If you’ve ever seen a sign at a public toilet that says, “Ladies, stay seated for the entire performance. Gentlemen, your aim will help. Stand closer, it’s shorter than you think”, you’re not alone.
This sign, and modified versions of it, has been spotted in many toilets all around the world.
But, did you also know that there is an international award for public toilets?
The International Toilet Tourism Award was created by travel research agency MyTravelResearch.com co-founders Carolyn Childs and Bronwyn White. It is now in its second year.
The award aims to show how innovative, clean toilets with great design can help enhance the tourism economy of a town, city or country. This year, there were 30 entries across five categories from four different continents. Global online nominations were open from Feb 14 to May 1.
Six toilets popular with tourists around the world were officially crowned and are ascending their thrones for 2018.
The winning tourism toilets from around the world are:
Saskatchewan Science Centre, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada – The design for the newly refurbished second-floor restrooms was inspired by the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan. Floor to ceiling visuals of the deep forest and audio of birds singing and woodland sounds make you feel like you’re in the forest rather than in the loo.
Full wall panels with photos taken by award-winning photographer Todd Mintz, of the calming deep Canadian forest, add to the effect.
Best Economic Contributor
Cummins Mosaic Loo, in Cummins, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Australia – The local community converted a nondescript red brick toilet at the former railway station into a public restroom with personality. It features statues, mosaics and paintings reflecting the genteel bygone era of the early 20th century.
By word-of-mouth, the place actually became well-known and popular. Local businesses are now benefiting from the tourists who stop to visit the old fashioned themed restrooms at the town centre.
Hotel La Jolla (A Curio Collection by Hilton), on Shores Drive, La Jolla, California, United States – Sitting on the 11th floor, overlooking La Jolla and the sea, the restroom offers a breathtaking view of the coastal urban village and the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.
Best Accessible Toilet
Brisbane Airport, in Queensland, Australia – The airport’s upgraded toilets have been designed to exceed accessibility legislation. Dedicated facilities include specialised equipment such as an adult changing table, hoist and a toilet with removable hand rails for the disabled. The spacious, flexible design makes travel accessible to people with disabilities and their carers. Brisbane Airport even has an indoor loo for guide dogs that travel with people with disabilities.
Bowl Plaza, in Lucas, Kansas, United States – Bowl Plaza is a public restroom with bling! The restrooms, which took four years to build, are now a major attraction in the small town grassroots arts capital of Kansas.
The bathroom walls are covered both on the inside and outside, with detailed mosaics created by local residents and artists. The entire building is shaped like a toilet tank, with the entrance designed like a raised toilet lid, and benches as the curved toilet seat. The sidewalk to the restroom flows from a large concrete toilet roll.
Overall Contribution to Toilet Tourism
James Bond Loo at Piz Gloria, in Murren, Switzerland – Located 2,970m at the top of Mt Schilthorn in Switzerland, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant and visitor centre has embraced a James Bond theme since the location was used as Blofeld’s Lair during the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Refurbished in 2017, the toilet experience now has James Bond audiovisual effects: Bond girl Diana Rigg appears in the mirror when men wash their hands. There’s a sign for men in the toilets saying, “Shake, don’t stir” and “Aim like James”.
The ladies’ loo has music and a shot ringing out as an image of James Bond appears in the mirror beside a bullet hole. In the ladies restroom, there’s an audio of Bond saying, “Tonight, my place – just the two of us.”