Contrary to popular belief, sometimes, one can reinvent the wheel. In this case, we are talking about a trending alternative in public lavatories!
When out and about, especially when traveling, parents often worry about dirty facilities or begging stores to use their restrooms. Introducing 2theloo, a relatively new concept birthed in the Netherlands in 2011 by Eric Treurniet and his friend Almar Holtz. Their goal: to provide a clean place to go in even the busiest of places.
2theloo is a regular store where customers, for a nominal fee, can purchase the use of a clean toilet. Travelers can find these facilities in high traffic areas like shopping malls, train and gas stations, and pedestrian street malls. Each location sells toiletry-related products, gifts, and gadgets in a store setting. Some even have a coffee corner in the front of their store like the one we went to in Tel Aviv.
There are several 2theloo shops in Israel. The one that we saw, which used to be located on King George Street, is now just around the corner on Dizengoff Street, diagonally opposite the Embassy of Cyprus. It is a modernized, clean, and safe environment for families and individuals to enjoy when nature calls.
There are over 200 2theloo ‘stores’ around the world. Each store has its unique décor, some humorous, others blending in with the surroundings. Some offer the use of the restroom with the purchase of coffee. Many have music and lights, and one can totally forget that this is a public lavatory facility. The location we visited featured seven stalls and two urinals and offered toiletries, wipes, diapers, hand soaps, toys lotions and even sodas for sale.
When we visited, the adult booths featured large poster murals on each wall that provided for an enjoyable ambiance.
The first stall, which we nicknamed the ‘national geographic’ stall, had a wrap-around photo of a polar bear swimming in clear blue waters. The second, boasting a hip city vibe, depicted a blown-up nighttime photo of the Azrieli towers. Meanwhile, the third stall, covered with a giant picture of the Tel Aviv beachfront, catered to sea lovers.
But it was 2theloo’s kids’ facilities that interested our kids. As we entered, we saw the first room on the left was dedicated to children. The room featured two spotless commodes, cleanliness that any family can appreciate. The first thing we noticed was that everything, from the toilets to the sinks, was lower than average. These lowered facilities made for a fun and accessible experience for our kids. On the other side of the room, we found a giraffe motif baby changing table with two stuffed animals for parents or caretakers to use while changing their infant’s diapers. A spinning disco mirrored ball and colored lights completed the room’s entertaining look.
Since it is a store and not a regular public toilet facility, there are hours of operation. Except for Fridays, when the store is open from 8 am to 5 pm, patrons can go and use the facilities any day between 10 am and 10 pm.
Autism Travel Tips
- 2theloo is a great option for parents of children with autism, particularly if their kids are not potty trained.
- Unlike public facilities that separate the different sexes, here, parent’s can accompany kids at any age should they require help.
- Parents should bookmark the company’s web page. This way, they will be able to find the nearest facility when they need it.
- The decor of the various rooms can fascinate kids, and they might wish to see the others. Therefore, it is pertinent for parents to explain to them ahead of time that exploring other stalls may not be a possibility when the rooms are occupied.
- The lower to the ground facilities in the children’s stalls might upset some kids.