Partial Shower Partitions in Europe: Why?

W hy is it that there are rooms in hotel properties in Europe equipped with a partition which only blocks part of the shower area?

How is someone supposed to shower without spritzing all over the place and causing a big wet mess on the floor in the remainder of the bathroom?

I try and I try. I turn the shower head towards the tiled wall and I try to shower that way. I minimize the mess – but there is still a mess.

As far as placing a bath towel mat on the floor, I pretty much gave up on that as it typically gets soaked — unless I can push it off to the side to keep it relatively dry and yet still reach it with my foot upon exiting the shower.

Perhaps its an insidiously fiendish plot to force guests to clean the floors in the bathroom. Use the bath towel mat — and maybe some other towels — to wipe up the watery floor.

Worse is when the shower head is not adjustable – as in to point it down more, as was the problem with the shower I had this morning…

…and even worse than that is that the water drained slowly — and yes, I did ensure that the drain was open before stepping into the shower area.

Who in the world designed these partial shower partitions, anyway?

Even weirder is that the part of the partial shower partition opened and closed like a door. The opening not partitioned off is already massive enough — is a door really necessary?

Maybe this is simply a matter of style over functionality. I do not believe the style is all that commanding for functionality to take a back seat.

I suppose I just do not understand partial shower partitions; as well as how to properly use them. I must be missing something. If they were complete instead of partial, they would be significantly superior to shower curtains used in hotel bathrooms in the United States.

Would you install one of these things in your bathroom at home without anything else to block wayward water from wandering outside of the bathing area? Not I.

What do you do when you encounter a partial shower partition — besides take a shower, of course?

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “Partial Shower Partitions in Europe: Why?”

  1. Santastico says:

    LOL!!!! Love that!!! Some European designer decided that having just half of the shower protected by glass would be stylish and cool. I guess any hotel housekeeper hates that. I usually take advantage of water pressure in hotels (when there is water pressure) and having that shower design basically floods the entire bathroom. I always place a bath towel on the floor just in case to minimize water running into the bedroom. However, I have to admit I rather prefer to flood the bathroom than have to deal with those nasty shower curtains that you find in most US hotels. I also hate those really low shower heads in US hotels. I am 6ft 1″ and most of the times I have to bend my knees to be able to wash my hair.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      When they created the shower rod which curves out for use in hotel room bathrooms, Santastico, that helped to somewhat alleviate the problem of not being able to avoid the nasty shower curtains.

      It is far from foolproof — but it helps…

  2. Jason says:

    Thank you! I just thought I was just another ignorant American.

  3. Troy says:

    This is a good one!! I Hate that they have it. What a dumb idea. I get bathroom floor wet on purpose so they can come in and mop it up. I dont care. Its a design flaw in my opinion so maybe they will get the hint eventually and fix it!

  4. nat says:

    I have one in each bathtub/shower combo at home. I think they are wider than the one pictured in the article. Have had no problem with the floors getting wet in all the years we have had them. The secret is in the width of the door n the shower. They are much more attractive than the shower curtains I have seen and from my experience much more effective.

  5. BothofUs2 says:

    Thank you for this, I wonder what the true answer is though?! We did a lot of travel this past summer in Europe and saw these in many of the Radisson’s and Park Inn’s we stayed at. Floor got soaked every time, extra towels used for mopping up water so we wouldn’t get our socks wet. I almost thought it was a subtle hint being given to us that we should take a bath instead of shower.

  6. Ed says:

    LOL.. I’ve seen these also. If they really needed to cover only half the shower with a glass door, it should have been the other way around. All the water sprays out from the back half of the shower so the glass pane should have covered that area. The glass door in the photo serves no purpose.

  7. Joseph says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. I have been completely baffled by the lack of confinement in many European showers since my first trip to Europe 20+ years ago. At the moment I’m in Berlin where I actually have an excellent shower. This is because I spent hours looking at options Airbnb, making sure there were pictures of the shower, and that it was well confined with a curtain or other partition. In other forums, I have seen a lot of Americans chime in with something along the lines of “shower curtains are gross anyway, and they brush up against you while showering so good riddens”. Okay, I understand that they can be gross, especially if you never clean them in any way, but this “grossness” seems a very small matter to me compared with the nuisance of getting water everywhere in the bathroom every time you shower, which for a lot of people on both continents is every day. So far I don’t think I’ve seen the the “they’re gross” explanation offered by Europeans. There most be some significant cultural difference at play here, and I’ve yet to hear a good explanation. I’d love to hear a European explain why in their minds confinement isn’t necessary, or why partial confinement suffices. My current theory is that of course most European buildings are much older and even though there have likely been upgrades, Europeans (and their parents, grandparents) are accustomed to homes with very small water heaters that quickly run out. That necessitated a minimalist approach to showering where you really most use the water strictly to get wet, and rinse off, turning if off while soaping, etc., and therefore the water would be very carefully aimed at your body in the process. An American approach of leaving the water mostly on would quickly drain away the hot water and leave none for the rest of your family. Of course now I think the European water heaters must be bigger, as there seems to be enough water for longer showers, at least for two people, in a typical hotel room or apartment. Or perhaps Americans are robbing the rest of the hotel of hot water (if they’re up and showering earlier)!. Hope a European sees this and can illuminate us with an explanation…

  8. Suzanne Cane says:

    it makes no sense. The flaw s obvious. i hope tbey fix them beforei i die

  9. Jannik Rietz says:

    Do you stand or sit while showering? Because if you stand up wouldn’t the glass be enough? Or does it still get wet? And do you remove the shower head from the mounting, because that would make more of a mess of course.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I stand when I shower, Jannik Rietz; and I never remove the shower head.

  10. Donna Gregory says:

    I discovered the half shower in a boutique hotel near the Louvre. It made no sense. The floor and a small metal table beside the tub got wet. I tried to aim the water down rather than out, but it still escaped. The hotel didn’t give us enough towels for our bodies and the floor too. Really bad design.

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