Archive for the ‘On-the-Fly’ Category

Mandarin Oriental Hotel: A Gift from the Gods—Restroom

July 9, 2014

Ladies: Had a tough day in your dingy, grey, government building? Feeling like an unappreciated slug? Need to freshen up for a hot evening out? Amidst a sea of DC blandness, an oasis of splendor appears at 1330 Maryland Ave SW—the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.mandarin-oriental-washington-dc

Walk into the hotel like the queen you know you really are and head straight to the back, past the posher than posh glass-enclosed handbags and jewelry displays.

Open the door on the right and slip into the lap of luxury that awaits you in the Mandarin’s ladies’ restroom. Let all of your senses drink it in…the mirrors, the lighting and the hidden stalls to your left. To call them stalls is really an injustice. In reality, they are more like beautiful closets, each with its own wooden door. There are five of these “closets” and two larger handicapped “closets.”

Next take a look at the individual sinks. Each sink has its own mirror and each comes with bottles of Gilchrist and Soames soap and lotion for your cleansing 1 (3) When you are done, dry your hands with the monogrammed towels. Can they really be paper? To the touch they feel more like a luxurious 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton, but paper they are. photo 3 (2)It’s almost as if this is where paper goes to die. It seems like a sin to throw them away, but there is a beautiful wooden chest in which to discard 2 (3)

You can check yourself out in the full-length mirror and then it’s time to go. It will be hard to leave, but the rest of the evening…or day awaits.

Grab Some Culture While You’re At It—Restroom

April 29, 2010

Cafés aside, it’s not easy to find a public restroom in DC’s Penn Quarter/Chinatown. There’s no department store in the area and you have to be inside the Regal Movie Theatre or the Verizon Center as a paying customer in order to use their restrooms. What’s a person to do in an emergency?

Relax. The National Portrait Gallery is your friend. It’s right in the heart of Penn Quarter and not as crowded as some of the other museums. The Gallery is free and you don’t have to have your bags checked by security.

There are restrooms on every level which means there’s not much, if any, wait. The restrooms are clean, bright and well-stocked. And while you make your way to the facilities, you have the opportunity to see some beautiful works of art. It’s possible to become so enthralled you might forget your planned trip to the movies or Ann Taylor shopping and, god forbid, avail yourself of some culture.

The only caveat is the hours—the Gallery is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F Streets, NW, DC  20001

Hyatt Regency: Fit for a Queen—Restroom

March 22, 2010

Need a quick touch up before meeting friends for drinks or dinner in Bethesda? Not sure how long the trip on the Metro could take? No need to take chances when you’ve got a ready friend at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda. Walk through the front door and keep walking until you’re near the restaurant. Take a look to the right and that’s where you’ll find a fabulous restroom. Bright, mirrored, spacious…yowza! There’s a sitting area separate from the stalls and sinks. There’s a full length mirror, clean stalls and more sinks than stalls. What else is there to say? This restroom has it all.

Hyatt Regency Bethesda One Bethesda Metro Center,7400 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814

Borders: Seattle’s Best—Books/Restroom

March 5, 2010

Have to freshen up before heading into one of the nearby pubs and restaurants near Farragut Square? Need to make a “quick stop” before heading home? Just want to relax with a “not yet paid for” book or magazine? Or how about catching up on e-mail over a good cup of coffee? Head straightaway for Borders on 18th and L Street NW (official address is 1801 K Street NW).

The Farragut Square Borders has been refurbished and is now brighter and friendlier. Couches and chairs are spread out all over the store. Borders Bookstores provide Seattle’s Best coffee and free WiFi . You can set up your laptop in the large eating area or get comfy with it in private on a soft chair in one of the aisles in the book section.

No longer do you need to ask the information desk for a token to the restroom. Just head to the back of the store and go on in. The restroom is fairly clean, well-stocked and well-lit. It’s a good friend to have “just in case.”

So if you need a break during a busy day, take advantage of Borders’ friendly atmosphere. Oh, yes, you can buy books, magazines and DVD’s, too.

1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006  202.466.4999

Barnes&Noble: A Best Friend—Books/Restroom

March 4, 2010

Barnes & Noble has it all and the books are just the least of it.

