Thursday 26 June 2008

Bicester Village Toilets Offer Up New England Modernity and Style in Old England

Bicester Outlet Shopping Village
50 Pingle Dr
United Kingdom

Where is it?

After parking, head for the shopping area's central boulevard, which cuts between the two lengthy rows of buildings and shops. Once there, look for the Pret a Manger cafe. The bathrooms can be found down the corridor to the right of that business front.

What's it like?

This tourist-filled shopping outlet, located about 10 minutes away from Oxford, features plenty of high-end retailers, selling everything from designer fashions to bedding to perfume to cookware, among other things. While set in the picturesque English countryside, the look of the place is more like upper-class New England, especially Gloucester or Martha's Vineyard, with the buildings carrying a strong nautical theme and painted in muted pastels, than England.

The bathrooms extend the New World upper-crust feel of the place, thanks to their classy and decidedly modern design. Glossy wooden panels cover the walls. Elegant black tile covers the floor in a way that reminds me of the wonderful toilets experienced at Sensi in the Bellagio. Clearly, the designers wanted to impress people here and I thank them for that.

A row of urinals with black dividers sits against one wall -- very chic in appearance, though the barriers were set a little low for my tastes. In the back is a set of three toilet stalls, each with the same elegant wood paneling comprising its walls and door. Very comfortable and quite possibly the most stylish and private-feeling stall (set in a mass-service bathroom) I've been in since my visit to the Wynn Las Vegas.

Opposite the urinals, the vanity features a black marble (to match the floor) and four in-set sinks, as well as a stretch mirror hanging over it. Though the faucets aren't automatic (which reminded me some of of the Delta Crown Room Toilets at JFK) they are not the old-school variety of push-button faucets (like in the aforementioned Crown Room).

Even better: The hand soap used here is Gilchrist and Soames -- and you feel the luxury in the choice the instant it makes contact with your hands. So silky......

Marks out of 10:

9. Easily the best public toilets visited while in England, and some of the best mass-service facilities experienced outside of Las Vegas and Orlando, to be honest.

Comments to the Management:

Nearly perfect. The only change I would make would be to life the urinal barriers some, which would enhance the privacy factor some.

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