What's the best restroom in America?

Harriet Baskas
Stuart Dee | Stockbyte | Getty Images

Public restrooms are usually better known for having lists on their walls rather than appearing on any lists themselves. But there are bathrooms, and then there are bathrooms in the "America's Best Restroom" contest.

After all, some establishments do loos right, with spotless sinks and stalls, unique design features and a dash of surprise and creative flair. And they should be celebrated. When they do rise above, "it shows a commitment to quality across the board," said Danny Rubin, survey editor for the annual competition hosted by restroom service company Cintas.

"If an owner is going to put so much attention into the restroom, it shows you how much they care about the entire building," said Rubin.

Have a seat and consider some recent contest winners.

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The 17 lavatories at 2014 winner Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia, are part of the largest living "Green Wall" in North America. The restrooms at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, the contest's 2013 winner, have bar service and a view out to the venue's concert stage. And the 2012 winner, a Buc-ees convenience store in New Braunfels, Texas offers patrons a choice of 83 spotless thrones.

Cintas is now rounding up the list of go-worthy restrooms for the 2015 contest. Nominations are open until June.

"It's remarkable that we've had a fresh list of 10 great restrooms on the ballot for each of the past 13 years," said Rubin, "but we keep finding out about great restrooms in hotels, museums, parks, airports, stores, malls, theaters and other places around the country that we haven't heard of before."

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What makes a public restroom a contender?

A restroom being nominated should be extremely clean, of course, but it should also be able to pass the "eye test," said Rubin. "Do people go in, look around and say 'Wow, that's spectacular,' do they talk about it, does it generate buzz?"

Being nominated is an honor all its own, of course, but the public restroom that comes in first place in the contest gets $2,500 worth of restroom services. The three venues that get the most votes get their restrooms deep-cleaned.

By Harriet Baskas,

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