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Asked & answered: Hotel throne phones

Yvonne Berg / National Post

We’ve been wondering for some time why so many hotels place telephones in the bathroom next to the toilet —not a place typically associated with conversation. Is it a safety issue? Bathrooms do get slippery, after all. Well, ask a funny question and get a simple answer.

Anthony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, sums up the toilet-phone phenomenon in one word — “convenience” — pointing out that it tends to be higher-end hotels that opt for this amenity.

A spokesman for Cottell America Inc., which offers a line of telephones designed specifically for hotel bathrooms, cites both convenience and safety as considerations. As for their specific proximity to the commode, Pollard says it’s the most sensible spot given the limitations inherent in designing a bathroom. While he couldn’t speak to the etiquette of this service, we will go out on a limb and offer the following advice: If you’re on the throne, don’t use the phone.

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