When you’re travelling, it’s inevitable for you to have to use the public bathroom, and most of the time this is not a very pleasant experience. There’s either graffiti on the wall or the flush isn’t working and the place reeks. Some public toilets don’t even have locks for their cubicles. If you’re very lucky, you’ll get into a public bathroom with graffiti, faulty flushes, no locks, and no running water.
However, there are some (if not few) public bathrooms that are just a pleasure to look at. You’d wonder if you just accidentally found yourself in a posh hotel. These public bathrooms are very refreshing, and you’d be lucky to encounter them in one of your travels.
Hundertwasser Public Toilets in New Zealand
You’ll probably never see any other public toilet just as colorful. The Hundertwasser Public Toilets in New Zealand gathers quite a crowd simply because it’s amazingly well-kept. Unlike other public toilets which are drabby and depressing, this public toilet and very cheerful and blends quite well with New Zealand’s turquoise-colored waters, Kauri forests and cove-lined coasts.
It was built in 1997 by architect Freidensreich Hundertwasser. It looks like a wacky temple with mosaics, curvy columns, walls tiled with colored bottles which look like stained windows, and the works. The architect’s vision: the loo is usually a place for contemplation. This is why it looks almost like a temple.
Hundertwasser didn’t stop at the styling details, though. The building is also environmentally friendly, incorporating living trees in its design as well as reclaimed bricks and a thatched grass roof. Where exactly are these toilets located? Just go to Paihia’s State Highway 1. This is in the rural town of Kawakawa.
Urilift Pop-up Toilets in Europe
While it’s least likely that you’ll be touring around the world just to view pretty public loos, visiting the Urilift Pop-up Toilets in London, Amsterdam, and Belfast should be fun. These public toilets are located in the Cambridge Circus, the Rembrandtplein, and the Shaftesbury Square respectively. These stainless cylindrical urinals are Europe’s solutions to “indiscriminate” male toilet habits.
These receptacles, unlike the lower, open urinals of the past, are easier to aim at. The floor of the cylindrical urinal also has a drainage unit just in case you’re not as well-coordinated as the average visitor.
Charmin Restroom in Times Square, NY
New York is notorious for its dank, depressing subway public toilets. However, somewhere in Times Square, you’ll find the Charmin Restroom during specific periods of the year. Charmin sets up a bi-level space right between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
The designs of the public toilets are also anticipated by most New Yorkers who frequent Times Square. Every year, the theme seems to change. Last Christmas, they carried a Winter Wonderland theme which put everyone in the mood for the holidays despite the cold weather.
For those who weren’t able to see the toilet stalls, they were set up as 20 log cabins. Each one was maintained by an exclusive attendant after use, so all visitors could enjoy immaculate seats and floors. Of course, the cabins are stocked with the products its sponsors are selling.
On the second floor of the log cabins, one can lounge at the Duracell charging station (you can also hook up your phones), or let your kids play at the Wii lounge. There’s also the Charmin Tree House where kids can learn the “Charmin Potty Dance” from the videos shown from seventeen flat-screen TV sets.
JC Decaux Public Toilets in Paris
Paris isn’t just the city of romance—it’s also the most fashionable city in the world. This is the reason why it just won’t do for Paris to have a plain, depressing public comfort room. This is also the reason why the celebrated designer Patrick Jouin was invited to design an entirely new generation of public “sanisettes”.
These stalls are self-cleaning, first of all, and while the design itself won’t produce gasps from Jouin fans, the minimalist lines are a great improvement compared to the city’s previous eyesores. The newly designed public toilets include a spacious interior which can be accessed easily by wheelchairs. The palette is also easy on the eyes, with soft hues of grays and greens.
There’s also a sky dome installed to let in natural light, and right outside the bathroom is a water fountain which is fashioned out of a sturdy shell. This is strong enough to withstand accidental bumps from parked motorbikes and scooters.
You don’t have to pay any fees to use this minimalist but convenient bathroom. You just have to press a button and the slide doors will open for you. You can wash up, read magazines, do your business, as long as it only lasts for 20 minutes. By then, the doors will part automatically to let you out. By the end of this year, there should be about 400 units installed in Paris.
The existing stalls can be found in the Moufettard neighborhood.
Daimaru Department Store in Tokyo
Of course, Tokyo won’t be left out on the list if we’re talking about stylish restrooms. The most noticeable, of course, are the ones built for the Daimaru Department Store. Each of the restrooms in this 13-storey shopping area is “coordinated” so it can match the ambiance outside. What makes the public toilets unique, though, is their bidet-style.
The washlets may be pretty common for the locals, but refreshingly new for those who haven’t seen anything like it. There are also “self-cleaning” wands which reach the middle of each basin. This squirts temperature-controlled water at all the right angles.
You just need to press a remote button as well to heat up the ergonomically-designed seats. You can also switch the “sound princess” or Otohime to disguise your toilet activities in the stall. Recordings of running brooks or ocean waves are available. This is perfect for modest ones who feel uneasy about using the toilet with total strangers.
The Department Store is located at the Gran Tokyo North Tower of the Tokyo Station. Even if you’re not really planning to shop, you can still go here just to satisfy your curiosity.
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