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Travel Tip #257: No Commode Is Too Good for YOUR Derrière.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of public restrooms.

Especially in extra touristy areas.

Although, they’re admittedly worse in some of the not-so-touristy areas, like Bagaces, Costa Rica.

One time I got locked inside the restroom at a bar in Bagaces, which was really only a coffin-like broom closet with no toilet paper and a splintery wooden door and happened to be the only fully enclosed room in the entire bar, but damn it if it wasn’t the best and more secure closed room ever, because the proprietor had to kick the door in with her foot to rescue me from my claustrophobic-induced panic as the walls started caving in around me.

But I digress.

There’s really nothing to do about those kinds of restroom situations except to carry a roll of toilet paper on your person and hope that someone — anyone — can hear you scream.

But there is something you can do about nasty restrooms in many heavily populated, touristy, first-worldy locations — the kind where every single commode is stuffed to the brim with toilet paper (if you’re lucky), bowel contents (if you’re not lucky), or covered in urine because someone was too dainty to sit fully on the seat and ironically has become the very culprit of the crime she was so worried about falling prey to, which, we all know, is sitting in someone else’s piss. So because she was so worried about getting some on herself, she dribbled more than a drunken sailor and worse, didn’t bother to clean it up.

Because she’s too good to wipe her own mess.


And obviously that scenario mostly applies to women, but I’m sure men can relate too, when it comes to the concern of cracking their heads on a porcelain urinal after slipping on an unknown wet floor substance likely deposited by an over-hygienically concerned patron who refuses to touch anything after he washes his hands and streams water across the chipped ceramic tiles as he maneuvers the door open with his elbows, therefore making life much more dangerous for everyone else.

Because these things happen.

And if everyone would just keep their pee in the toilets and the water in the sinks and thoroughly wash their hands like good boys and girls, we really wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.

But again, I digress.

Sometimes there’s something you can do to avoid these public human waste dumping monstrosities all-together.

When my friend Stacy and I were wandering around The River Walk in downtown San Antonio, Texas, we found ourselves in need of a facility. We were, however, on a fairly quiet sector of the walk, away from the bustling restaurants and shops and public restrooms. What was nearby were hotels. Seemingly dozens of high-class, glass-doored, glimmering, shiny, luxurious hotels with back door access to The River Walk.

For some, we could just walk right in.

What? We’re not in a public restroom? We totally thought ALL River Walk restrooms had marble tiles and wicker wastebaskets and totally private stalls. Huh.

For others, we coyly conversed just outside the doors until a Chanel-draped guest exited with her toy poodle (I swear that really happened, although maybe it wasn’t Chanel. Or a poodle.) and we slipped inside before the chance was lost forever.

Solid granite counters, anyone, with an intricate mosaic tile surround? Doubt they had THESE in the public restrooms.

Stacy feeling extra privileged as she enters the molded wood stall.

The thing about hotels is that once you’re inside, no one really dares ask whether or not you belong there.

And most have public restrooms in the lobby or better still, for us, in the finished and rarely occupied lower levels.

And we’re not really doing anything wrong — we’re just peeing, for crying out loud.

I’m sure the hotels would rather we go inside than whip out a shenis (don’t watch video at work) and go on the side of the building like common vagabonds.

I introduced my upscale hotel restroom crashing method to my baffled husband last week when someone — let’s just say it wasn’t me — announced that we’d have to leave the lovely Biltmore Village soon because someone — let’s just say it wasn’t me — had to do something that one would rather not do in a crowded restaurant restroom or other public facility.

Grabbing his hand and hauling him across the street, I whispered, “Act cool — we totally belong here,” as we strolled past the valet and crept in the back door of The Grand Bohemian Hotel.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville

It turns out we didn’t actually have to sneak since this stunning space is very much open to the public with an art gallery, restaurant, and — you guessed it — public restrooms.

Back entry.

Antlered ceiling, anyone?

I’m pretty sure these are the coolest mirrors ever.

I have more photos of this amazing hotel to share with you later, but, lucky for you, this post is specifically dedicated to bathrooms.


The next time you’re wandering around Tourist Land searching for a restroom, head for the hotels instead. I’m pretty sure this is sound — and totally legal — travel advice.

If it’s not, don’t call me from prison. You don’t know me. We never even had this conversation.

I will not take responsibility for your decision to poop in a hotel where you’re not paying to stay.

(But do write and tell me about it so I can amend this little post. Thank you.)


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You’re hilarious. I’m pretty sure *everyone* does this, no? Pubs work really well too. And Starbucks.


Yeah but that’s the thing — pubs and Starbucks are the worst restrooms with the worst messy offenders. And the employees never want to clean them. But at fancy hotels? There are employees specifically paid to clean bathrooms. It’s phenomenal. :)


Huh. Maybe Starbucks are posher here. I always find their washrooms quite spa-like and delightful.


Ha, so we have better Netflix, and you have better Starbucks. Go figure. :)


The cultural differences, I tell you. Astounding!


Not only am I calling from poop-prison, I’m naming you as the Kingpin. Maybe I’ll get off with a light sentence of cleaning the floor under a BK urinal. I just made myself gag…


Hah! Ew.
But Hah!


Great post and so true! My first job out of school, was at as a computer programmer at a small school in Wisconsin Rapids. I remember the janitor (I know, I’m politically incorrect, make that maintenance engineer but in my day they were janitors and I don’t think they minded being called that) once telling me that if he had been a maintenance engineer before he got married, that he never would have married. He thought women were absolute pigs – and he could tell you stories that make posting about ‘piss and poop’ seem sanitary!


I was not aware the word “janitor” was politically incorrect! But yes — women are SO gross. When I see a woman leave a particularly nasty stall, I just want to ask her if her own bathroom at home looks like that. If not, then why does she think it’s okay to leave that kind of mess for someone else to clean — janitor, maintenance engineer, or otherwise?


Heck, I’ve got that beat: some public urinals looks like someone was practicing their crotch-topiary skills.


Ahhh nooooononono.

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