Bathrooms: They’re a (very) necessary part of life and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere without them, but how often do you actually consider their design? To be fair, most bathrooms maintain an aesthetic that falls somewhere between ‘minimalist’ and ‘downright skeevy’. But there are some go above and beyond to provide visitors with a unique lavatory experience — and these are the best of the best.
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin: I’m not going to lie, Sheboygan, Wisconsin probably isn’t the first place I’d head in search of opulent bathrooms, but consider the source: John Michael Kohler was the head of the Kohler family, long-time producers of bathroom fixtures and products. So obviously, this restroom is gonna be off the chain. Thanks to designs by artists like Cynthia Cosentino, Ann Agee, and Carter Kustera, you’ll never yearn for something to look at while doing your business.
House of Yes, Brooklyn, New York: This Brooklyn hot spot is known for long lines, cool crowds, and, believe it or not, Instagram-worthy bathrooms. From a stall with glittery, rhinestone-encrusted walls fit for Studio 54 to the angelic, all-white loo that sits beside it, club owners Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova have ensured that patrons never have to leave the party, even when they’re in the bathroom.
Safe House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Apparently, Wisconsin is a veritable haven for cool bathrooms. Who knew? A spy-themed restaurant called Safe House has interactive bathrooms that include a picture of Kurt Reynolds with a moveable heart over his you-know-what (which apparently the whole bar will know if you attempt to move!) and trick doors leading into the men’s room (hope you don’t have to go too bad).
World’s Largest Public Toilet, Chongqing, China: With over 1,000 toilets and urinals, this place holds the world record for the largest bathroom. Build in a four-story building of over 3,000 square meters, it features sinks and toilets in the shape of alligators, the Virgin Mary, and weirdly, women’s legs. The building itself as a lavish, faux-Egyptian vibe that certainly adds to the impression that it would be a nice place to relieve one’s self.
Georgia Max Coffee ski toilets in Japan: Several years ago, a marketing campaign for Georgia Max Coffee saw toilets at resorts throughout Japan transformed into photo-realistic ski jumps — you know, for those who like their morning bathroom visits with a side of serious adrenaline. Sadly, the bathrooms only live on in photos.
Sofitel Queenstown, Queenstown, New Zealand: This one’s a little weird. Men’s bathrooms at this New Zealand hostel apparently come equipped with photos of women who appear to be staring (impressed, of course) at your privates. No word on what they have in the women’s room, but here’s to hoping it’s significantly less creepy.
The 25Hours Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany: Rolling Stones fans delight at these cheeky, red-lipped urinals in the lobby of Germany’s 25Hours hotel. Interestingly, similar toilets also exist at Germany’s Rolling Stones Fan Museum and France’s Rosenmeer Restaurant. No word on what they have for visitors to the ladies’ room, unfortunately (a mouth toilet seat just seems like a bit too much, doesn’t it?).
The Ritz Paris, Paris, France: Okay, so there’s no kitschy shaped toilets or fun bedazzled walls, but the bathroom in the Imperial Suite at the Ritz Paris is over-the-top enough that you’d want to hang out in it even when you’re not doing your business. All that gold and marble and those pretty pastel colors sure are soothing, and there’s plenty of attention paid to the details, like gold swan faucets. I mean, come on.
The Mumin Papa Café, Akashi, Japan: This bathroom is also a three-wall aquarium, so hopefully, you’re cool with a few fish and a sea turtle or two hanging out while you relieve yourself. It took a whopping $270,000 to build and is apparently only in the women’s room, which makes me feel a little better about all those cool urinals I’ll never use.
Ground Kontrol Arcade, Portland, Oregon: Game nerds of all ages will appreciate the bathrooms at Ground Kontrol Arcade in Portland, which are covered in tile motifs from Pac-Man. After all, why stop gaming just because you have to pee?