BLAISE HOPKINSON tries out a most luxurious loo
It all started at the Park Hyatt Tokyo when I encountered my first smart toilet, the Rolls Royce of bogs and bidets. When I sat down, the loo sprayed warm water on my ample derriere followed by a waft of soothing hot air. I know the Japanese are known for their bad porn and golden shower clubs, but this blew my mind. When I de-bogged it flushed itself and I could hear music.
Not to be outdone by the crafty Japanese designers, the Americans in 2011 unveiled not a mere Cadillac of a toilet but a veritable Rolls-Royce Phantom and Maybach rolled into one. They called it the Numi. Pause and rejoice in the name.
For about R100 000 you too can join the salon privé of lavatory exclusivity. The Numi is so beautiful you could place it in your hi-tech Hyde Park penthouse lounge and visitors would admire your taste. The porcelain is picture perfect and in the right light your WC could claim a place in the Museum of Modern Art in any city, East or West.
When it is time to defile your object of beauty and you approach, tip-toeing so as not to disturb the apparently sleeping apparition, you will be shocked, for it never sleeps. The Numi waits for you, 24/7. Et voila! The lid lifts itself and begins to play your preprogrammed music of choice on its MP3 gadget. You sit, and therefore you are, for the Numi becomes your companion, for however long you choose. The sophistry of the singing loo will even play Bach if you program it right.
The Numi knows how much spray you like from the built-in bidet function and also your preferred water temperature post evacuation.
And when you alight from your throne, said computer knows how much to flush, depending on how long you have lingered – say the time it takes to read a David Bullard column. The lid then lowers itself and off you toddle, content, continent and complacent.
Since a cause of divorce in the Western world is the seat left up after the men – and some women I know, actually – have answered the call of nature. This doesn’t happen with squat toilets in the East, so it is clearly a Western issue.
However, when you place your Gucci loafer next to the font of urinary wisdom, a sensor knows this is men’s business. Having already lifted the lid the genius Numi then RAISES THE SEAT! Pointing Percy has never been such an uplifting adventure, except maybe at the Peninsula in Hong Kong that boasts loos with views at the top floor venues.
I asked one of the minions at the Park Hyatt Tokyo if anyone objected to the toilets and their intimate interaction with guests at their most vulnerable. His wry reply was: “The Arabs want to take them home, along with the duvets they normally steal.”
When I order my own Numi I will have the triumphal march from Aida installed in the MP3. Kohler’s Numi slogan plumbs the depths of understatement: Take Comfort, Take Control.