By Angela Fairhurst

What is the most important feature of any luxury hotel room? The bathroom, of course.

The right blend of design, amenities and extravagance can make the difference between an experience that is good and one that ís life altering. Here, five hotels with the most memorably luxe lavs.

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ZULU CAMP AT SHAMBALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA

Located in a malaria-free zone in the Waterberg Mountains of the Limpopo Province, The Shambala Zulu Camp is designed in traditional Zulu style with river streams running through the camp. “Shambala” is a Tibetan word meaning “paradise on Earth,” and this rustic retreat is appropriately named. Stepping out onto the deck, wild animals abound in the bushveld surroundings. Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland eco-region of Southern Africa, the Afrikaans’ root of which means open, uncultivated country or grassland. Here you will find large animals including hippos and rich bird life typical of African savannas. The eight honeycomb-shaped chalets are decorated in Afro-French Provincial style with French furniture and linens, and natural materials on the walls. There are three bathing options, as the open-aired bathroom has a luxurious free-standing bathtub, a large shower indoors and an outdoor shower on the private deck.  There is a personal butler on hand at all times, as well as turndown service in the evening. shambalaprivategamereserve.co.za/zulu-camp/

LE ROYAL MONCEAU, RAFFLES PARIS, FRANCE   

In the center of Paris, near the Champs Elysées, Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris was completely redesigned by Phillippe Starck and re-opened in 2016 after being closed for two years. The 149 rooms and suites, including three presidential suites, are inspired by the culture of the ’40s and ’50s and the Art Deco heritage of the building, yet incorporate Starck’s modern twist. Le Royal Monceau calls itself “Art de Vivre”—the art of living, French style. Fully curated, art is everywhere in the hotels: the guest rooms, on the walls, in a gallery and in the art-themed bookstore. The bathrooms are no exception, as they are surrounded by reflective surfaces of steel and mirrors, works of art within themselves. With all that silver, the freestanding white soaking tub becomes a focal point of the room. The hotel has a team of cleaners whose only job is to keep those mirrored surfaces sparkling. The amenities are Clarins; also on offer is a special organic children’s skin care line by BONPOINT. leroyalmonceau.com

SOUTH PLACE HOTEL LONDON, U.K.

The 80-room South Place Hotel, designed by Sir Terence Conran, is the first hotel from restaurateurs D&D London. We’ve all seen glass showers, glass doors and glass sinks, but how about a glass bathtub with a peek-a-view? Suite 610 is 1,292 square feet at the top of the 6-story hotel. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the living room, dining room, bedroom and bathing areas with natural daylight. Wooden slatted blinds are there for modest guests. Suite 610’s open floor plan leads to the slate and marble bathroom. The main feature of the bathroom is the impressive glass Chaise Lounge Vitrè Bathtub in Corian by Moma Design. Throw in generous-sized James Heeley toiletries in St. Clement’s fragrance, and what more does one need? Well, there’s a splash-proof flatscreen built into the marble wall opposite the bath; mood lighting; a Bang & Olufsen sound system; soft and fluffy white towels, robes and slippers, as well as a heated towel rack. southplacehotel.com

MANDARIN ORIENTAL MARRAKECH, MOROCCO  

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has been expanding, with its Mandarin Oriental Marrakech as one of the newest resorts on the scene in Marrakech. Located just outside the old city or medina, the 54 single-story villas, nine suites, three restaurants and spa are elegantly built on almost five acres of fragrant gardens and olive groves. The signature villas are either 3,000 or 4,500 square feet and are designed as mini riads around enclosed courtyards, each with its own infinity pool and hot tub in black zellij. Showcasing Mandarin Oriental’s signature palette of cream and dark mahogany throughout, the large, elegant, marble bathrooms have massive double sinks, a lounging area, a make-up area and a large walk-in closet.  Luxurious soaking tubs and showers are both big enough for two. The specially developed fragrant products are by a locally made paraben-free brand called Nectarome, and they’re as lust-worthy as the babouche slippers. mandarinoriental.com/marrakech

THE SILO CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA 

The newest addition to The Royal Portfolio collection of South Africa, The Silo Hotel is located in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. This out-of-the-box hotel is built in a historic grain silo complex that occupies six floors above the Zeist Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Architect Thomas Heatherwick of the London-based Heatherwick Studio was tasked with adapting the grain elevator and adjacent storage annex into the hotel, while preserving their historic significance in a zero-carbon design. The most creative aspect of the eco-conscious structure’s exterior is the pillowed glazing panels that bulge outward, giving each of the 29 rooms and suites abundant natural light. Liz Biden’s carefully designed interiors feature marble bathrooms with free-standing tubs, large showers and playfully colored vanity areas where large mirrors enhance stunning views of the city. More than 80 handmade crystal chandeliers from Egypt hang throughout the hotel, and the ones in the bathrooms set the mood for romance. While boasting a gorgeous bathtub, water conservation is key at The Silo and asks guests to be mindful. theroyalportfolio.com/the-silo