7 Extraordinary Bathrooms & How You Can Visit Them

Although we drool over gourmet kitchens, and ooh and awe when we see the outdoor living spaces complete with water features, the truth is the bathroom remains our favorite room. This love affair is no doubt due to the fact that this is the one area we feel entitled to dedicate a few minutes to ourselves, no matter how demanding our lives.

cramped bathroomEven while traveling, we always comment on the cleanliness, or lack thereof, when using the public facilities. When it comes to bathrooms, we love both the over-the-top indulgence of the most luxurious spa retreats, and quirky features of public restrooms which defy the imagination.

Although you may be surprised that anyone actually built one of these oddities, we promise they really do exist. Sit back and prepare to be amazed at a few of the world's most extraordinary bathrooms. Remember, no handle-jiggling or door-banging is allowed as you review these extraordinary works of washroom art!

1. If the Sound of Running Water Makes You Want to Go…

aquarium bathroomYou'll love this public restroom at the Mumin Papa Cafe in Akashi, Japan. For a mere $275,000, this beach-side eatery has created a peaceful oasis for diners responding to the call of nature. Talk about amazing bathrooms! With three sides completely encased in an aquatic fantasy world, no one needs any reading material in this loo. 

Although the complete silence may make it seem like you're completely isolated from the outside world, the Mumin Papa facilities include a curious sea turtle to keep you company while you attend to your personal business.  If you find yourself in this seaside hamlet, make it a point to have lunch or dinner at Mumin Papa. The affordable price of a meal is well worth this unique experience.

2. So, You Deserve a Golden Throne?

gold bathroomIf so, sit for awhile on the fully-functional golden toilet in this world-famous Honk Kong bathroom. For a mere $25,000 a night, you can sit your bum on a gilt toilet seat in the Swisshorn Gold Palace , and follow with a quick clean-up using the matching bidet.

In fact, everything in this lux lavatory is made of at least 14K gold, right down to the mirrored tile. For those of us who can't ante up a cool 25K for a night of private indulgence, simply take the poor-man's tour for the bargain price of $3.00. Of course, you won't get a chance to actually use this Midas-touch fantasy for that price.

Although recent gold prices have forced the owner of the Swisshorn Gold Palace, the famous jeweler Mr. Lam, to sell off portions of the suite, he promises that nothing would ever make him melt down the 24K gold toilet that has earned him a prestigious spot in the Guiness Book of World Records.

3. Short on Space? Try this All-In-One, Fold-Up Bathroom

vertical bathroomThe world's first, completely-vertical, fully-integrated bathroom system might be the butt of jokes for most Americans, but for space-challenged Brits, it's the perfect answer to cramped flats, where every square inch has to perform double-duty.

With two shower systems, a toilet, a sink, and several storage areas, this modular unit is definitely functional, if not luxurious.

While this may be a modern decor lover's dream piece, the compact nature likely won't fit every lifestyle.  However, for those who need the space, this could be the perfect solution!

The question remains: will the Vertebrae catch on with American households? Once the 9,000 price-tag is converted into US dollars, probably not. Of all the extraordinary bathrooms on this list, this one's the most practical.

4. If You'd Like a Little Company

open bathroomVisit the world's largest public restroom is in Chongqinq, in Southwestern China. To serve the apparently enormous needs of residents and tourists, this Far East city built a very unusual, four-story facility with a twist. The urinals feature interesting sculptures in place of the traditional white porcelain. Open Bathroom

As you listen to the soft, piped in music, watch a little TV, and wonder how Egyptian decor was thought fitting for this Chinese house of potties, better known as "Sunshine Toilet," don't let the saintly look of a Madonna-esque fixture or the equally-snappy personality of a red croc put you off your game.

Unlike many of the other extraordinary bathrooms on this list, anyone can walk right up and use these urinals for free. If you're a little shy or in desperate need to go number-two, Sunshine Toilet also has more than 1,000 stalls. Be careful of the sinks, though: these little masterpieces resemble forward-bending patrons in provocative poses.

5. Is it a Bathroom or a Zen Retreat?

art bathroomAlthough this bath is in a private home, it's definitely worth mentioning. One couple has earned an honorable mention for their bathroom design by the do-it-yourself media giant, Art Deco Bathroom HGTV. A courtyard complete with koi pond has been converted into a uniquely tropical master bath. With walls and ceilings made of glass, pine decking, and tons of exotic plants, you could close your eyes and feel like you have been transported to the Far East every time you take a shower.

Of course, if you'd like to experience the real thing, you can always rent a fabulous vacation home in charming Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. In the same area celebrities like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Oscar de La Renta call home, the Villa Las Palmas awaits your arrival. As you settle in, you'll find that the indoor/outdoor bathroom of one of the master suites is just as elegant as this home's name implies.

jacuzziAs you start from the inside, you'll find a traditional, opulent bath complete with a reclining nude statue. Continue your journey through the garden doors to discover the hidden gem of this fabulous estate: completely enclosed within a lush, tropical paradise, guests can lounge privately in the handmade hot tub or rinse off under the outdoor shower.

As you emerge from your very own Garden of Eden, join the other guests in the next-best water feature, the infinity pool complete with a Zen fountain.

6. I'd Like a Little Art to go With My...

bathroom chairIf you like a little distraction while you go potty, put down the newspaper, and get a load of this unconventional art gallery. The Chamber Pot Gallery in Yellow Springs, Ohio offers their artists a captive audience by displaying their masterpieces on the wall of this exclusive public toilet/nouveau art showcase.

After your most important business is taken care of, jot down the name of your favorite artist to make a purchase. Also, take a look around the replica 1880 train station, which houses an unusual display, or hop on your bike to take a trip down the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail .

Admission is absolutely free, and the facilities are open from 8 AM to 8 PM, 365 days a year.

7. Now We've Heard it All

high tech bathroomIt seems you can't even escape modern technology while satisfying the most basic human need. Sega has created a series of toilet-oriented video game systems, called Toylet. Although this one will be considered sexist, because it's definitely geared towards the male sector of bathroom clientele, this game takes body-controlled action one step further by providing "stream-controlled" action.

Next time you happen to be in Tokyo and feel the urge, choose one of these game options to pass the time, but you’ll have to get the details of each game on your own:
  • Mannikin Pis
  • Graffiti Eraser
  • Battle! Milk From Nose
  • The Northern Wind, the Sun, and Me

From tranquil, ocean-inspired restrooms to facilities designed for the serious gamer, it seems we could spend our entire lives in one or more of these amazing bathrooms. Considering this is the one room in the house where we can expect a few minutes completely to ourselves in a hectic world, it's no wonder that thought is so compelling. What would you do to your bathroom if you had an unlimited budget?

Image Credits:
  • http://www.everythingfabiolus.com/wp-content/uploads/drunk-dude-asleep-in-bathroom.jpg
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00061/loo4_akashi_61595a.jpg http://estb.msn.com/i/9F/913E8069263770BBB7628C64A2E63.jpg
  • http://imagesus.homeaway.com/mda01/b1a17fd0b1017edcf0026f2bc08ffd0f89808339
  • http://www.alhambraantiques.com/webphotos/C1641.jpg
  • http://www.bombzai.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/sega-toylet.jpg
  • http://topstail.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/most-unique-collection-of-bathroom-and-full-of-imagination-in-the-world-5.jpg
  • http://www.bathroomsoftheworld.com/random-images.html
  • http://www.bombzai.com/sega-creates-video-game-toilet/

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