When you’ve got to go to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, it seems that it’s also an inviting place to go — to the bathroom.
The airport’s many public restrooms collectively are in the running for the title of “America’s Best Bathroom.”
Online voting conducted by Cintas, a major supplier of products for public restroom facilities, started Tuesday for the best bathroom throne and continues until the lid is put down Nov. 2 on the virtual ballot box.
In explaining the airport’s credentials, Cintas was flush with detail: “Restroom zones are highlighted by softer lighting and a material palette that serves as a wayfinding icon. This zone includes a waiting area as well as an amenity node with flight information, emergency devices and curated art display cases. Art that reflects features of Minnesota is also featured within the restrooms, with original mosaic art in the entrances, created by a different regional artist at each set.”
MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan said, “In airports, restrooms are often the first place travelers visit when they get off a plane and the last place they visit before they board, so it’s important they are not only functional but also make a good, lasting impression.
With some bathroom sets being used roughly 140,000 times a month, Hogan added, the “materials need to be durable as well as comfortable, environmentally sustainable and attractive.”
MSP has about 100 “sets” of restrooms in both terminals. That includes those outside secure areas and employee areas beyond those serving the traveling public.
The restrooms are in the midst of a renovation program that began in 2009 and will continue until 2025. Among the upgrades are shelves for carry-on bags, built-in niches for rolling luggage and, yes, wider stalls.
Also competing for best bathroom honors in the 15th annual contest are: Coca-Cola Park, Allentown, Pa.; Leña Brava restaurant, Chicago; The Novel Neighbor bookstore, St. Louis; Safe House restaurant and bar, Milwaukee; Swift & Sons restaurant, Chicago; The Charmery ice cream shop, Baltimore; The Vine hotel restaurant, New York City; The Way Station saloon, Brooklyn, New York; and Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee.
In 2013, the bathroom at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis’ own Dinkytown came away with top honors.
For more information, including how to vote, visit www.bestrestroom.com/us. And don’t forget to wash your hands.