Contact Us

On World Toilet Day, Here Are 12 Restrooms That Take The Throne


Monday is World Toilet Day, so what better time to highlight commercial real estate’s golden thrones?

From the beautiful to the fun to the weird, lavatories have become more than a place to just take care of business. Architects, designers and developers are paying special attention to restrooms, and the results can be downright stunning.

The Shard in London

Customers may even spend more money at retailers with nice restrooms.

“Restrooms matter to the public and when you take one that is clean, innovative and has a unique design, then add to that the importance of it being fully functional and well-stocked at all times, people take notice,” Cintas Marketing Manager of Facility Services Sean Mulcahey said.

Cintas is a restroom supply company that has taken admiration of restroom design one step further — by creating an annual contest naming America’s best restroom. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida, was crowned the 2018 winner. The wildlife refuge created “learning lavatories” in the restrooms.

“As one of 566 national wildlife refuges around the country, we saw the restrooms as a major missed opportunity for educating visitors,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said in a statement.

In honor of this year’s World Toilet Day, Bisnow is highlighting some of the unique restrooms found around the world:

London: The Shard

The view from this loo might entice visitors to sit and stay for a while — and who could blame them? The U.K.’s tallest building, which opened in 2013, features sweeping views of London. The mixed-use property with offices, restaurants, a hotel and 10 luxury apartments has a viewing area on the 72nd floor, but the best seat in the house just may be this loo on the 68th.  

New York: Bryant Park

Bryant Park in New York

Midtown New York’s Bryant Park restrooms recently got nearly $300K in upgrades, including Toto toilets, fresh flowers, classical music and bathroom attendants to greet visitors.

“The bathrooms reflect a standard of excellence that is prevalent throughout Bryant Park,” Bryant Park Executive Director Dan Biederman said. “They provide a visitor experience which is often not seen in big cities, with emphasis on cleanliness, interior design and amenities. For many visitors, it’s a serendipitous and pleasing part of their day.

Doral, Florida: Sloan's Ice Cream

Sloan's Ice Cream has a location in Doral, Fla.

Patrons who step into the restroom at Sloan’s Ice Cream may first feel confusion at the sight of a large window, but then they realize the trick: once the door is locked, the window frosts over. Other locations with the iconic window in Florida include Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Lauderdale By The Sea, and in California: Woodland Hills and San Diego.

Chicago: Barrio

Barrio in Chicago

When DineAmic Group owners David Rekhson and Lucas Stoioff decided to make the restroom a conversation piece at Barrio, they went for a women’s room design that matched the vibe of a girls’ night out.

“We sourced certain aspects that jumped out to us, like high-heel-patterned wallpaper, vibrant pink ceilings, and, of course, a distinctly turning disco ball. We wanted to grab people's attention,” Rekhson said.

Hamburg: clouds - Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen

clouds - Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen in Hamburg, Germany

Next to the Reeperbahn, the red light district in St. Pauli, clouds - Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen in Hamburg offers a bathroom with views over the port city and risqué art adorning the walls.

“The design is clear, simple, 'cause the unique view from the highest toilets in Hamburg doesn’t need any framings,” east Hotel & Restaurant GmbH Public Relations and Communications Manager of East Group Peter Praunsmändtl said.

Sanibel Island, Florida: J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Fla.

Cintas’ favorite restroom of 2018 features tarpon, otter, osprey and sea turtle sculptures as part of an underwater theme at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Bird photos wrap around stall doors, with identification information inside. Messages about saving wildlife are sprinkled throughout. 

Hollywood: Dream Hollywood Hotel

The Highlight Room at Dream Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood

The restroom at The Highlight Room on the rooftop of Dream Hollywood features subway tiles, oval mirrors and globe lights. The mirrors are parallel to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The views show off The Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory and the Capitol Records Building.

“We love to surprise and delight our guests with reveal moments throughout the property, and this is one opportunity we didn’t want to miss,” General Manager Ayo Akinsete said.

New York: New Victory Theater

New Victory Theater in New York

After a renovation, the bathrooms at the New Victory Theater were transformed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, with red, yellow and white tiled restrooms. They feature Neo-Metro sinks and Dyson Airblade Wash + Dry faucets.

Boston: Black Falcon Pier

88 Black Falcon Pier in Boston

Dyer Brown collaborated with The Davis Cos. at the Boston Seaport on the renovation of 88 Black Falcon Pier, including mural-size graphics in the restroom featuring photos of wooden shipbuilding.

“Smart developers recognize that bathrooms are a great opportunity to reinforce a commercial property’s brand image,” Dyer Brown architect Deniz Ferendeci said. “The visually stunning installations are a fun reminder of the Seaport location and its heritage.”

Charlotte: La Belle Helene

La Belle Helene in Charlotte, N.C.

French brasserie-inspired La Belle Helene is food service company Elior North America’s first restaurant project. La Belle Helene’s unisex restroom vanity offers a shared space for guests to do more than just wash their hands. A hand-painted mural reflected in the vanity mirror offers a backdrop — for selfies, of course. In the heart of HB2 country, each toilet has its own room with a gold-stamped door marked “all.”

Washington, D.C.: Mi Vida

Mi Vida in Washington, D.C.

Mi Vida owner and designer Michael Reginbogin said the restaurant’s bathrooms were created as an extension of the guest experience, impacting a customer’s desire to extend his or her visit.

“The ambiance — lighting, sound, finishes and, most importantly, the way in which guests perceive themselves in the reflection of our mirrors — are all contributing factors in this conscious or subconscious decision,” he said.

Japan: Resuto Ujō in Echizen, Fukui Prefecture

This restaurant on the Echizen Coast in Fukui Prefecture offers a traditional garden atmosphere in the restrooms with pine trees, bamboo and stone lanterns. The toilets feature a semicircular hood, called kinkakushi. Curious how to use it? So is everyone else — apparently, no one seems quite sure. Don’t worry, some of the restaurant’s seven restrooms do offer another option — Western-style toilets.