Once upon a time, it was the subway tile making waves in the bathroom. Next, the stand-alone tub took over to bring luxury to an otherwise perfunctory space. Now, it’s the smart toilet that’s flushing out the competition for the biggest bathroom trend in 2021, and it’s showing no signs of slowing either.
While a toilet had never exactly been considered opulent, increasingly, more and more Australians are opting for luxurious toilet designs that are already considered extremely popular in Japan.
TOTO high-tech toilets or washlets are found in most hotels, shopping centres and restaurants all across Japan, but the tech is making its way into Australian luxury hotels and even our homes, as more focus is placed on both hygiene and extravagance in the modern-day reno.
And they’ve become something of a status symbol. Globally, you’ll find Japanese toilets at the Shangri-La Hotel in London’s Shard building, onboard some business class flights, and at The Louvre in Paris.
In the Sydney CBD, a number of recently built and refurbished hotels now make the most of Japanese toilets. The recently opened Crown Towers in Barangaroo has TOTO toilets in each of its rooms, as does the Park Hyatt Sydney, with the lavish Sydney Suite boasting a $9,000 TOTO toilet in its main bathroom.
That’s the other thing: the price. Japanese high-tech toilets start from around $2,000 and climb to $33,000 for a model with a gold-plated remote. But rest assured they do more than just look good.
Depending on the model, TOTO toilets can open, close and flush automatically, are self-cleaning with electrolyzed water that kills bacteria, perform a pre-mist spray to prevent splashing, has a nightlight for evening use, has heated seats, deodorising functions, and a bidet and drying function just for you.
Some will even play music, water effects, or background noise to ensure privacy in public bathroom situations. They’re pretty amazing, and quite frankly, it’s no wonder Japan has established a dedicated TOTO toilet museum in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka.
Now, getting your mitts on one is easier than ever before. In 2020, some 2,000 TOTO toilets were sold for domestic installation in Australia, Traveller reports. This may be linked closely with the fact Harvey Norman has begun stocking TOTO toilets, starting from $1,850 for a seat-only amenity and climbing to $9,700.