Wednesday 27 February 2008

As Bathrooms at Car Dealerships Go, Raleigh's Johnson Lexus Is Tops

Johnson Lexus of Raleigh
5839 Capital Blvd.
Raleigh, NC USA 27616

Where is it?

From the drop-off area in the service section, head inside the building and follow the main hallway around until you come to a lobby in between the service department and the sales department.

The area has a modest coffee bar (serving free Starbucks coffee and various danish and pastries -- unlike, say, Lexus of Orlando, which makes you pay for this sort of stuff), business center, kids room, television lounge and more. The bathrooms are across the hall from the TV lounge.

What's it like?

I've been to only two Lexus dealerships in my life (this one and the aforementioned Lexus of Orlando), and both exude sense of luxury that seems more akin to high-end hotels like the Wynn Las Vegas or Mansion on Forsyth Park than a car dealership. (Hell, the Nissan dealership I bought my most recent car from was more traditional in terms of decor.)

Thanks to the abundance of art found on the walls here (nice art too, not just tacky stuff you'd buy at the bargain bin of Michael's Arts and Crafts or American Signature Furniture) this dealership often feels like an art gallery first and a car dealership second -- quite an accomplishment considering that most car dealerships offer little sense of comfort.

As mentioned earlier, you'll find plenty of distractions here, from a small cafe serving free coffee and pastries to a fully functioning business center to a very friendly staff that always seems ready to lend a hand. (In my customer survey on this place, which I filled out while waiting for my companion's car to be fixed -- an oil change -- I noted that my experience at this dealership was so good that I would considering driving up from Florida to experience it again..... which of course says perhaps a little too much about my opinion of my hometown Lexus dealership, which isn't bad but just not even remotely in the league of this establishment).

The bathrooms here are palatial and luxurious on many levels. Inside, you'll find cool marble tiles along the floor and walls, with a regal blue pattern set in to change up the monotony some. The two urinals are separated by a granite divider, and the two stall doors are separated by both granite (for the divider's foundations) and wood (for the doors themselves).

The stretching vanity counter is composed of a single piece of black granite, and the sink stations are well-spread out, offering the using lots of room (perhaps even too much) for use. Sinks and toilets are sensor-driven, though the soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers are not.

I'm not so much bothered by the latter, since automatic towel dispensers can be kind of a pain (especially in trying to get that second strip after you've already got your first). The soap dispenser is another matter, however -- and that's really the only flaw I found here. They are built into the walls on each end of the vanity, so that they bookend the structure. Because the vanity is so long, you have to stretch a good ways just to lather up your hands -- and because of that, the chances of spilling soap on your return trip are increased. Why not place automatic soap dispensers by the sinks instead of manual ones away from the sink? Seems like an awful long way to travel to get some soap.

Still, the place is spotless, everything is in working order (which is more than what I can say about my last visit to Lexus of Orlando) and the cleaning crew here pumps in a delectable air freshener. As Lexus dealership bathrooms go, this one is tops.

Marks out of 10:

9. Would have been a perfect 10 were it not for those soap dispensers.

Comments to the Management:

Great job here. The place is a true oasis. If you fix the issue with the soap dispensers, you'll be among the Where's the Toilet elite.

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