Wednesday 5 September 2007

Another Longhorn, Another Rootin' Tootin' Toilet

Longhorn Steakhouse
6691 Lake Andrew Drive
Melbourne, FL USA 32940

Where is it?

This one's a little challenging to find. From the main entrance, head to the back wall, with the bar to your right and the dining room to your left. Take an immediate left, through the back section of the dining hall, and keep walking towards the far wall until you're about 50 feet from the edge of the restaurant. At that point, look for a corridor on your right that looks a little like a waitress station but doesn't have a cashier or drink station there. That's your destination.

What's it like?

While not exactly an identical match to the other Longhorn bathroom reviewed on this site, this bathroom still manages to reproduce the charm of that aforementioned loo, albeit in a more subdued (or should I say "sub-dude" since this is a cowboy-inspired steakhouse) manner.

It's clean, spacious, quiet and filled with cheesy-but-fun Wild West-inspired decor. No, the stalls aren't made to look like outhouses (like in the other location), but there's still plenty of humorous memorabilia to be found here, especially on the walls. Plus, modern design (marble vanity counter, automatic sinks, silky foam hand soap, etc.) adds a sense of restraint to the mix, making it clear the place takes its facilities seriously but not so serious as to not make it devoid of fun for visitors.

I wasn't awed by what I experienced here but I did smile a lot -- and for chain restaurants, that's certainly welcome.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

A good, solid bathroom that extends the theme of the restaurant. While not stellar, I'm not sure there's much room for improvement either. So.... keep up the good work, pard'ner!

Sunday 2 September 2007

Craven Picks Over Remains of Old Toilet

Craven Arms
GL54 5XQ

Where is it?

Easy this one. As you come in from the car park head directly left and virtually double back on yourself and you’ll be right there for the mens’.

What’s it like?

This place reminds me of the Fox in Great Barrington as one of those Pubs in the Cotswolds that have not quite pulled of the move in to the 21st Century. The menu shows some effort however can’t compete with the very many pubs that manage to give good tasty food with flair. Charging more might help them make this transformation, but I guess they’re probably scared of putting off their mainly aged customers. This is a pity because all ways around you end up with a bad deal. What seems cheap on the menu becomes bad value when it’s on the plate in front of you.

The same can be said for the décor. It’s not that bad all round, but with that little bit of effort could be something spectacular. The comfy sitting room is all OK if a little worn. The restaurant space tries to blend in with the 16th century cottage feel and just ends up dull and sterile at the same time with an expanse of tile.

I wish I could be more positive with the toilets. Well they’re OK. In fact let me give credit where credit is due. A lot of effort has gone in to them. There is a great orchid and pot-purée, great curtains too. Effort has been put in to painting the walls bright white and making them clean. In fact the toilet cubical is perfectly nice.

But here’s the rub. Taking a 50-year-old toilet and giving it some paint will never quite do the trick. The rusty radiator and warn sink let the whole place down. All the effort that would usually score highly goes to waste as you cannot ignore the fact the facilities are ancient.

The owner of this place fails to see things through the modern customers’ eyes. Like the fact that talking to the locals rather than serving your customers and helping out your rushed and over worked staff is not a good move she can’t seem to see that customer don’t want to see effort, they want to see comfortable and completely clean toilet. No rust. Proper heating. No unwanted smells. Get it? Probably not.

Marks out of 10:

5 for the effort and the fact everything worked.

Comments to the management:

This place has such potential and is let down by through no lack of effort (in the toilet at least). Spend some money and I’m sure you’ll get some good returns.

Saturday 1 September 2007

Surprising Luxury at Millennia Mall

The Mall at Millenia
4200 Conroy Road,
Orlando, FL USA 32839

Where is it?

Go through the palatial main entrance. As you enter the restaurant court head left. There you’ll find the luxurious waiting area. Women head left, men head along and then left.

What’s it like?

The Luxurious: The Sumptuous: The Unexpected: The Experience.

That’s how this mall’s web site announces itself. And I have to say this is where I’d go to get away from it all. Not to buy anything you understand. No, I’d save that for the outlets. But it is a good place to have a meal and generally hang out in relatively quiet air-conditioned surroundings.

The first time I went here I had to get Eyal to go see the facilities. They’re not over the top, but you’d really not expect to find such high-grade facilities in a mall. It starts with the waiting area. The faux leather sofas set this place up fine. And hey, they also serve a purpose. You’re partner is bound to take their time here, so a comfy place to sit does come in handy.

Then there are the facilities themselves. The first thing to strike you is that they are spotlessly clean. The second is that they have a really high quality feel. Granite rather than plastic dividers between the urinals and stools shows that thought and expense has not been spared. Every appliance is chrome, and surprisingly sparkly. Never a smudge to be seen!

My only question is how do they do it? I’ve never seen anyone in there cleaning.

Marks out of 10:

10. Just super!

Comments to the management:

By far the best toilets I’ve seen in a Mall.