In this post I’ll explain the best places find a public toilet near me (meaning, you!). When away from home, you want to find the nearest restroom and if possible, the cleanest.
Depending on where you are in the world, these are my urban strategies for finding the nearest public toilet: Hotels, malls, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores (Asia only).
#1 Hotels: Nearest Public Toilet And The Cleanest
This is the one hotel hack the Ritz-Carlton doesn’t want you to know!
When I’m looking for a public toilet near me, I first start with hotels. It’s an absolute pleasure going into a fancy 5-star hotel to use the restroom for 2 reasons:
- They have the cleanest toilets
- It’s fun using the nearest toilet when it’s at a hotel you’re not staying at because it feels like you’re breaking an unwritten law. Trust me, give this a shot. You can even do this in your hometown.
Not Staying at that hotel?
It doesn’t matter if you’re not staying at the hotel. They’re not going to stop you or questions you unless you look “dangerous.” If they do, just ask super insulted and keep walking.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at 5-star hotels with the use of free credit card bonuses and learned that they never question if you’re staying at the hotel. I tried using the restroom at 5-star hotels that I’m not staying at and have never been questioned!
It doesn’t matter. They’re not going to stop you unless you look “dangerous.” I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at 5-star hotels with the use of free credit card bonuses and learned that they never question if you’re staying at the hotel. I tried using the restroom at 5-star hotels that I’m not staying at and have never been questioned!
Where Are The Public Restrooms in Hotels?
The nearest restroom in hotels can be found in the :
- Lobby: If there’s a doorman, don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
- Conference Room: There’s always a restroom by the conference center or conference rooms if a hotel has one available. If there’s no active conference that day, these will be the cleanest public toilet in the hotel.
- Hotel Restaurant/Kitchen: The nearest bathroom to the hotel restaurant or kitchen tends to have the most usage and there’s always toilet nearby.
Even if you aren’t staying in a fancy hotel, most hotels that are 3.5 stars and up will have a restroom in the lobby.
#2 Shopping Malls: Nearest Toilet
Shopping malls always have restrooms. Not all shopping malls are equal though. Fancier malls will have fancier bathrooms.
To find the fancier shopping malls, look for the shopping centers with high end designer names like: Kenzo, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc.
As soon as you get to the mall, the nearest toilet is definitely not the best toilet.
Bathrooms To Avoid At Shopping Malls
If you’re looking for a clean bathroom at the mall, you’ll want to avoid the high traffic areas:
- Food Court
- Entrance/1st floor of the Shopping Mall
High traffic areas will have dirty bathrooms and there may be a wait depending on how busy it is.
Bathrooms To Use At Shopping Malls
Any of the washrooms on the higher floors (if available) will be much cleaner with no waiting time since they get used less frequently.
#3 Restaurants: Nearest Bathroom
Much like fancy hotels and malls, fancy restaurants will have very nice bathrooms. To that point, you won’t find very nice bathrooms in a night market or alleys with street food.
Searching For A Public Toilet Near Me: Fancy Restaurants
Just go to Google Maps and search for restaurants in your area. Filter by $$+ and look for anything with a lot of reviews. That will indicate it’s popularity.
When you find your desired “restaurant,” just walk in, look at the menu, hesitate, then go use the restroom. After you complete what you need to do, you can just leave.
#4 Starbucks: Public Toilet Near Me
Every Starbucks has a restroom available and you don’t even have to buy something to use it! You can find a Starbucks in just about every major city in the world.
#5 Gas Stations: Nearest Public Toilet
Alright, if you weren’t successful finding one in the first three locations I mentioned, you will have to lower your standards. Gas stations typically have a restroom you can use. I’ve been to restrooms at gas stations in Europe and Japan that were very clean.
#6 Convenience Stores (Asia)
If you’re in Asia, you’ll know there are a lot of convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Family Mart. The nearest public toilet is going to be any of these convenience stores.
Not all of them have restrooms, but a lot do! You don’t even have to buy anything to use the restroom, just walk in, do what you need to do and walk out. Wash your hands though…
#7 Pachinko Parlor (Japan)
If you’ve been to Japan you’ll know there are a lot of Pachinko Parlors. That’s a good thing because they compete with each other with different themes and some can be VERY fancy.
If you see a fancy looking Pachinko Parlor, go in and use the restroom! You’ll see some fancy toilets and they’ll be extremely clean.
When you’re traveling in a new city and need to use the nearest public toilet, be sure to remember in priority: Hotel, Mall, Restaurant!
To find these places just search use Google Maps to search your area. If you’re in a city and don’t have WiFi or data on your phone, you can download “Offline Maps” with the Google Maps app. Even without data, your phone will still be able to show your GPS location and with Offline Maps it will still give you directions to your destination!
Even if you’re not traveling in a new city and just want to use the nearest toilet these tips are still useful.
Lastly, if there’s a fancy hotel in your area, you should make it a point to go there and use the toilet one day!