SALT LAKE CITY — The high-class restrooms at Grand America Hotel had to settle for No. 2. No. 2 in America, that is.

With the results of the ninth annual "America's Best Restroom Contest" arriving Wednesday morning, the Grand America's bathrooms finished as runner-up to those at The Fountain on Locust, in St. Louis, Mo.

Despite boasting Italian Carerra marble, bronze and crystal chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling commodes, beautifully inlaid African Anegre wood and hand-painted walls, the fancy facilities at Salt Lake's five-star hotel didn't earn enough of the tens of thousands of votes that were cast, to win.

The 2010 contest attracted nominations from a wide cross-section of businesses, including restaurants, hotels and several theaters. Ten finalists were selected based on exceptional hygiene, style and open access to the public.

"We are absolutely thrilled and honored to have been chosen by the public as having the Best Restrooms in America," Joy Grdnic Christensen, owner of the Fountain on Locust, said in a press release. "We put a lot of thought and effort into the design and construction, and we are certain that many of our customers come back because they know our bathrooms are not just unique but also clean. Earning this national recognition means a lot to our entire staff."

Cintas Senior Marketing Manager Rich Bing said the contest was meant to be fun, but also convey a "critical message that restroom hygiene matters — for good health and good business."

Third place in the contest, was Bryant Park, of New York; 4th went to Embassy Theatre, in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and the No. 5 best restroom was The Muse Hotel, also in New York.

This was the first time Salt Lake or Utah has had a finalist in the national contest.

The Grand America is a 24-story hotel with 775 guest rooms, including 295 suites, and is the flagship property of The Grand America Hotels & Resorts, owned by Earl Holding.

Cintas Corporation created the Best Restroom award in 2002 to honor those businesses across America that place high value on hygiene and exceptional style in their public restrooms.

Previous winners have included restrooms at the University of Notre Dame, The Grand Casino in Biloxi, Miss., Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wis., the Fort Smith, at the Arkansas Airport, Wendell's Restaurant in Westerville, Ohio, Jungle Jim's International Market, in Fairfield, Ohio, The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., and, in 2009, the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre, in Branson, Mo.

Complete contest results are available at: www.bestrestroom.com.

e-mail: lynn@desnews.com