The contractor's intent was to leave a gap at the bottom of this tile job, to allow drainage, and as an alternative to a caulk job requiring periodic maintenance:
However it did not work, the gap is too small. A bead of water forms (via surface tension) and sticks there long enough it's still wet by the next shower.
The tile is talavera style, unglazed at the edges and relatively porous. The lip on the shower pan goes up about 15mm. The present gap is about 3-5mm. There's hardy board behind the tile.
I'm thinking a larger vertical gap would have worked. If you were going for a no-caulk tile in a case like this, how high would you have set the first course?