Restroom Referendum: Voters Asked to Choose Best Public Loo

by Harriet Baskas /  / Updated 
Image: The public restrooms in Minturn, Colo.
The public restrooms in Minturn, Colorado, are among the finalists in this year's America's Best Restroom contest. The digitally fabricated shape of the men’s and women’s restrooms resemble an adit (horizontal passage way) into a Rocky Mountain mine.Scott Cramer / Town of Minturn/Cintas Corporation

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Voting is now open for the best public restroom in the land.

The annual America’s Best Restroom contest not only highlights the importance of lavatory hygiene, “It salutes businesses which strive for restroom excellence in both function and design,” said John Engel, spokesman for Cintas, the Cincinnati-based company that supplies cleaning services and restroom supplies and hatched the idea for the bathroom ballot. “We see some incredibly lavish bathroom designs and some that are more functional.”

On the functional side are the loos located 650 feet underground at Strataca, a salt-mine attraction in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Image: The public restrooms in Minturn, Colo.
The public restrooms in Minturn, Colorado, are among the finalists in this year's America's Best Restroom contest. The digitally fabricated shape of the men’s and women’s restrooms resemble an adit (horizontal passage way) into a Rocky Mountain mine.Scott Cramer / Town of Minturn/Cintas Corporation

“No fancy designer bathrooms here,” explain Strataca officials, “Just bathrooms carved out of a stratified salt bed formed about 275 million years ago when this entire area was covered with a salty body of water.”

Leaning to the lavish are the fanciful restrooms in The Music Hall in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that which sport cast bronze trees, branches and vines, Corinthian columns and velvet settees.

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Charleston Distilling in South Carolina is in the running for its 14-foot tall whiskey barrel-shaped restrooms and the Cincinnati Reds hope to take top-toilet title for the amenity-rich nursing suite at the Great American Ball Park.

Image: The bathroom at Charleston Distilling
At Charleston Distilling in South Carolina, restrooms are designed as giant wooden barrels.Benton Henry / Charleston Distilling/Cintas Corporation

“If we win, we hope it will inspire other ballparks, stadiums and arenas to look at building a dedicated nursing suite as well,” said Reds spokesman Michael Anderson.

Last year’s winner, Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia, features 17 domed, naturally lit bathrooms built into the lush greenery of North America’s largest indoor “Green Wall.”

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More information about the ten finalists in Cintas’ Best American Restroom contest are online. Voting is open through Oct. 31. The winner will be announced later this fall and will receive $2,500 in cleaning services and supplies, plus a place in the restroom Hall of Fame.

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