A common travail of travel is locating a clean public restroom in an airport, bar or restaurant, museum, theme park or highway rest area.
There is no need to discuss how crappy public crappers can be. Nor name them.
Instead, let’s celebrate some public restrooms that are not only super clean but which also have some charm, convenient features or unusual decor.
Want more airport-related news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly Aviation newsletter.
Each year the Cintas-sponsored America’s Best Restroom contest helps us do that by inviting the public to nominate their favorite public loos and then vote on which of 10 creative, quirky and hygienic public restrooms should be put on a throne.
Last year, in a surprise showing, restrooms at two airports – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Tampa International Airport (TPA) were in the running. And TPA took top honors for its first set of renovated restrooms featuring large Florida-themed graphics and the airport’s “cockpit” concept that puts a paper towel dispenser and trash receptacle within reach of each sensor-activated sink and soap dispenser.
This year, there is an airport restroom project on the list of finalists as well.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport’s (BWI) nomination sits squarely on the Concourse B restrooms that opened this past spring as part of a larger, $55 million program that will also ultimately expand and improve restrooms on concourses B, C and D.
Bright and spacious, with windows that provide both natural light and privacy, the restrooms include a variety of helpful features such as touchless fixtures, full-height stalls and doors, extra space for stowing roller bags, and red light/green light occupancy indicators for the stalls. Sensors alert the custodial staff when supplies need to be refilled, and there are seating areas where travelers may wait for their companions.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Since entering the contest, BWI has also lifted the lid on newly enhanced and expanded restrooms on Concourse D and will unveil another new restroom set on Concourse C next week. And the rest of the restroom upgrades are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“We believe clean and inviting restrooms play a crucial role in making travel more enjoyable,” said Ricky Smith, Executive Director/CEO of BWI, in a release announcing how flushed with pride the airport is to be nominated. “Since opening, our new restrooms have generated positive feedback from customers,” he added.
Beyond BWI, you will find public restrooms on the 2023 finalists list that are in a dive bar, a hotel, a public rest area, restaurants, a craft brewery, a ski resort and a lightship.
The restrooms at Huntsville, Utah’s Snowbasin Resort, one of the oldest continuously operating ski resorts in the country, feature Italian Carrara marble, bronze and crystal chandeliers, private stalls, hand-painted walls and plush hand towels.
Framed portraits of rabbits cover the walls at the Rabbit Hole restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina. A rose garden seems to grow from the ceiling. And snippets from an “Alice in Wonderland” audiobook can be heard over a speaker.
And on the New York City lightship Frying Pan, which was built in 1929 and now has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, there is – you guessed it – a nautical-themed restroom. This one has riveted sheet metal, shiny wood, bright light fixtures above each stall and sink, and hand-painted pictures of the historic ship.
Public restroom users everywhere can vote for their favorite finalist in the 2023 America’s Best Restroom contest at BestRestroom.com through Aug. 11. The winner earns a spot in the restroom Hall of Fame, $2,500 in Cintas services, and the right kind of restroom exposure.