SYDNEY — The toilets of the world often get a bad rap for being too sterile or stinky, for being dingy or dirty, or for lacking any character at all. But there are a few outstanding loos that are finally helping to get toilets and their bad rap out of the gutter.
The winners of the 2018 International Toilet Tourism Awards have just been announced, and a lone Canadian winner has found its way onto the list. Winning ‘Best Design’ is The Saskatchewan Science Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, which was recognized for its visual design and “fully-immersive experience by vision and sound”. Inspired by the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan, the newly refurbished restrooms feature floor-to-ceiling visuals by award-winning photographer Todd Mintz, as well as audio of birdsong and woodland sounds.
That’s right, you can pretend you’re doing a #1 or #2 while in the woods!
According to one judge, “The toilets inside the science centre are like stepping into another world where you can do your business amid the sights and sounds of nature, without having to worry about bears.”
The other winners include:
- Best Location: Hotel L Jolla (A Curio Collection by Hilton), Shores Drive, La Jolla, California. This restroom features large windows that let in loads of natural light, giving guests stunning views of La Jolla and the Pacific.
- Best Accessible Toilet: Brisbane Airport, Queensland, Australia. These upgraded toilets allow for specialized equipment such as an adult change table, hoist and a toilet with removable hand rails for people with severe disabilities, and even an indoor loo for guide dogs.
- Quirkiest Experience: Bowl Plaza, Lucas, Kansas, USA. There’s only one word to describe this public restroom – BLING! Now considered a major attraction, the bathroom has walls covered with detailed mosaics created by locals and artists and an entrance made to look like a raised toilet lid. The sidewalk to the loos flows from a large concrete toilet roll, and the entire building is shaped like a toilet tank.
- Best Economic Contributor: The Cummins Mosaic Loo, Cummins, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Australia. The local community converted a bland red brick toilet block from the former railway station into a public loo featuring statues, mosaics and paintings. “Unlike some entries in the wards, Cummins has few visitors,” said one judge. “They have therefore done a great job creating a ‘must-see’ attraction that generates income for local businesses.”
- Overall Winner and Category Winner for Overall Contribution to Toilet Tourism: The James Bond Loos at Piz Gloria, Murren, Switzerland. Located at 297 metres at the top of Mt Schilthorn, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant and visitor centre has embraced a James Bond theme since it was used as Blofeld’s Lair in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Refurbished in 2017, the loo now includes incredible audiovisual effects, including Bond girl Diana Rigg who appears in the mirror when men wash their hands. Also in the men’s room: signs that say ‘Shake, don’t stir’ and ‘Aim like James’. The ladies’ loo, meanwhile, has music and a shot ringing out as an image of James Bond appears in the mirror beside a bullet hole. And the piece de resistance? An audio of Bond saying, “Tonight, my place – just the two of us.” SWOON!
Submissions for the International Toilet Tourism Awards, now in its second year, were received from tourism destinations across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The toilets were judged for their design, quirkiness, location, accessibility and economic contribution to their locality.
The awards were created by MyTravelResearch.com, which aims to show the close link between innovative, clean toilets with great design and a successful local tourism economy.