Design Gets Flushed: Vote for America’s Best Restroom 2010

Design’s going down the toilet once again, but that’s not a bad thing!  America’s Best Restroom competition is back. The race is tight with less than a month before voting closes.

Over the years, competition has invaded a variety of fields, including modeling, cooking, and singing (American Idol, anyone?). But in 2002, Cintas Corporation took the cake for the most unique competition yet: America’s Best Restroom. Cintas Corporation created the award to honor businesses in America who value hygiene and style in their restrooms and over the last eight years the competition has drawn thousands of voters. The winner will receive a plaque of recognition and a place in the America’s Best Restroom “Hall of Fame” section of the [link to:] Web site. With this amount of recognition and public attention, it’s no wonder the competition is so fierce!

Currently, there are three restrooms in the lead. And online you can take photographic tours and vote for your favorite. With all the hype, I decided to check out these restrooms for myself: 

Grand America Hotel Restroom
As of today, the Grand America Hotel, located in Salt Lake City, is in the lead. This restroom takes luxury to a new level, featuring Italian Carerra Marble, bronze and crystal Barovier Tosso & Moscatelli, skillfully inlaid African Anegre Wood, and hand-painted walls. Everything, down to the gold covers on the tissue boxes and the beveled edges on the marble countertops, is beautiful and immaculate. If I entered this restroom, I’d be too distracted marveling at the beauty to even remember I had to use the bathroom!

The Fountain on Locust Restroom
Moving east, the next restroom in line for the win is the Fountain on Locust, in St. Louis. Famous for being the most photographed restaurant in the city, the restroom in this vintage ice cream parlor features hand-painted murals and ornate fixtures. You’ll certainly be dazzled by the star-studded ceilings and charmed by the ethereal nymphs that grace the walls. The striking marble floors and designer mirrors are also eye-catching, making Fountain on Locust a serious competitor. 

Bryant Park Restroom
Going for the bronze medal is the Bryant Park restroom in Contract magazine’s hometown of New York City. You may think that finding a clean and beautiful restroom in a New York City park would be a challenge, but this one proves you wrong. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the New York Public Library, this restroom is designed to mimic the library’s Beaux Arts design. The fresh cut flowers bring a touch of the outdoors inside, just so you don’t forget that you’re in a park. The subway tiles on the walls give it Big Apple flare, and the scented oils and full-time attendant can’t be overlooked. But perhaps it’s the electronic seat covers, something Fountain on Locust and Grand America Hotel lack, which will put Bryant Park in the lead.
Although these top restrooms come from different parts of the map, and have a unique style, they do have one thing in common: cleanliness. One of the criteria for winning the award is exceptional hygiene, and in that respect, each of these restrooms is unmistakably worthy. But after spending a good chunk of time taking these photographic tours, I’ve been seduced by Bryant Park’s elegance, cleanliness, and attention to detail.

Take a tour yourself and vote for your favorite at Voting ends August 31, 2010 and the winner will be announced in September. Who will be crowned winner? And who will be flushed? The results are in your hands.

–Zoe Namerow, editorial intern

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