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10 of the Most Amazing Bathrooms in the World

Sofitel Queenstown, Queenstown, New Zealand

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It's been noted that guys react differently to the second-floor men's room in this luxury hotel: Some prance and preen; others suffer performance anxiety and leave in an unhappy state. Designers Brett Taylor, Mark Perriam, and Cam Marsh installed life-size photographs of female voyeurs, who peep saucily from behind the cone-shaped urinals-with binoculars, glasses, cameras, even a tape measure in hand. The poor fellas who make it through the ordeal could be in for another shock: The models are all local women so visitors might bump into them, live, on the street. Talk about deja loo.

Dolce & Gabbana Gold, Milan, Italy

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Let it never be said that Dolce and Gabbana don't know how to treat their A-list celebrity clientele, right down to providing for their pampered bottoms. When you go to the washrooms in the Italian design duo's restaurant in Milan, named Gold (but of course), you'll be following in the cheek prints of Kylie Minogue, Gisele Bündchen, and Paris Hilton. Rest assured you won't walk out of the facilities muttering, "I don't see what all the fuss is about." After all, D&G aren't exactly known for understatement, so the restrooms are outfitted in floor-to-ceiling golden bamboo, mirrored trays next to the sinks (for soap, we're sure), marble counters, and enormous gold mirrors to reflect all that lucre. But the truly winning touch? The plasma-screen TV in each stall playing Goldfinger on a loop.

Bar 89, New York City

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Most New Yorkers know about this Soho bar and restaurant, but it should be on everyone's must-pee list. From the outside, the stalls are clear glass, yet when you go in and lock the door, some wildly misused technical wizardry causes the glass to frost over so people can't see you inside. Do you really trust science this much? Do you want to be the poor schmuck caught on YouTube peering out anxiously as a crowd gathers? Well, the technology hasn't failed after all these years, though you may want to take a magazine to hide behind just in case. Phoenix designer Janis Leonard is responsible. She also designed the bar's huge, curving skylight, though everyone's pretty much here for the bathrooms on the mezzanine level. Our advice? Skip dinner, order a couple of cocktails at the bar, and then head to the loo. Just remember to lock the door.

Chung Yo department store, Taichung City, Taiwan

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The ruin of many a good night out is spending half of it lining up for the bathroom: In your absence, rounds of drinks are bought, anecdotes swapped, hookups cemented. And if the line is really long, you run the risk of sobering up. The people behind this place obviously felt that way, too, hence their men's room with its bar-in-the-bathroom theme. It has green-tiled walls and contrasting red urinal surrounds, but the piece de resistance is the inclusion of refrigerators stocked full of frosty green Heineken beers. The Chung Yo an upscale 16-floor department store selling everything from footwear to gadgets has another 14 themed restrooms to visit, each funkier than the last. How about the basketball bathroom complete with hoop (not the best place to practice your aim, we suppose)? There are also a Coca Cola themed one with giant cans for stalls, and a jungle bathroom where you fight your way through the foliage to answer nature's call.

The tranquility of being inside and outside and forgetting which is which:

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Swisshorn Gold Palace, Hong Kong, China

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Nearly three tons of gold, $50 million, and five years of work by 300 people. Those are the stats for the most lavish throne in our collection. It makes sense that this luxurious loo is a Hang Fung jewelry showroom in Hong Kong. The head of Hang Fung, Lam Sai-wing, and the Swiss watch company Swisshorn collaborated to create a full 7,000-square-foot suite to show off their craftsmanship and promote tourism in Hong Kong. They call it the Swisshorn Gold Palace, and everything is genuine gold. You can book it for yourself for $25,000 a night. The artisans really showcased their Midas touches in the restroom, though, with a 14-K toilet and bidet, along with mirrored paneling so it's hard to miss a single glittering detail. Don't want to ante up the $25K? Consider instead the tour, offered at a mere $3 a head. At that rate, the store should pay off its investment in, oh, about 399 years.

"Don't Miss a Sec" toilet

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Venice-born artist Monica Bonvicini would have us believe her roving installation titled Don't Miss a Sec is a commentary on the reluctance of art fans to miss even a split second of an exhibit. Perhaps, but what it looks like to us and to anyone walking by outside on the street is a mirrored silver box. Once you're inside, you can see the rest of the world through what appears to be clear glass no surprise that you'll likely be praying that the one-way mirror actually works. (Shy types might opt for more traditional options say, a restaurant nearby.) The work debuted as a public loo across the street from London's Tate Britain in 2003 and was exhibited at Kunsthaus gallery in Zurich last summer. Its next public appearance has not yet been decided. But if you see a giant silver box in a public space, point and laugh as you pass a cruel but fun way of freaking out whomever is inside.

Back to the future

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Are we inside? Outside? Is the house falling down or did we go back in time?

No Boundaries

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Here's bathroom design we found for couples who like to do everything together.

Roca Box Modular Bathroom

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The Box is an energy efficient, independent modular bathroom that uses humid air to heat your bathing water. Its basic model contains three interchangeable units. One unit houses the toilet, washbasin and water tank; another unit contains the shower, the seat, some shelves and a towel rack; a third unit contains additional shelves. Need more space? Add more units and expand your bathroom accordion-style.

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