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I am in the same boat as you are. I am putting my beach front vacation house ready to open up this coming summer in the beautiful Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I thought it was better to have a rack with 6 rolled towels for the renters when they come in. That way it looks elegant at the first time. I am assuming they will hang them using whatever they find on their way to dry them up. Good luck!!
We have found that the towel bars get ripped out of the wall after a few months of use. They last longer if you can screw them into studs in your wall, but, unfortunately, only one side may be able to go into a stud since builders space the studs differently than the width of towel bars.
We have gone to hooks - over the door style as well as the nice Command strip ones. These seem to work out well for us.
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We have a bar and one hook next to the shower. Generally we put the towels on the towel bar. We had the towel bar ripped from the wall but it was my fault since I didn't put it into a wood stud. I installed it with a wood stud and haven't had any issues. Also, I got complains from guests asking to have a towel bar instead of one hook.
We do both. Since we have large families staying with us, not only do we have a hook and a towel bar, but we also have etagere units with lots of towels. We typically put 6 - 10 towels per bathroom times 5 bathrooms per house.
Use bars and hooks. They serve a different purpose in my mind.
First, bars are usually stocked with fresh towels for arrival. A towel on a hook will not make an impression and guests will wonder if it is clean or leftover from a previous guest. How do you present a fresh towel on a hook?
A hook is great behind a bathroom or bedroom door, or next to the shower for a robe or towel. Hooks strike me as a convenient but temporary place to put an item.
Consider how your guests will use a towel bar or a hook and make a decision based on comfort and convenience. Consider how each fits your decor and style.
In my opinion, a towel bar(s) makes more of an impression than a hook. One is, if you will, formal and one is casual.
We haven't experienced towel bars pulling out of the wall. Bars should be anchored securely to studs with appropriate hardware (sometimes the hardware that is supplied is inadequate) and that should eliminate the problem. (Unless your guests are using them for some other purpose, lift bars for assistance at the toilet or in the bath?).
Edited to add:
This is a beach house that accommodates 8 - 10. Many towels in use.
Purchase a stud detector and determine where your studs are before purchasing your towel bars. As someone writes above, there are many irregularities in the walls that present a problem when securing items to the wall. We just went through the process of hanging two weighty pieces, a vintage mirror and a tavern sign, and spent some time locating studs and determining adequate hardware.
We use all types- Over the door types, towels racks and iIn our shared bath I found wooden peg boards that I painted to accent that baths's color theme. They are screwed into the wall and so far we've had no problems.
I did find ( at Bed Bath & Beyond) some great little towel markers in different colors that each guest can hang on a peg to help them remember which towel is theirs. We enourage our guests to reuse a towel more than once - or they have to do the laundry.-
Whether bars or hooks, keep in mind that wet towels can damage (or at least stain) walls with flat paint. Most painters will suggest that you use a semi-gloss in a bathroom, although we've found that an eggshell finish is jsut as water resistent, but not quite as shiny.
On the the hook versus bar conversation (souonds rather medieval, doesn't it?)
Most of our bathrooms have one 24" bar for bath towels, and an 18" bar for hand towels, plus 6-8 hooks for additional bath towels. The simple fact is that you can't have enough bars for 6 individual towels without it starting to look weird (and most bathrooms don't have room). Factor in that many women like to use a separate towel for drying their hair, and hooks become the only reasonable answer.
We prefer to use a 6 or 8 hook set already attached to a painted wood backer plate. I suggest looking for ones that have the backer plate screws set 16" apart so you can position it on at least 2 studs.
I've also installed towel bars on the back of the doors of many of my rooms so that guests can keep their towels in their rooms -- there's no way they can all keep them in the bathroom and tell them apart!
We have one hook and several towel bars in each of our bathrooms and have recently installed a bank of hooks outdoors in a sheltered area for beach towels. That way, they can dry out after a day at the beach and the sand, hopefully, stays outdoors!
great idea for the hooks OUTSIDE for the beach towels! We have towel bars in our condos, however, we have several light-weight hooks in the tiled bathtub enclosure - great place for people to hang their swim suits! In fact, we put some in our own home bathrooms too. Now the kids have no excuse NOT to hang up their swim shorts!
Great idea to have hooks outside for beach towels! I have hooks in my outdoor shower and a few on the outside of the shower enclosure; but I have not placed any hooks specifically for beach towels - I encourage my guests to hang them on the clothesline but I'm not sure how many take the time to do so - it's on the other side of the house, extra steps . . . A hook is simple and they will pass by a convenient hook location returning from the beach. Great idea! Thank you!