Brad’s Bathroom Review

  • Well… keeping with past travel adventures, the restroom review is again in order. Keep in mind that we subscribe to the Cathy Briner philosophy….”never pass up a clean restroom”. However, sometimes such stops come with surprises….both good….and bad. So….let’s start the review with how could it be worse than this….
  • As much as I thought this would be an easy one to pick, there were several challengers in the running for the title. The winner however was found yesterday. It was the public restroom in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It was SO disgusting, I skipped the photos……showing them to you would have forever etched the images in your mind. You’d never be able to unsee it.
  • Let’s just say, the brutalist style prison architecture of the interior was only exceeded by the stench of god knows what. The stench was so bad that no self respecting vulture would have come within a country mile of the place. I’m sure it’s taken years of guys pissing on very thing in sight to develop that sophisticated pallet of intertwined pungent putrid smells combined with mild essence of week old sidewalk barf……you getting the idea of why one wouldn’t spend more than 3 seconds in the place? The sink looked like a metal condom dispenser….you had to push the button on the SS panel to get water to squirt into a hole in the wall. No way would I stick a hand in that hole! The urinal was a trench in the floor that looked like the damn Grand Canyon….who knows where the bottom was…and I didn’t go looking. I didn’t want to fall in! Rescue could have been questionable! A good hosing down by the fire brigade using 55 gallons of Lysol would have been an improvement and would not have damaged a thing in the room. Alternatively, throwing in a pissed off skunk for a bit would have given the overall stench that little something extra it needed to kill off the few remaining scent bits left in my nose after walking in the door. This is one restroom that was best passed up on a dead run, even though it doesn’t look so bad from the outside!
  • There were numerous facilities that probably rated honorable mention in the middle of the road category. Most were in pubs. Clean but tiny by most standards. Sometimes the layout gave pause ask “Why did they do that?” Example… the London Gin Club… enter a door off the bar area only to be met with a small vestibule…note…small! Yet right there on the wall is the hand dryer….nothing else…no sink…just a hand dryer. So…pressing on you enter the inner sanctum where there is a sink on the wall along with the other normal pieces of porcelain sculpture. The layout did give pause to what kinds of things could be living on that door handle. I’m sure there was a good reason for the layout…..but my architectural sense couldn’t find it. Overall…..most facilities were nothing to write home about and met the Briner criteria of being clean.
  • In terms of themed decoration, the Cowes Ale House had a cute set up

  • We didn’t need to go when we were at the top of the Shard, darn.

  • At Kew Gardens, the restrooms were restrooms….nothing notable, EXCEPT….right there on the wall as you leave there is an electronic clock telling you how long until the next cleaning…but more importantly, it has buttons you can push to rate your experience. People were using it…..nice idea. Documented feedback on how the custodial staff is doing from the front line user…..

  • OK….while not in London, United’s Polaris Club clearly needs a shout out for being a VERY nice airport lounge. Beyond the basic amenities, is the Quiet lounge….and Shower suites. Just couldn’t pass up that opportunity after the crazy time we had getting to SFO. The facilities were first class…..sure hope our lottery tickets pay off so we can fly first class all the time!

  • The clear choice in the category goes to the Claridge Hotel. Fortnum and Mason, the Queens grocery store, was in the running until the comment from the snippy men’s clothing sales guy “Oh….nice cargo pants” as I walked by. Didn’t even bother to take any photos there. After that little gem, it didn’t matter…..they were out of the running. Stuffy dude!
  • One honorable mention for the best public restroom sink ever seen…..sculptural and faucets at heights that worked for lots of folks…. this was at the London Transport Museum.

  • OK……back to the best of the best……The award goes to The Claridge Hotel. First of all, the hotel is Art Deco and beautiful inside and out. The high tea was wonderfully tasty! When headed to the restroom, you are confronted with an attendant at the top of the stairs to the “Gentleman’s room”. He greeted me and asked if there was anything he could do for me. I thanked him and said no while noting the obvious presence of the tip bowl.
  • The stairs going to actual restroom were elegantly curved and comfortable. Once at the bottom, the restroom unfolded in all its class and beauty. No paper towels or electric blow dryers in this place…..only rolled cloth towels were to be found. In the carefully crafted toilets stalls, the toilet seats appeared to be rosewood or walnut. I’m sure it makes taking a load off a real pleasure.
  • Urinals, absolutely top of the line. They had glass splash guards so you couldn’t pee on your shoes even if you tried! I’ve never seen such an arrangement. It was like a Ronco ad….I didn’t know I needed the splash guard until I saw one…classy! You’d have to work pretty hard to hit your shoes with these things in place. They must be a clean up nightmare though. With enough money, you can create high class places….including restrooms.
  • After a quick stop, I left a pound in the tip dish and thanked the attendant and headed back to high tea. So….hats off to The Claridge Hotel for having the best restroom we experienced in London!

One thought on “Brad’s Bathroom Review

  1. There’s a book here: the combined bathroom reviews from all of your travels. Truly, think it could be an interesting coffee table item. Especially love the architect’s view of the how/why/what of design.


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