If you have a taste for luxury, the throne room can be the best seat in the house. We're talking about the toilet, of course. The rich, famous, quirky and tech-savvy can get pretty intense about the pause that refreshes. If you doubt that, we have some world famous and pricy porcelain thrones to show you -- as well as some tips for keeping them clean. Instead of porcelain, though, think gold and jewels. From the depths of space -- well, the space station anyway -- to the mysterious orient, let's explore the fabulous flush, the divine dump and the beauteous excesses of elegant elimination.
Although most of the commodes on this list are too expensive for the average consumer, the Kohler Numi toilet may be in your price range if you insist on comfort, style and functionality. It's a space-age toilet with an impressive sticker price of about $6,400 -- but that includes some pretty fancy features. It looks neat, too. Here's what you'll get for the money:
- motion-activated lid and seat that opens and closes automatically -- no more girl-guy wrangling about the toilet seat with this baby
- onboard bidet with integrated air dryer, multiple spray patterns and pressure and temperature adjustment
- activated charcoal filtration system to control odor even when the toilet is dirty
- heated seat and foot warmer
- light panel for midnight bathroom visits
- sound system with built-in speakers and MP3 docking station
- touchscreen remote with onboard charger
Although the Kohler Numi (we really want to call this a personal care system) is pretty darned amazing, it doesn't clean itself. If you can afford to buy one of these status symbol toilets, though, you probably have a maid who'll be happy to clean it for you.
Named for the 8th-century French ruler, this wood and porcelain toilet looks like it's fit for a queen out of a fairytale. It's a new design, though. If you have the $14,123 (or more with inflation) purchase price, by all means indulge. Keep your tiara nearby so you can immerse yourself in the experience of royal luxury, though.
The Dagobert toilet is part of the Herbeau Kitchen Couture line of products known for its blending of classic styling with modern technology. The exterior is made of solid ash, chimes sound when the seat lid is raised and a bell sounds when the toilet is flushed. The unit also has an onboard candleholder (we kid you not) and ashtray.
Go for it, if you can. At least you'll never lose your way to the john in a blackout.
You've probably seen this toilet mentioned before. We like it because it's so darned eco-friendly. It's constructed inside a man-made grotto about 30 minutes from downtown Shanghai. It's actually situated in an art park featuring one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in all of Asia.
Calling this artistic wonder a bathroom inside a cave just doesn't do justice to its $750,000 construction cost. The Moon River Art Park toilet is part of a 10,000-foot manmade cave within the park that's open to the public as a functioning restroom every day of the year. It took a crew of sculptors more than a year to build it, and if you like stalactites, you'll love the look of this bat-friendly loo. You won't be alone in enjoying it, either. On a busy day, 10,000 guests visit the park, and most of them use the facilities. Enjoy the flush. It's like no other on Earth. Oh, and when these toilets get dirty, well, with so much dirt and rock as a distraction, who'd know?
Another entry from China, the Hang Fung Gold Toilet is a bit of a cheat. Like the Swarovski crystal toilet, it's just for show. It is part of a solid gold bathroom on display at the Hang Fung Gold Technology Group headquarters in Hong Kong. It cost $5 million to create but could be worth quite a bit more these days. This is a tourist favorite even if it isn't a functioning commode. Sad, though. It would be nice to sit on a golden throne, don't you think? At least this one doesn't need a toilet brush.
Space can be an unfriendly place when you need to use the facilities. That's why the most expensive toilet ever made is out of this world -- literally. It's outfitted with leg restraints to keep the astronauts seated during bathroom breaks, so it's a serious piece of equipment. Clearly, going to the bathroom isn't a simple dump and flush operation in space. Liquid waste is recycled in a three-step process and reused. Solid waste isn't recycled. (We're breathing a sigh of relief here).
In 2007, NASA purchased the toilet from the Russians for use in the American section of the station. It was considered a bargain at the time. A similar toilet was already in use on the Russian side, and designing one from scratch would have cost NASA even more than the staggering $19,000,000 price tag.
Living in clutter can actually be very bad for your health, both physical and mental. HowStuffWorks digs into the mess.
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- Huang, Fan. Shanghai List. "Gold toilet worth 1.28 million RMB on display in Hainan." 11/23/11. (6/5/12). http://shanghaiist.com/2011/11/23/128_million_rmb_toilet.php
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- Sunseri , Gina. "Testy Toilet on Space Station." ABC News. 7/19/09. (6/5/12). http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=8122374&page=1#.T9NnarWqaqw
- Travel Channel. "Shanghai's Bathroom Cave." (6/5/12). http://www.travelchannel.com/video/shanghais-bathroom-cave
- The Crimson. "Fifteen Minutes' Minutes." 11/20/03. (6/5/12). http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2003/11/20/fifteen-minutes-minutes-on-tuesday-in/
- Thornhill, Ted. "Royal flush: The £3,900 toilet that's fit for a king." 4/16/11. (6/5/12). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377554/Royal-flush-The-3-900-Kohler-Numi-toilet-thats-fit-king.html
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