September 2, 2013
Let the “Bowl Games” Begin
Finalists Named in Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest
Public Voting Now Open for 12th Annual Contest
Cincinnati, OH- September 2, 2013 - When you’ve gotta go, these top potties provide sweet relief, according to the team of survey editors tasked with narrowing down the ten best restrooms before the Internet public picks its favorite this fall.
“Will America decide that the nation’s top toilet is indeed “functional art” inspired by an Italian masterpiece on show at a Swiss museum? Perhaps it’ll be the “Pac Man” potty inside the Pacific Coast arcade that prides itself on preserving the “golden age” of gaming? Or will one of New York City’s most luxurious loos, a sprawling sophisticated space inside the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel, capture the crown to become America’s 2013 King of the Throne? We will soon find out as this year’s top ten public potties compete for the coveted title of Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom, the popular contest now celebrating its 12th year.
Voting begins now! The public is invited to show its support by casting a ballot for their favorite restroom online at through October 31 as these top 10 venues compete to secure the most votes in hopes of being crowned Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom.
The contest’s site takes visitors on a photographic tour of each facility and then encourages them to choose their favorite. The winner of the 12th annual Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest will be revealed during a nationally publicized media event later this fall, and both the winner and runner-up will secure a place in the Hall of Fame.
2013 Finalists for Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest
Viracocha /veerah-coach-a/
San Francisco, California
From the outside it’s an inviting, rustic looking boutique. Once inside, Viracocha’s quaint and cozy charm come to life beneath the high-beamed ceilings that house vintage clothing, antique furniture and other unique collectibles. Nestled in San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood, Viracocha is a haven for local artists, writers and musicians. This eclectic vintage store has become one of the Mission District’s most popular destinations – predominantly for its posh potty – which patrons say resembles a “Zen retreat” so magical you will wish you could live in it. Featuring vintage table lamps, a Victorian bath tub, and a cozy white arm chair, it comes as little surprise to locals that Viracocha’s ornate, spacious bathroom has been called “one of the top 10 places in the city to take a date” by several San Francisco bloggers and named as a finalist in this year’s America’s Best Restroom contest. “We regularly have to tell visitors to hurry up the tour,” joked store owner, Jonathan Siegel.
Alex Madonna Gold Rush Steak House
San Luis Obispo, California
You won’t be disappointed by the lavish décor of the Madonna Inn. But if you really want to relish in the lap of luxury, take a tour of the ladies loo inside the Alex Madonna Gold Rush Steak House. Designed to capture the same timeless elegance represented in other parts of the Inn, designer and co-owner Phyllis Madonna carried the colorful palette and patterns into the ladies room for a very pink, distinctly feminine appeal. The girly-chic washroom features carved-wooded stall doors adorned with tufted pink leather, an antiqued gold distressed-finished mirror, a dazzling ceiling chandelier, marble countertops, and pink embossed wallpaper with a gold leaf finish. One of the more notable design features seen throughout the Inn, and in this ladies restroom, are the signature native stone walls. Original photos of the Inn show the restroom’s stone walls being erected before any interior construction could begin.
Tampa International Airport
Tampa, Florida
Before blessing the budget to renovate Tampa International’s main terminal the CEO wisely noted that his airport restroom facilities “reflect the level of customer service provided by the business and it is something that people remember, for better or worse, so always make sure it’s better”. With 17 million passengers traveling through the Airport each year, that’s a lot of customer impressions. The 20 restrooms in the main terminal were renovated as part of the airport’s latest modernization project and were redesigned to provide a bright, clean atmosphere with a fresh, Florida feel. The restrooms feature automated, hands-free conveniences that exude a sanitary and modern feel. A family restroom, which features a changing station, bench seating and outlets for nursing mothers and guests with medical devices, is located directly adjacent to each set of restrooms. All of the high-end, quality materials used in the new facilities such as stainless steel, porcelain and quartz were selected for maximum durability and ease of maintenance. The focal point of each restroom is the full-wall graphic glass mural with a different image in each restroom. The murals were created from photographic prints that are floating between 2 panes of glass. The images were selected to depict scenery, animals and plant life all native to the state of Florida. Incorporating eco-friendly materials into the project was a high priority for the design team. State-of-the-art airblade hand dryers were added to cut down on paper waste. Lighting fixtures were replaced with LED lighting to reduce energy consumption while increasing the longevity of the fixtures. In addition, all of the toilets and urinals were replaced with low-flow fixtures reducing water usage by half.
Sloan’s Ice Cream
West Palm Beach, Florida
For ice cream fanatics, it may be hard to imagine anything more fantastic than a parlor filled with 47 flavors of your favorite frozen treat! But if you bypass the lollipops and licorice and beeline for the bathroom, you”re sure to find a surprisingly memorable sight – another of Sloan”s celebrated sensory experiences – its see-through bathrooms! When the restroom is empty the bathroom window visible to the parlor is clear, but once locked, a layer of fog blocks the view. Here”s the science behind it: sandwiched between the two panels of glass is a mixture of polymer and liquid crystals. A constant electrical current keeps the crystals in line and the glass transparent. But when the door handle is locked, the current is stopped, the crystals fall, and the glass looks clouded. Of course, you”ll still wonder when you take a seat whether or not it works! How”s that for sinfully sweet?
