A public Pay Toilet in downtown Boston

A public Pay Toilet in downtown Boston

[Flickr/michelle murphy]

One of the many perils of touring any city is trying to find a conveniently located public restroom. Very few restaurants like to accommodate non-paying tourists breathlessly trying to push their way to back, and even most fast food emporiums insist you that become a customer before using their facilities. To make your wanderings throughout Boston as painless as possible, here’s a list of the city’s better placed public bathrooms (for those with small children or elderly adults – you even might want to print this out!):

1. The Boston Public Library – Located on Dartmouth Street in Copley Square. Enter the main building, pass the security equipment/check-in desk, take a left before the stairs and then follow the signs. Make sure to check out the lions guarding the elegant stairway going up to the main reading rooms, and after the pressure is off, take a walk through the lovely center courtyard. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of Copley Square’s great hotels – like the Marriott Copley Place, Westin Copley Place, the Lenox or Fairmont Copley Plaza – you can just go there simply to appreciate the architecture. Open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday-Saturday (longer during the summer) and 1 PM – 5 PM Sundays.

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Bed and bathtub at The Standard separated by a quarter-inch of glass.

The bathtub in the Standard New York's superior room is at the head of the bed.

Who was it who decided that hotel bathrooms — which most of us have long regarded as places where can you do your business alone – no longer need to offer privacy? If you’ve stayed at a design-oriented hotel lately, you may know what I’m talking about: Bathrooms with windows or glass walls that allow the occupant to see out into the rest of the room — and anyone else in the room to see in. The trend seems to have started a couple years ago and continues apace — at least four hotels that opened in the past six months, including the brand new Andaz Wall Street, have eschewed opaque bathroom walls for transparent ones. 

Many people presumably find it sexy to watch their lovers lather up.  But glass bathrooms are also a clever design trick for making a small room feel bigger. It certainly works at the Standard New York, where some rooms measure in at a cramped 230 square feet. Less so the W Washington D.C., where the translucent shower stall right next to the bed seems to emphasize the room’s diminutive size. In any case, we think they’re kind of fun – if less than ideal for traveling with friends (without benefits), colleagues, or, as the woman interviewed in this New York Times article noted, family members.

Take a look at some of the examples we’ve come across over the past year, after the jump.

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