Bathrooms with a View

Hyatt on the Bund

Ten of the best views in the house

It's hard to think of anything more indulgent than being treated to royal views in that most utilitarian of rooms -- the bathroom. From whales cavorting outside floor-to-ceiling windows in luxury hotel bathrooms to the sparkling Vegas and New York City skyline views of cool nightclub toilets, the sightseeing opportunities in these far-from-humble wash closets are worth writing home about. So leave the reading material behind and enjoy the view from these ten top thrones.

Bathrooms with a View

The Upper House, Hong Kong

The bathrooms at the new Upper House hotel are among Hong Kong's roomiest -- at a sprawling 300 square feet, they're bigger than most hotel rooms in the city. And these luxurious bathing bastions outfitted with limestone bathtubs and walk-in rain showers also happen to take in the city's most coveted views. As tourists cram into sightseeing ferries plying the waters below, you can soak up the view of Victoria Harbour and surrounding islands while steeping in a hot bath -- an experience that's been likened to bathing in the clouds. The TV set in a mirror facing the bathtub seems a superfluous touch -- after all, the best reality show plays right outside.

Mix Lounge, THEhotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas voyeurism reaches new levels on the 64th floor of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, where the bathrooms at Mix Lounge offer one-way views of Sin City's sparkling strip from the bar's soaring heights. There's a cover charge to access the lounge (weekends $25, weekdays $20, THEhotel guests $10), but the near 360-degree vertiginous scenery is worth shelling out for. Two stalls in the ladies' bathroom offer the views, but the most noteworthy experience is in a separate cubicle with a sleek black commode that faces floor-to-ceiling windows over Las Vegas. Guys get in on the action, too, although somewhat less ceremoniously -- in the men's bathroom, a window above the urinals gives the boys a bird's eye view of the wonderland below.

St. Regis Princeville Resort

St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

There aren't many places in the world where you can do some whale watching while shaving your legs. But the St. Regis Princeville Resort in Hawaii is one of them. The bathrooms in all 50 suites at this luxury hotel have windows that can be opaque or clear at the flip of a switch. While showering or brushing your teeth, you might find yourself watching anything from surfers paddling into giant waves to a shimmering rainbow stretching over the green hills of the hinterlands. The most impressive bathroom views are in the oceanfront Prince Junior Suite, where huge glass windows offer uninterrupted Pacific vistas. Just remember to make use of that opaque switch -- if you can see the surfers, chances are they can see you too.

Hyatt on the Bund

Hyatt on the Bund, Shanghai, China

You'll feel like you're one of the Jetsons while soaking up the otherworldly views of super-modern Pudong from the enormous bathrooms in this decadent Shanghai hotel. The Hyatt on the Bund sits on the western banks of the Huangpu River, and the best bathroom views take in either glittering Pudong or the more historical architecture of the Bund district. Stand-alone showers big enough to host a cocktail party and deep soaking tubs with plunging views through the floor-to-ceiling windows make for a dramatic experience come bath time.

The Penthouse

The Penthouse, Huntley Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Santa Monica, California

The Hollywood-meets-Malibu crowd hobnobs at this 18th-floor restaurant in the Huntley Hotel. Be sure to take a bathroom break -- and for more than just checking your hair. The last stalls in both the ladies' and men's rooms offer the best views in the house from, well, the porcelain thrones. Sit for a spell and soak in the sights, which include the vast Pacific Ocean, the Malibu Mountains and the Santa Monica pier with its iconic Ferris wheel. On a good day, you can even see Catalina Island.

Signature Room at the 95th, Chicago, Illinois

There's a one-drink minimum at this towering watering hole in the John Hancock Center overlooking the Windy City, but the vertigo-inducing views are gratis. The Signature Room on the 95th floor is worth braving long lobby lines for, so that you can take in the vistas of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and, on a clear day, even Michigan. There's really not a bad seat in the house, but if you don't get a table right up against the window, women, at least, can enjoy the views through the floor-to-ceiling glass in the bathroom. There's a sweeping sight of the Loop and downtown from the ladies'. But don't leave it to the last minute if you really have to go, since people tote cameras into the two stalls, resulting in long lines.

Mumin Papa Café, Akashi, Japan

Japanese tourists have been known to trek to this seaside town for a popular toilet attraction that was featured on a Japanese TV program. The ladies' toilet inside the Mumin Papa Café is built into an aquarium, and the commode is surrounded on three sides by glass walls that offer patrons views of colorful fish and other marine life. Shy types should consider themselves warned, however -- according to the TV show, the aquarium is home to a particularly curious turtle who is just as interested in watching visitors as they are in watch him.

Bathrooms with a View

ckemp, flickr

Columbia Tower Club, Seattle, Washington

Members and their friends have access to the Columbia Tower Club on the 75th and 76th floors of the Columbia Center -- the tallest building in Washington state and the 20th tallest in the U.S. Women hightail it to the 76th floor for more than just a chance to powder their noses; the four private cubicles have floor-to-ceiling windows facing southeast for what many people consider Seattle's finest views. While you're tending to business, you can take in Mt. Rainier, the Seattle Seahawks stadium and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Bathrooms with a View

Hotels AB LLC

The Top of The Standard, The Standard Hotel, New York, New York

This 18th-floor hangout is officially called the Top of the Standard, but everyone still refers to this exclusive Manhattan bars as the Boom Boom Room, its original name. For bathroom experiences, it doesn't get any more hall-of-fame-worthy than here. Crystal chandeliers and bartenders with model good looks create much fantasy in the lounge, where celebrity spotting is standard. But the views from the bathrooms are a reality check that could only happen in New York. In both the men's and women's cubicles, three walls are mirrored, and one wall is glass, allowing sweeping views of the Meatpacking District and greater Manhattan.

Plunge, Gansevoort Miami Beach, Miami, Florida

Plunge -- the rooftop bar at the Gansevoort Miami Beach -- is the very definition of an adult playground and one of South Beach's most seductive scenes. The pool area plays out like a catwalk for beautiful people, who can take in the sweeping views of the deep blue Atlantic (and each other) from the large wicker chairs and overstuffed cushions around the bar. But the real surprise at this 18th-floor hideaway comes with a visit to the rooftop bathrooms. Tropical breezes rush through the men's and women's open-air stalls (fear not, there are doors for privacy) and unisex sinks, where you'll find breathtaking views of downtown Miami's glittering skyline.

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