Varsity Theater
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Varsity Theater, formerly The University Theater, was one of the last vaudeville houses in Minneapolis and hosted everything from minstrel shows, to comedians, to screenings of early silent films. In 2005, the current incarnation of The Varsity Theater opened its doors as a vaudeville house for the 21st Century. The restroom, decorated with ornate, gilded mirrors, sassy text plates, and bricks laid as if by a drunken mason on bender, invites guests into an Alice In Wonderland-like grotto – to relieve themselves and re-live childhood fairy tales. One part old-fashioned powder room one part lounge, this restroom allows concert-goers to take a break in an area from which one can still view and hear the stage. Bartenders even serve drinks over the back counter into the restroom area, offering a VIP experience to every guest. The sinks were designed with shower head-faucets with a foot pedal operation, a la grade school restrooms. The lounge and hand washing area is coed, creating quite a social atmosphere, particularly when concert-goers are trying to figure out how to activate the sinks and they need to ask one another for the tip – use your toes. And of course, the women’s side of the restroom features four times as many stalls as the men’s side. In addition to hosting both local and national music acts the Varsity is a popular location for wedding receptions, private galas, and dream dates, coupled with dinner at their associated restaurant, Loring Pasta Bar.
Westfield Garden State Plaza
Paramus, New Jersey
Toilet availability, safety and sanitation are all primary concerns – but family friendly facilities top the latest toilet-related trends. When it comes to shared parental responsibility, especially in public places, this is more than a matter of “wee importance”. The bathrooms inside New Jersey’s Garden State Plaza are the epitome of family-friendly. The shopping mall’s two exclusive, newly renovated family lounges include private curtained stalls for nursing mothers, a granite countertop with multiple diaper changing stations, and bottle warmers. A comfortable common area features leather lounge chairs and loveseats, toys and a TV airing children’s programming. The lounges even offer private stalls complete with one standard sized toilet and a “pint-sized” potty, too.
Waldorf Astoria New York
New York, New York
It’s been said that using the washrooms in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria has, by now, become a rite of New York. The landmark hotel was designed by architects Schultze and Weaver and dates back to the early 1930’s The lobbies and entrance of the historical property have recently been restored to their 1930’s era art deco interior. The ladies lounge, located in the Park Avenue entrance lobby, features an Art Deco staircase, an elegant faux fireplace with oversized marble vanity. You will always be greeted by the bathroom attendant. Each private stall is an inclusive bathroom complete with a toilet, marble vanity, porcelain sink with brass fixtures and Salvatore Ferragamo bath amenities. The space is finished off with unique, timeless light fixtures.
Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
Portland, Oregon
This bathroom is downright Kool! When Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade reopened its doors to this renovated space in 2011, the video game-themed bathrooms stole the show. The premier arcade, dedicated to preserving video gaming’s “golden age” features 60 classic video games and 27 pinball machines. Portland interior designer Jessica Helgerson created the space by combining convenience features like touchless faucets, with retro-style arcade game graphics incorporated into the tile work of the floors and walls. The theme carries through to the mirrors by using a maze of small “pixel” squares instead of a single large surface, and even up to the ceilings where square LED lights illuminate the room. Custom designed and fabricated sinks glow with an ever-changing array of color powered by more LED bulbs.
Public Glass Bathrooms on the Square
Sulphur Springs, Texas
This small Texas town took a big leap back in 2012 when they debuted two all-glass bathrooms on their downtown square, the first of their kind in the United States. The pair of glass potties didn’t come cheap though. The masterpieces cost the City a pretty penny – $54,000 to be exact. But it’s all in the name of art. Make that “functional art.” Part of the inspiration for this project came from Italian art piece, Monica Bonivicini's ‘Don’t Miss A Sec’ from 2004, which was on display outside an art museum in Switzerland. The structure was initially part of the overall exhibit, but when construction workers began using the glass bathroom, the idea of “functional art” evolved. In order for the illusion to work properly, the outside of the structure must be more lit than the inside. These bathrooms have no lights on the inside and in order to see at night, LED lights were placed on the outside of the structure, for the illusion to remain. Sulphur Springs has the only functional, permanent and code complying glass bathrooms constructed with one-way mirrors. Users of the facility can see out, however, no one can see in. The design includes a spacious wheelchair-accessible interior and a gleaming stainless steel toilet and sink.
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is renowned for exhibits that feature art made from pottery, iron, enamel and brass. But in the bathroom? That’s right. The museum has six, artist-inspired restrooms throughout the building. The idea began in 1974 when Director Ruth Kohler wanted to show the connection between art and industry. At that time, artists around the world combined new technology and materials, including those from Kohler Co., the nation’s leading plumbing ware manufacturer. Artist Matt Nolen designed the largest restroom in the Kohler Arts Center. Known as Social History of Architecture, it features a floor-to-ceiling mural, complex paintings and ceramic art. Every inch of the room is full of color, from the walls and ceilings to the counters and fixtures. Admission to the Kohler Arts Center is free so stop by and take in the beauty...of a bathroom!
Fans can also participate by visiting the Best Restroom Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube Channel to post comments, receive contest updates, share photos or upload videos; links to all three sites are on the contest homepage.
“Cintas launched the America’s Best Restroom Contest twelve years ago to raise awareness of the importance of hygiene and to salute those businesses which strive for restroom excellence in both function and design,” said John Engel, Cintas’ Senior Marketing Manager.
Cintas Corporation (CTAS) accepted nominations for any non-residential restroom accessible to the general public online through the summer. Qualifying facilities were then judged and finalists were selected based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.
For more than 80 years, Cintas has serviced businesses nationwide and their clientele, who recognize the correlation between clean restrooms and customer satisfaction and retention. “It makes smart business sense to maintain the facilities in a restaurant, hotel or other public place as it undoubtedly influences a customer’s overall experience. Everyone can appreciate a clean, well-maintained and innovatively designed restroom,” Engel added.
Cintas Canada will announce its top finalists in the annual Canada’s Best Restroom Contest in September. Visit for more information.
About Cintas Corporation
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid and safety products, fire protection services and document management services to approximately 900,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.