Public restrooms can be a crapshoot when it comes to cleanliness and overall appeal.
But some establishments do loos right, with spotless sinks and stalls, unique design features and a dash of surprise and creative flair.
And when they do “it shows a commitment to quality across the board,” said Danny Rubin, survey editor for Cintas’ annual America’s Best Restroom contest. “If an owner is going to put so much attention into the restroom, it shows you how much they care about the entire building.”
Have a seat and consider some recent contest winners.
The 17 lavatories at Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia (the 2014 winner), are part of the largest living “Green Wall” in North America. The restrooms at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, the contest’s 2013 winner, have bar service and a view out to the venue’s concert stage. And the 2012 winner, a Buc-ees convenience store in New Braunfels, Texas offers patrons a choice of 83 spotless thrones.
There have been some airports amongst the nominees and the winners as well.
In 2005, Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas was a winner.
And Tampa International Airport’s restrooms were among the top nominees in 2013.
Cintas is now rounding up the list of go-worthy restrooms for the 2015 contest and they expect nominations to trickle in through June.
“It’s remarkable that we’ve had a fresh list of 10 great restrooms on the ballot for each of the past 13 years,” said Rubin, “but we keep finding out about great restrooms in hotels, museums, parks, airports, stores, malls, theaters and other places around the country that we haven’t heard of before.”
What makes a public restroom a contender?
A restroom being nominated should be extremely clean, of course, but it should also be able to pass the “eye test,” said Rubin. “Do people go in, look around and say ‘Wow, that’s spectacular,’ do they talk about it, does it generate buzz?”
Being nominated is an honor all its own, of course, but the public restroom that comes in first place in the contest gets $2500 worth of restroom services; the three venues that get the most votes get their restrooms deep-cleaned.
You’ll find details on how to submit a nomination for Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom contest here.
(A slightly different version of my story about Best Restrooms first appeared on Today.com)