Lifestyle

The 10 best places to poop in Downtown Chicago

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

Being caught Downtown with a touchy belly and no lay of the land for public restrooms can be an Armageddon-level crisis. So we turned to Zack Shornick, who runs the blog Hotels I've Pooped In, to recommend his top 10 spots – hotels with discreet and peaceful toilets – to go number two in.

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

10. Hotel Palomar (click here for address and info)
Near North Side
Nearby: Chicago Riverwalk, Shopping & Nightlife
Number of toilets/urinals: Two Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), Three Urinals
“The bathroom at the Palomar is a bit bothersome at first – like the first impression of your best friend in college, it's overly masculine and smells of strong cologne, but it grows on you. Move past the 'cool' and take in the 'calm' of the dark, copper, and walnut space. Also: the light clanking of forks on plates from the restaurant next door is a surprising pleasure.”

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

9. La Quinta Inn & Suites -- Downtown Chicago (click here for address and info)
The Loop
Nearby: The Sears Tower, Union Station
Number of toilets/urinals: One Handicap-Accessible Stall, One Urinal
“You may think chain hotels aren't known for luxury, but they definitely put some thought into this restroom. The stall is spacious and the faux zebrawood flooring hides dirt well, a pro-move for any experienced franchise. You'll easily be able to pit-stop here on a Skydeck date with her being none-the-wiser."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

8. Omni Chicago Hotel (click here for address and info)
Near North Side
Nearby: Magnificent Mile, Water Tower, Museum of Contemporary Art
Number of toilets/urinals: Two Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), Two Urinals
“The fourth floor of the Omni is saturated with that mysterious business-trip essence of rudimentary conferences combined with unreserved escape. Layered in copper and bronze marble, diamond-patterned gold paper, and cheap blues tunes overhead, you could easily imagine yourself as Richard Gere in Pretty Woman – leaving the stall behind like you’re in your power suit, headed for the hotel’s fourth floor bar to meet your waiting companion. Unwind and unload.”

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

7. Thompson Chicago (click here for address and info)
Gold Coast
Nearby: Big-Name Shopping & Nightlife
Number of toilets/urinals: One Unisex, Handicap-Accessible Stall
“The Thompson’s lobby is a hipster’s dream ski cabin -- cottage comforts paired seamlessly with sleek mid-century modern lines. And like a small cabin, the bathroom only has room for one. This means privacy, for you shy users. The bathroom here mimics the lobby well, blending low, glowing lighting from exposed Edison bulbs with gray wallpaper reminiscent of an old, tin ceiling, and hexagonal tiles borrowed from the floor of a cheap family pizzeria. Just be sure you locked the door, as it’s a long walk from the toilet with your pants down.”

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

6. The James Hotel (click here for address and info)
Near North Side
Nearby: Navy Pier, Eataly, Uno’s, Grand Luxe
Number of toilets/urinals: Three Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), Two Urinals
"The facilities are far enough from the lobby to secure privacy, and the atmosphere, though leaning on the utilitarian side, is a well-melted pot of industrial DIY-chic: stainless steel, indie dance beats, and your Grandmother’s eggplant-colored bathroom tile. It sounds counterintuitive, but the narrow stalls work to the bathroom's benefit, like a sensory deprivation chamber that allows you to meditate and release all of your tensions."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

5. The Palmer House Hilton (click here for address and info)
The Loop
Nearby: Millennium Park, The Art Institute, Shopping & Restaurants
Number of toilets/urinals: Four Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), Four Urinals
"This spot is an incredible place to have in your back pocket. Not only is it central to so much of the Loop’s offerings, but the lobby and bathroom are also both so large that it's incredibly easy to go in -- and out -- completely unnoticed. The facility itself is clean and brightly lit, yet also warm. A dry floral scent hugs you in, and the tile-work and damasked walls are calming and reserved, yet ornate – like a Grecian bath."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

4. Hotel Lincoln (click here for address and info)
Old Town
Nearby: Second City, Lincoln Park Zoo, Park West
Special Amenities: Map of the world
Number of toilets/urinals: One Handicap-Accessible Stall, Two Urinals
"Doing your business in this bathroom is like doing your business in a 1950s toy trunk, and I mean that in the best possible way! An overwhelming feeling of childhood nostalgia will overtake you as soon as you enter. The chevron flooring is littered with Crayola colors, and the oversized, gold houndstooth wallpaper is just like the lining in your Grandfather’s old topcoat. It’s just a fun room to be in. And when you start to hear Dave Matthews’ "Too Much" linger in from the lobby, you’ll know where you were meant to be."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

3. The Allerton Hotel (click here for address and info)
Streeterville
Nearby: Magnificent Mile, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Number of toilets/urinals: One Handicap-Accessible Stall, One Urinal
"The Allerton Hotel is a 1920s city landmark, and its small bathroom would kiiiinda be the perfect setting for a secret gentleman’s lounge. You will enter in awe of wall-to-wall cherrywood and white marble. A solid rhythm section whispering into your ears, you’ll wish to yourself, "If only I had a Glenlivet with a splash". It’s private, it’s classy, and you’ll feel like a pooping Don Draper."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

2. The Conrad Hotel (click here for address and info)
Streeterville
Nearby: Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile
Special Amenities: Complimentary salt scrub from Sun Coast Salts
Number of toilets/urinals: Three Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), Four Urinals
"The Conrad is a swanky hotel, but it's far enough from main shopping and bars in the area that its lavish lobby and spotless bathroom are a welcoming quiet comfort. Like a little oasis, the bathroom is a mini-spa featuring salt scrub for your hands, beach-shutter doors, sand-speckled granite, and a lovely orchid in the vanity's corner. The plumbing is very powerful too, so beware: you may feel a rumble in your seat."

best chicago hotel bathrooms
Sean Cooley

1. Renaissance Blackstone Hotel (click here for address and info)
South Loop
Nearby: Grant Park, Printer’s Row, Shedd Aquarium
Number of toilets/urinals: Two Stalls (One Handicap-Accessible), One Urinal
"Ever wonder how Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters feel when pooping in those Baz Luhrmann films? The Blackstone’s décor is from a marvelously stylized noir, and it tunnels down into this nearly unused facility in the lower lobby. A dramatic molding crowns over a sea of black and white marble, ebony wood walls, and a light quatrefoil wallpaper while melodies of a Pitchfork playlist call out softly from the unseen distance. It’s easy to sink into this surrounding, but don’t get carried away – the overhead lights are on a motion sensor and you might get left in the dark."

Get more of Zack Shornick’s bathroom recommendations on Tumblr - Hotels I've Pooped In - and Twitter @HotelsIPoopedIn.

Sean Cooley is Thrillist's Chicago Editor, and he miraculously photographed each bathroom without anyone walking in. Follow him @SeanCooley.