Due to a love for road trips and an over-active bladder, I’ve had the misfortune of touring America’s men’s rooms.
Thousands of hotels, countless truck stops, and the occasional road side attraction are all equals when judged from the porcelain throne.
Get ready to see some of the worst public bathrooms you can experience. But don’t worry – there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Some bathrooms are great.
1. West End Lodge; Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is a wonderful place to bed down for the night. Every bar on Broadway has live music and every band features a hot chick playing upright bass.
The beer is cheap, the butter flows, and all the food is fried. So, plan on hanging out in your hotel bathroom later; bring a thick book and choose your battleground wisely.
Avoid the West End Lodge at all costs.
For $59.99 guests are treated to uplifted tiles in the bathroom floor which reveal a feisty mildew; the source of your room’s odor. The sink comes standard with stains of colorful and indeterminate origin.
The bathtub drain is clogged with enough human (I hope) hair to fashion yourself a towel, which is good because the maid isn’t bringing any.
Finally, in what I can only describe as an art instillation piece, there was a coffee stain on the toilet. I was mesmerized by its perfectly circular shape. I pondered its existence and my own… for a full thirty seconds before switching hotels.
2. The Potty Queen outside Meteorite Crater, Arizona
Forty minutes outside of Flagstaff, Arizona is the amazing, natural landmark ‘Meteor Crater’. 55,000 years ago a meteorite crash-landed in the desert and killed everything in an 8 mile radius.
For 20 dollars a park ranger gives a tour along the rim pointing out all kinds of interesting sand. If you don’t feel like dropping the cash for a geology lesson, you can’t use the facility’s facilities.
The Meteor people aren’t heartless, just business-minded. With no official lavatory for an hour in any direction, Meteorite Crater wisely offers a Potty Queen to those passing by looking for relief.
Of course, this Potty Queen has been sitting in 104 degree desert heat for years and serviced only on the rare occasion that the fecal matter contained within doesn’t evaporate on its own.
I’m not sure what the boiling point of poo is, but it smells terrible.
3. The Truck Stop off I-30, Rockwall, Texas
President Eisenhower invented the interstates as an excuse to move tanks (artillery, not septic) across the country very quickly. Little did Ike know, a whole new society would spring up in the detours along his freeway.
Truck stops offer food, lodging, and gas to everyone. They can either be an oasis in a grueling journey or an inescapable rat hole.
A truck stop chain off I-30 in Texas, is the latter. You might confuse the parking lot for a latrine thanks to the thick scent of urine, but the restrooms are worse.
Tired truckers share prison style community showers and evacuate their bowels while they wash. These are busy people and all drains lead to the same place. Make sure you get your food before the low flow sprinkle; there’s going to be a mess after that beef briquette tears out your stomach lining.
4. The Riviera in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Riviera flushed its first toilet on April 20, 1955. It was a stunning resort in Las Vegas with all the amenities of luxury living.
Previous to the Riviera, strip resorts were just roadside motor courts and motels. The decadence of its design was still ahead of its time by the 60’s.
And so the Riviera has remained, trapped in Kennedy’s America for the last 50 years. The bathrooms suffer the worst from this time warp travesty.
Gaudy marble fills the showers walls, gold veins snake through the mirrors and the chrome shower curtain has cigarette holes in it (I’m as baffled as you).
It’s like bathing in your Grandmother’s living room.
5. Hotel 41 on Broadway, New York, NY
There’s nothing wrong with Hotel 41 in concept. It’s a clean, stylish hotel right in the middle of New York City. The staff is pleasant, the bar is swank and the breakfast is continental.
The only strike against 41 is that, unless your shelling out money for the penthouse, the bathroom is the size of a phone booth…
Space is so tight the electrical outlets had to be cut right into the vanity mirror. The sink hangs over the toilet and blocks the two-ply from reach.
When you’re sitting on the throne, your feet are in the shower. There’s no room for a whole shower curtain, just a two foot wide glass partition that deflects water perfectly around the room, soaking the proportionally tiny towels that Hotel 41 provides.
The Best Public Restroom in America:
Drake Hotel – Chicago, Illinois
Since the roaring 20s, The Drake Hotel has been a staple of Michigan Avenue’s “Gold Coast”. The Drake has hosted royalty, survived disco, and stayed classy.
However, it’s most notable quality, at least as of June 2009, was its indoor plumbing. According to the Cinta’s Best Restrooms in America Contest, the Palm Court does not disappoint.
The decor includes in-stall make-up tables, antique palm tree murals, elegant sconces, and multiple chandeliers.
Your number 2 will feel like number 1!