Mirror, mirror, who's that in my bathroom?

By Ellen Creager

Detroit Free Press (MCT)

Published: Saturday, May 19 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Gray skin, haggard wrinkles and bags under the eyes.

It's like watching a horror movie, except it's me.

What kind of sadist puts overhead fluorescent lights in a hotel bathroom to terrify the guests?

Hotels have made great strides in improving their mattresses, decor, amenities, showers and meals.

But somewhere along the line, the cruel, ghoulish lighting in hotel bathrooms was allowed to continue, a relic of the days when hotels thought they could get away with dumpy rooms and poor service.

So hotel guests, unite. Start complaining about hotel bathroom lighting until it gets better.

It is not just vanity that makes me want a kinder light radiating above the hotel vanity.

Fluorescent light actually distorts colors, causing makeup errors and hotel guests who look in the mirror and think, "Wow, do I really look that bad?"

Fluorescent lighting casts a blue tint and illuminates every skin imperfection, which explains why everyone — probably even Beyonce and Tom Brady — looks sickly under its glare.

Hotels use them because they are economical.

They also use them because most hotel bathrooms are dark corners off dim rooms, nowhere near a window or any vestige of natural light, and some builder decided, gee, let's use the same lighting we use in the wood shop back at the factory and put it right here over the sink.

Please, hotel designers! Design hotel rooms where the guests look better to themselves. Design a bathroom with a window, and let in natural light.

At least install lights on both sides of the sink, not above. Use regular incandescent lights, or halogen lights, or indirect lights, or LED lights, or at least those full-spectrum, natural daylight fluorescents instead of those glaring, hideous old-fashioned models.

Hotel managers, I will tell you why you must invest in this. A hotel guest who thinks he or she looks good is a happy guest. Happy guests complain less. Happy guests leave better tips. Happy guests will probably come back.

I'll even give you an example.

Two weeks ago, I stayed three nights in a fancy, name-brand, fairly new high-rise hotel in Houston. It was wonderful in every other way.

But, are you kidding? I'm not staying there again.

I don't want to glimpse myself in the bathroom mirror.

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