I frequent two Barnes & Nobles–the store on 12th and  E Street NW and the one in Georgetown. I often use them for their restrooms before hopping on the bus or subway. When it’s cold out, before heading for my bus, I usually grab a cup of coffee to go. Both are also great places to kill time before heading to the E Street movies or the AMC theaters in Georgetown.

Let’s start with their restrooms. They are clean, albeit small, and well-stocked and they have changing stations for children.

Now move on to the snack/WiFi areas. WiFi is free and beverages are from Starbucks. Both Barnes & Nobles in question have ample seating, although the setup is different in each. In Georgetown there is bar-like seating facing the windows with room to set up a laptop directly in front of you or read a magazine. There are many tables for two or four people. The 12th Street store’s eating/reading area is smaller, but somehow it feels larger. There are plenty of tables.  Both stores seemingly let you stay there forever…doing homework, reading or just relaxing.

Feel smarter…peruse the books and magazines…use the restroom…kick back with a beverage. Barnes & Noble has it all. I love them.

555 12th Street NW, Washington, DC  202.347.0176

3040 M Street NW, Washington, DC  202.965.9880

Mazza Galleria—More Holes—Restroom

February 19, 2010

Need a visit to the restroom before boarding your bus or train at Friendship Heights? Then you’ll want to take advantage of the facilities at Mazza Galleria. However, a quick trip to the restroom on its lower level is déjà vu. It appears that the same designer for the AMC restrooms at Mazza had a hand in creating the “lovely” restroom for the entire Galleria. You’ve got it…the same holes on the sink counter for used paper towels. The difference this time…you can actually tell the holes are for garbage…one, because  they are very visible holes and two, you can actually spot the garbage cans sitting directly under the holes. The restroom itself is sort of dingy, but fully stocked. The area near the restroom is well-traveled, so one can feel relatively safe in using it.

The People’s “John”—Restroom

January 22, 2010

You’re in the vicinity of the Watergate (New Hampshire and Virginia Avenues, NW) or in the lower portion of Foggy Bottom and have an “emergency.”  Fear not, a restroom is close at hand and a classy one at that. Try using the restrooms at the Kennedy Center. Recently I was in Foggy Bottom and had to use the ladies’ room. I didn’t know what to do. Then it hit me…I’m close to the Kennedy Center and isn’t this the “people’ s center” anyway? I walked right in like I belonged and headed to the restroom on the Terrace level. Once there I was lost. But a friendly KC employee asked if she could help me and then pointed me toward the restrooms. I walked through a large hall and then down a corridor and there they were. I opened the door and wow! Be still  my heart–a makeup area with seats and further inside a large area with sinks and stalls (about eight). Very clean, well-lit and very well stocked with paper towels. (Perhaps paper towels are not  environmentally friendly, but if I was attending a concert and reasonably well-attired, the last thing I’d want is water dripping on my clothes because the dryers weren’t powerful enough.)

The Kennedy Center has many restrooms from which to choose, so don’t’ worry. Take your pick and then be on your way.

Filene’s Basement—Shush!—Restroom

January 17, 2010

The Connecticut Avenue Filene’s is about a block or two from K Street NW and is a great place for a restroom when you need a quick makeup fix or whatever before an interview in that part of town. But the restrooms are a well-guarded secret. You go to the elevator on the main floor which is located in the back toward the left, near the men’s wear. The elevator arrives and when you  step inside, you realize you are in the largest elevator in all DC. Get out on the second floor, bear right and follow the signs. When you open the door to the restroom, you’ll find a huge area to fix your hair and makeup. Further inside are the actual stalls and sinks. The area is clean and well-stocked and the stall doors lock. But remember…shush…it’s a secret.

1133 Connecticut Avenue Northwest


Chevy Chase Pavilion: Scary Corridor—Restroom

January 17, 2010

Tucked away in the lower level of the Chevy Chase Pavilion are its restrooms. You go down a corridor that winds and winds around until you reach them. Honestly, it’s kind of creepy. Once you’re inside, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The stall doors lock, the toilets flush, and the sink area is clean and well-stocked. In my most recent visit, I had to pass a security guard on my way to the restroom. My advice…make sure he gets a good glimpse of you just in case.

Corner of Wisconsin and Western Avenues

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