A shower is a shower—until you consider this game-changing detail.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated June 05, 2019
Linear Shower Drain for Luxury Bathrooms - bathroom at Le Sereno in St. Barthelemey
Credit: Courtesy of Leading Hotels of the World

As far as showers go—even showers in luxury bathrooms—it seems like only a handful of features can change. You need a durable floor, walls that can withstand water, a shower head, and handles or knobs for controlling the water. You also need a drain, of course, for the water, but of all those things, the drain is the least glamorous. It’s functional and necessary, but not pretty … right? If you think you’re stuck with an unattractive shower drain, think again, because linear shower drains are here to prove you wrong.

I was first introduced to the game-changing linear shower drain during a stay at Le Sereno Hotel, Villas & Spa, a stunning beachfront hotel in St. Barthelemy. Le Sereno—a member of Leading Hotels of the World, a collection of more than 400 independent, boutique luxury hotels scattered around the globe—suffered severe damage during 2017’s Hurricane Irma. The hotel closed for more than a year for rebuilding and renovating, and the final result is a supremely luxurious space that exudes elegance and refinement from every detail—even the shower floors.

That’s right: Throughout my stay at Le Sereno, one of my favorite details in my guest room wasn’t the floating bathroom vanity or the exposed pipe shower system, though I certainly appreciated those details. No, I was entranced by, unexpectedly, the shower floor.

For a while, I couldn’t figure out what made that floor so special, but it eventually hit me: There was no visible shower drain.

It might just be me, but I consider the shower drain to be one of the grossest spots in the shower (because we all know how to clean a shower head by now, right?). In hotels, in my own bathroom, or while visiting family or friends, I always avoid standing directly on that drain. In this bathroom, though, there was no no-go zone to avoid, and I was able to sing and dance in the shower as much as I wanted.

How did the water and soap suds escape the shower, then? After a little research, I learned that the secret lay in something called a linear shower drain. Unlike standard shower drains, linear shower drains can nest on the edge (Le Sereno’s rested along the wall of the shower) to allow an escape route for the water. Instead of a metallic drain full of hair and soap scum, a linear shower drain is a clean line in the floor. (And it probably makes figuring out how to clean a shower a little easier, too.)

Without a garish grate to break up the shower floor, Le Sereno’s floor was an unbroken plane of cool stone. It looked clean, felt clean, and made the shower (and the whole bathroom) feel completely spa-like—all thanks to a single drain. Could a linear shower drain do the same in your bathroom, taking it from standard to stupendous? Of that, I have no doubt.