Congratulations to this Renaissance!
Best Bathrooms in the USA
By Emily H. Bratcher
We've come a long way since our outhouse days. But more often than we'd like, we stumble across a restroom that brings us back to the grim days of yore. Dirty, smelly, grungy public bathrooms that continue to haunt us long after we use them.
The Field Museum
Courtesy of The Field Museum
But then there's the other side of the coin -- those public restrooms that are really something to admire, the kind that surprise you enough to come back and exclaim to all your friends, "You've got to check out the bathroom!" The piece is about those kinds of lavatories.
Cintas, a company that among other things supplies restroom facilities, has for 10 years asked the public to rank America's best restrooms. The company's rankings process is two-fold: First, it accepts nominations on toilets across the country and then it asks the general public to choose the best commode from a list of 10 finalists. This list reflects Cintas' top-five public restrooms in the U.S. and the five runners-up.
#1 The Field Museum, Chicago, Ill.
The Field Museum houses an eclectic array of science-focused exhibits, from a traveling "Chocolate: Around the World" exhibit to soaring SUE, the Tyrannosaurus rex. But one of its best (and perhaps most surprising) displays can be found behind the bathroom doors: That's right, ladies and gentlemen, The Field Museum wins the prestigious honor of America's Best Restroom. And all you have to do is look up to see why: The ceilings of the bathrooms are adorned with renderings of a starry night's sky. These ceilings also act as black holes, ingesting sounds so the bathroom exudes tranquility rather than clamor. The women's bathrooms also come equipped with a nursing mother's room and special "tot areas" for those little ones who are new to the idea of toilets.
Courtesy of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
#2 Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington, Va.
You'll think you've suddenly been transported to Tahitiat sunset, but no, it's just a bathroom: the bathroom at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, to be specific. And that's not the worst place to be, since it's America's number-two best restroom. Some of the coolest things about this privy are its sink spouts: They rush with red light when the water is hot, and they pour with blue light when the water is cool. And after you've gone about your business, be sure to look at the shadowy leaves that follow your footsteps as you walk down the hallway: They're made of nothing more than light.
Courtesy of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
#3 Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Yes, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts hosts some pretty amazing shows: The 2011-2012 season will showcase everything from the Marrukegu Buru, a hip hop-stilt dancing-storytelling group, to Broadway headliner Patti LuPone. But during intermission, you might want to take a look at the loo. It's a work of art in and of itself, with Terrazzo floors, glass-tiled walls and stainless steel stall doors. Plus, the lights constantly change colors from blues and greens to golds, pinks and reds. The effect is meant to mimic the breathtaking Sonoran skies that blanket Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Don's Johns
#4 Don's Johns Luxury Presidential Restroom Trailer, Anywhere, USA
Oh, Porta Potties. You can't live with 'em, and you can't live without 'em. And back on President Barack Obama's Inauguration Day, there were tons of them flanking Washington, D.C.'s National Mall. There was even one for the new president himself, but this Don's Johns was not just any transportable commode. This one has smooth granite counters, hardwood floors and walls that resemble black marble. There's even climate-controlled air conditioning and heating (and on that January day back in 2009, we're betting the heat was on high). The luxury-trailer experience was topped off by some soothing music for the presidential guests.
Courtesy of the Snowbasin Resort
#5 Snowbasin Resort,