To coincide with World Toilet Day on Tuesday of this week, Better Bathrooms compiled a list of what the staff feel are the 10 most unusual loos around the world and as well as being unusual they’re all currently completely free of charge to use. At 15,190 feet above sea level, Saint-Gervaise-Les-Bains on Mont Blanc has specially designed toilets for use in extreme conditions. These ‘dry’ toilets are waterless and chemical-free, instead utilising a worm-composting system to deal with the waste.
What is believed to be the priciest toilet is at Moon River Art Park in Shanghai, China. Situated within a man-made cave system designed to resemble a grotto, it cost $600,000 to build and it received 500,000 visitors in its first year – no doubt each one of them had a camera with them…
The safest is said to be at the Zhongguan Village Plaza, Beijing. Used by some 500,000 people a year (mainly tourists) it cost $100,000 to build, weighs 15 tonnes, is bulletproof and resistant to explosives. Just why it’s been built that way I’m not sure!
The Victorians are famous for their love of washroom culture and the ‘most Victorian’ loo can be found on the Isle of Bute. Considered to be one of the finest examples of its kind in Britain, the ‘Gents’ has decorative ceramic tiles and ceramic mosaic flooring. Its original fittings cost £503 when the facility was built in 1899 – the equivalent of £52,400 in today’s money.
The most luxurious washroom is said to be at the 2,000-seat Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in Branson, Missouri, USA. The ‘Ladies’ contains a fountain, granite and onyx pedestal basins adorned with fresh orchids, fixtures of black Italian marble and gold and chandeliers that hang from an Empire tin ceiling. The ‘Gents’ is no less impressive, with black lion-head basins, a marble fireplace and even a mahogany billiard table. An incredible 80,000 fresh violets are used each month to help freshen the air in the 1,800 square feet washrooms.
The most ‘arty’ place’ is the John Michael Kohler Art Centre in Wisconsin, US. Its bathrooms feature art and sculpture by six resident artists, who used Kohler Company technologies and materials to create their designs in the six unique bathrooms. The 99,000 square feet art centre attracts 100,000 visitors each year so the washrooms are regularly used and the art closely enjoyed rather than simply admired from afar.
The most picturesque is at the Boston Bay High Camp, in the USA’s Washington State. Apparently this outdoor loo offers a spectacular view of the 8,190 foot Johannesburg Mountain in the North Cascades National Park. Some 400,000 people visit the park each year so we wonder whether there’s a queue for the loo at busy times or whether it’s outdoors and exposed to the stares of passers-by.
The most innovative is said to be at the Daimaru Department Store – part of Tokyo train station’s north tower. It incorporates some of today’s finest toilet innovations and features bidet-style technology with temperature-controlled water; remote control heated, ergonomically contoured seats and a device that plays recordings of the ocean! (Ed. Not sure if this is to promote relaxation or promote the ‘urge to go’!)
What appears to be the most spacious – and possibly the weirdest – sits in a 200 square metre garden in Ichihara-Shi, Japan. What makes it seem so spacious is that it has glass walls so actually offers the illusion of being in the open air. The patch of land on which it sits is close to the local train station but is fenced off – making it (allegedly) completely private. The project cost $125,000.
The loneliest loo is on Alaska’s Mount McKinley in the Denali National Park. It can only be reached by ski plane and was built as part of the Don Sheldon Mountain House in 1966. It is 6,000 feet up and set on a five acre block of rock and ice. If you want to visit this particular facility, do take care with your timings as because of weather conditions, it’s only safe to visit during three months of the year.