Visit our Loo of the Week, The Cove, Halifax Harbour, Grenada.
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Rest of World
It is a personal guide to the best places to visit the loo/go to the toilet/visit the "restroom"/"bathroom", in various places throughout the world. It is not comprehensive and has no intention of being so.
It has 2 major purposes, other than helping those of us who are sensitive to these things find a loo when away from home. One slightly frivolous one is to try to spread knowledge of the word "loo" amongst English-speaking nations. I am fed up of being stared at in incomprehension by people who speak my own language. The other is to show that loos do matter to people who use bars and restaurants. Too many loos in otherwise pleasant places are stuck at the top or bottom of staircases (All Bar One is a particular sinner where this is concerned), are small and poky, dirty, poorly equipped or just plain horrible. How many refurbished gastro pubs spend a fortune on leather sofas and keep the old man's pub loos? (answer: plenty, at least where I live). Customers should be able to expect clean and pleasant facilities, not tacked on as an afterthought as you've paid for your drinks by then.
Many thanks to Karen Smith & family, address given only as the mid-west of the USA. They assure me that the use of the word loo is spreading in the US thanks to our own Ozzy Osbourne's charming West Midlands vernacular, and Karen's daughter is wisely insisting on naming their own new facility thusly. Karen, you may also like to know that powder room, although not widely used, is widely understood, however I suspect it may be an Americanism, as I chiefly remember it from Breakfast at Tiffanys, where Holly Golighty always demands a hefty 50 dollars from her wealthy gentlemen friends "for the powder room".
Stop Press!! The excitement. I've finally found somewhere where they say loo - Kenya.
The site is based in the UK but its remit is worldwide. However, as none of us is David Attenborough or Alan Whicker, that doesn't mean it covers everywhere. It does get updated quite regularly so please keep coming back if you like it!
Anywhere that the public can access, either a public toilet or a bar/restaurant/hotel lobby/tourist attraction etc. Basically it doesn't include private houses, offices or hotel rooms. What you'll find featured here are not necessarily the best in the world. Some are extraordinary by any standards, some a haven of cleanliness in an area where it is lacking, some just show what a bit of thought and basic hygiene can do in an otherwise unremarkable space. It's easier for a smart restaurant in central London to have great loos than a small bar in a lonely corner of Greece and we've born this in mind when deciding whether or not to include something on the site.
Cleanness, freshness, liquid soap, proper towels, plenty of paper, space to turn around, locks that lock, imagination, a bit of history, even a fine view (so long as the view's not outside in!).
Lights that don't work, watery floors, paper that's run out by 7pm, space so tight your bottom rubs on the sanitary towel bin, gimmicks.
Most of the loos were visited before this site was founded and I may be odd but it doesn't stretch to randomly photographing strange loos. I would like to include photos & hope to build up some. If you visit any of them, and take a picture, please email it to us & we'll include it. (This is no longer a valid excuse; I just don't take my camera everywhere, OK? Actually I do have one picture, I just haven't got round to uploading it yet. And one seems almost worse than none.)
No. All have been visited by one of the Good Loo team and have our personal stamp of approval. We'd like to keep it that way. However we would welcome suggestions of loos to visit (there's a list of places where we're planning to go to soon, any suggestions in those areas especially welcome) and we would be particularly delighted to receive updates on anywhere featured on the site.
By popular demand from our American visitors, here's where I am told the word "loo" comes from. In the Middle Ages, before the invention of the flushing toilet, people would use a chamber pot under their bed. To empty it, they would simply chuck the contents out of the window onto the street below. To warn passers by, they shouted the Norman French expression, "Guardez l'eau!" - i.e. beware of the water. This became corrupted over time into "Gardy loo!". Hence today in England we say "loo".
I can't swear to the veracity of this story! If this has been helpful to you, or if you have heard an alterative version, we'd be delighted to hear from you, so please email us. We'd also be very interested to know if you're from somewhere other than Great Britain or Ireland & use the word loo, as even in places like Barbados with an English heritage it tends to produce blank looks.
The Good Loo Guide is based in Hanwell in West London. So we're there (and roundabout) quite a lot.
On our hit list for the next year are:
Maybe even Hawaii (Fuel Cell conference dependant)
Visit our links page.
UK ...includes London, Bristol, Bath, Harrogate, Guernsey and more...
Europe ...includes Paris, Greece, Poland etc...
Rest of World ...includes South Africa, USA, Japan, Barbados, South Korea...