The toilets in higher-end eateries have become seriously designed conceptual comfort stations, with restaurants attempting to outdo one another. Relieve yourself at The Federalist in the XV Beacon hotel on Beacon Hill, and you’ll find a grotto atmosphere of cobblestones, discreet stalls with floor-to-ceiling doors, and white porcelain sinks raised off the counter so no spills dampen clothing or purses. With two-ply toilet paper rolling freely and waffled-cloth hand towels amusingly stacked like mini Mayan temples, the Fed has got to be Boston’s poshest public powder room, followed by The Four Seasons, with new restaurant Sibling Rivalry in the running.
These spaces are luscious enough to eat in, with accessories tempting enough to take out. And lavatory luxuries often do go home with the doggie bags. “People like to take things from the bathroom as souvenirs,” says Bruno Marini, general manager of The Federalist. Many restaurateurs offer flourishes – cloth towels, hand lotion, and hair spray – and know the items will probably vanish with a spritz of good will.
“Amenities are far more critical for women,” says Bob Kinkead, co-owner with brother David of Sibling Rivalry in the South End. “Women decide where everybody’s going to eat anyway. If mom’s not happy, then nobody’s happy.”