10 quirky public loos seek Best US Restroom title
If you travel for business or pleasure, you know the value of a clean public restroom.
Smart business owners know that too. And in this age of selfies and social media, some venues are gaining extra attention by giving guests unusual and creative spaces to do their business.
Now ten of those lovely loos are running for the title of America’s Best Restroom.
Here’s a rundown I put together for CNBC.
Finalists were chosen based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements and this year the list ranges from loos in a museum and a zoo to lavs in restaurants, cafes and airports.
Through September 13, the public is invited to cast votes for the coolest commode from amongst the ten finalists. The winning loo will take a throne in America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame and receive $2,500 in facility services from contest sponsor Cintas Corporation.
Take a seat and help choose a winner.
This loo is a zoo
There are animals – behind glass – in two restrooms at the Nashville Zoo in Nashville, Tennessee.
A lush exhibit that’s home to six cotton-top tamarins is visible through a floor-to-ceiling glass window in a women’s restroom, while a ball python snake exhibit can be viewed from a men’s restroom.
“It’s one of the may features that sets us apart from your standard zoo visit,” said Jim Bartoo, Nashville Zoo Marketing and Public Relations Director, “It creates conversation after the guest leaves. They share it with their friends and family. The put it on Facebook and Instagram. This organic, word-of-mouth advertising is extremely valuable to us.”
Gold faucets and candelabras
The lobby restrooms at the Jupiter NEXT hotel in Portland, Oregon have seven stalls with floor-to-ceiling, gray stone-paneled walls arranged in a semicircle around a trough-style shared sink. Special features include gold faucets and candelabra light fixtures.
“We pride ourselves on creating community wherever possible,” said Katie Watkins, Community Manager for the Jupiter, “Our low-lit separated sink area offers a space to connect and say hello to other guests – both local folks and hotel patrons – before heading out to make the most of your stay in Portland.”
Flush with French flair
In Charlotte, North Carolina, La Belle Helene is a brasserie-style restaurant designed by noted Parisian architect Richard Lafond.
“We invested in every part of the restaurant, from the pewter-poured bar and the gorgeous chandeliers and leather banquettes to the bathroom,” said Scott Steenrod, Managing Director at Constellation Culinary Group.
The vanity in the unisex restroom offers a shared space for guests and the hand-painted mural reflected in the mirror offers a great backdrop for selfies.
The restrooms at Mourad, a Moroccan fine dining restaurant in San Francisco, California, blend old and new; tradition and innovation. Each fully enclosed stall is decorated in a different color of floor-to-ceiling Moroccan mosaic tile, features a handy marble shelf and mirror and opens to a communal marble-countertop sink.
Go stylish at the mall
At the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, the women’s restrooms include a waiting room with a chandelier, makeup stations and two private changing/nursing rooms with a lounge chair and outlets. Each stall also includes a marble shelf to hold your bag.
Each of the four single-user washrooms at Jianna Restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina uses color, texture, tiles, lighting and accessories to reflect a different aspect of Italian culture.
“Our client challenged us to design the restrooms so that they added something special to the great food and the drinks and the overall atmosphere in the restaurant,” said project manager Missy Games, from McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. “The restaurant has been open a few years and you still have people coming back to the table saying, ‘Oh wow, did you see the blue bathroom?’ It’s not your typical dinner conversation.”
Bathrooms for a community-oriented brewpub
The Butcher and the Brewer brewpub in Cleveland, Ohio has an in-house butcher and charcutier and a sense of community that extends to the bathrooms. There, a communal entryway leads to green subway-tiled accents walls and a communal sink. Private stalls for men are on the right; stalls for women are on the left.
Yes, cool loos at New York’s LaGuardia Airport
If the restrooms at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B are among the finalists for America’s Best Restroom, there may indeed be hope for the overall success of the airport’s current rebuild.
With an eye to efficiency, aesthetics and innovation, these new restrooms have stalls large enough to accommodate luggage, trough-style sinks with a raised counter above; live orchids, custom mosaic tiles at the entryway and over the urinals and graphics depicting New York City on the stall doors.
Making good use of Seattle rain
Swanky new restrooms are part of a massive renovation project for the North Satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
These feature a flushing system that will harvest rainwater to the tune of more than 750,000 gallons a year. The modern loos also have separate sinks inside the ADA stalls, family restrooms with adult changing tables and built-in custodial support closets.
“We realize no good work is done until the paperwork is done,” said Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper, “And we appreciate that people think we have some of the best seats in the house. We like to think, that’s how we roll.”
Museum quality restrooms
The minimalist design of New York City’s New Museum of Contemporary Art is the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the architecture firm SANAA. When it came time to create the restrooms, the Tokyo-based architects settled on a super-graphic wall pattern featuring pixilated cherry blossoms against bright fields of turquoise or orange.