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Two airport restrooms in the running to take the throne of America’s Best Restroom

Aug. 13, 2022
5 min read
New restroom at Newark Liberty International Airport
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With travel back on the table, the challenge of finding a clean public restroom is back on the list of things travelers worry about when they’re in airports, restaurants, museums, parks, highways and attractions.

The good news is that there are public restrooms out there that are not only clean, but thoughtfully designed, stylish and, sometimes, very quirky. And for 20 years the Cintas-sponsored America’s Best Restroom contest has put the most innovative and hygienic public restrooms on a throne.

This year, we’re pleased to see newly upgraded restrooms at two airports among the 10 finalists: an all-gender restroom suite at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and the colorful, new locally themed restrooms at Tampa International Airport (TPA).

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Potty parity at EWR

(Photo courtesy of Newark Liberty International Airport)

At Newark Liberty International Airport, the challenge was how to expand restroom capacity in a cramped 1970s-era terminal departure lounge.

An all-gender restroom, a first for any Port Authority of New York and New Jersey facility, was the answer.

“It’s also one of the first of its kind designed and constructed at a major U.S. airport,” said James Gill, general manager of the Port Authority’s New Jersey airports.

The new restroom configuration offers “potty parity” and privacy for all users while expanding the number of users who can be accommodated. There are areas where traveling companions can wait and where passengers can reorganize.

There’s also imagery integrated into the architectural glass and tile designed to establish a sense of place. Sound and scent complement the visual experience to help create a calming environment.

“Developing restrooms that are clean and customer-friendly, and that offer a truly innovative design, is an important part of the agency’s effort to provide the best possible customer experience at all of its facilities, including Newark Liberty,” said Gill.

Toilets at TPA

(Photo courtesy of Tampa International Airport)

This is the second time Tampa International Airport has been a finalist in Cintas' America’s Best Restroom contest.

In 2013, TPA made the cut for 20 renovated restrooms in the Main Terminal. This time TPA is being recognized for the newly reconstructed Airside C restrooms. Half have been refurbished recently; the other half should be completed and open before Thanksgiving.

The nominated restrooms at Tampa International Airport welcome travelers to a uniquely Florida experience. Elements include large graphics and natural, deep blue stone with undulating veining intended to be reminiscent of waves crashing along the shore.

“We know from the many surveys and passenger experience studies airports conduct annually that restrooms are a top factor in customer satisfaction,” said TPA spokesperson Emily Nipps. “It’s often the first place that travelers stop when they land in Tampa, or the last before they depart.”

For that reason, said Nipps, “TPA puts a lot of pride and effort into not only building beautiful restroom spaces that reflect the colors and vibe of the Tampa Bay region but maintaining and cleaning them to meet the highest standards of hospitality.”

Other restrooms in the running

(Photo courtesy of Tori Tori/Facebook)

One other restroom finalist for the 2022 America’s Best Restroom is Tori Tori, a Japanese pub in Orlando, Florida.

While not in an airport, the restroom design is inspired by the green leaf wallpaper and the green restroom scene from the 2004 biopic “The Aviator,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as billionaire tycoon and aviator Howard Hughes.

Related: Spruce Goose getting ready for the 75th anniversary of its only flight

The space has dark green hues, light touches of marbling, floral displays, and gold accented mirrors and faucets.

The seven other restrooms vying to be America’s Best Restroom this year include the self-cleaning restrooms at North Hollywood Recreation Center that have touchless toilet tissue dispensers, soap dispensers, faucets and hand dryers.

Also on the list is a prohibition-themed restroom in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that has an old whiskey barrel for a sink and a beer handle tap for the water.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) was awarded America’s Best Restroom award in 2016. Last year, Two Cities Pizza in Mason, Ohio, took the throne. Its winning restroom was outfitted as a New York subway platform and train car, with station stops playing over the speaker, authentic subway handles above the sinks and graffiti on the walls.

Take a seat and vote

Cintas invites the public to help choose this year’s winner. Voting is open through Aug. 31, 2022.

The winner receives $2,500 in facility services and restroom bragging rights.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of EWR Airport for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases