it successfully combines both these features.

People want luxury, but we are all also more aware of the environment – plus there are building regulations – for new builds – to control excessive water usage. Brands such as Hans Grohe sell taps and showers that use compressed air to propel the water out and boost pressure – meaning you still get a luxurious effect, but use less water than you’d realise.

Another trend that’s been around for a while – and is quite a ‘wow’ thing too – is to use light technology; this is where showerheads and taps change colour depending on whether the water is hot or cold.


Mood lighting is just as important in the bathroom as in any other room, if not more so. LEDs are paramount for a luxury feel; use them to highlight features and emphasise temperature changes.

In a master bathroom, for example, you could have under-lighting beneath the vanity and the bath, and at night just have those on.

In this bathroom below we used crystal downlights, which really add glamour, but in an understated way because everything else is quite minimal. They look especially good in smaller cloakrooms – they really sparkle.


Lots of mirror instantly feels luxurious and will enlarge a smaller space too, by bouncing around the light. Where once you’d have had mosaic tiling, we’re also now using lots of tinted and back-painted mirror – such as bronze, which adds warmth.

Finishing touches

1. Less is more. So de-clutter: throw away everything on your shelves and replace them with one large something.

2. A large white faux orchid can fit in any bathroom – and don’t be afraid of going fake; the good quality versions can be beautiful and are a good solution where there is no natural light.

3. Another trick, a little obvious but really nice, is to have a tray of rolled-up little hand-towels. It gives a hotel feel and is a nice touch for guests.

4. Room diffusers are also brilliant – so you get a burst of (tasteful) fragrance as you come in, and they often come in beautiful bottles, too.

5. Finally, you can’t beat simple white towels: yes, they’re obvious but also timeless, clean and understated.


For more information on Halo Design Interiors

Recommended Editorials