Want to do your business in luxury? Our restroom-savvy readers suggest that you drop by the mall or Balboa Park. But stay away — far way — from certain restrooms at the beach unless you absolutely, positively have to go.

Last week, we asked readers to tell us about the best and worst restrooms in town. We’re looking for ideas about where to photograph a local man who’s a leading expert on restroom etiquette.

Plenty of readers responded and offered their perspectives on places to go potty.


• “The best public bathroom in town: any family restroom at Westfield shopping centers, like the one inside the Mission Valley Shopping Mall food court,” writes J.M. “Seriously, they’re awesome, especially if you have kiddos: couches, TVs, toys, private nursing rooms, bottle warmers, microwaves, and both regular and tyke-size sinks and potties.”

She acknowledges that “my standards for ‘nice’ have certainly changed since before having kids. That was before I changed the diaper of an angry baby on the floor of a dirty, noisy, florescent-lighted cubicle stall or coaxed my preschooler to use a Porta Potty outside Kobey’s Swap Meet.”

• Stephanie Thompson of Mission Hills appreciates the restroom at one of the most upscale department stores around. “Nice, clean restrooms with lounges and couches became especially important to me when I had my babies and looked for someplace quiet and comfortable to nurse them when we were out of the house. For that, you can’t top the Nordstrom ladies’ lounge.”

• Looking for a view? Jim Peugh likes the high-up restrooms — he thinks they’re on the sixth floor — at the County Administration Center by the bay. He adds that “the men’s room on the second deck of the Berkeley — the ferryboat that houses the Maritime Museum — also has a nice view and seems very historic.”


And now to the losers in our restroom roundup.

Chuck Rickman of University Heights can’t stand the stinky men’s room by the lifeguard tower in Mission Beach: “You can’t sit down or your pants are swimming in who-knows-what floating on the floor in the inch-deep water!”

Farther north, the north restroom at La Jolla Shores grosses out Karen Howard of University City. “One Saturday morning there was a swim-and-run event with hundreds of people participating. I went to use the facility just before 8 a.m. There was no toilet paper and disgusting unmentionables on the floors and in the bowls. I returned just before 10 a.m. and nothing had changed.”

Other readers hold their noses when they visit the restrooms at these locations: Ocean Beach lifeguard station, Tourmaline Surf Park in Pacific Beach (there are no stall doors in the ladies room) and the restrooms on the east end of Balboa Park at Casa del Prado.


Balboa Park has some restroom gems, though. A restroom near The Prado restaurant “is maintained by city custodians and has piped in music, warm-water faucet and state-of-the-art hand dryers,” says J.B. of Rancho San Diego.

Carrie from North Park agrees: “I find the restrooms near The Prado restaurant to be better than acceptable, especially considering the use level. Lovely tile in the style of the park and clean.”

Another government-maintained public restroom got raves. Jan Percival Lipscomb is a fan of “the smaller restroom at the top of the hill by the parking lot” at Torrey Pines. “I’m always amazed by how immaculate it is,” she said. “Other than the occasional invasion of ants along the wall, it’s as clean as any restroom you’d find in the lobby of the US Grant Hotel.”

Perhaps the most unexpected nomination for best restroom came from Carlynne Allbee of Lakeside. She recommends the restrooms at the Scottish Rite Event Center in Mission Valley.

“The ladies room has a first room where you can just sit and visit, fix your hair, have a party. Then there’s the sink area, then the toilet area. The whole thing is as big as some small apartments,” she writes. “Nice carpeting in the first rooms, rich colors that make you look and feel warm and beautiful. People don’t realize that warm lights make you feel healthy, and cool lights make you look and feel sick. There are plenty of nice furniture pieces to sit on and chat with your friends.”

She adds: “I am sure the men’s room is just as nice.”

So which restroom did we pick for our photo shoot? Stay tuned.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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