Doing the laundry is having a moment.
Once a time-consuming chore for travelers, many wash houses now provide much more than soap suds—everything from a library to a bird sanctuary—perfect for multitasking while getting your clothes clean.
Top Picks for You
Soap and the City
WHERE: Melbourne, Australia
“I like my money right where I can see it … Hanging in my closet,” reads the quote from Carrie in writing on top of the dryers at this Sex and the City themed self-service laundry in Melbourne’s hipster suburb of Brunswick. But with the walls of this wash house covered with images of the New York City skyline and cosmopolitans, we’re sure the TV heroine would agree that clothes need to be taken out on the town now and again, if only for a quick spin.
I Love My Laundry
WHERE: Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa’s “first destination laundromat” (only recognizable as a laundry because of its name) doubles as a dim sum restaurant and offers a view of Table Mountain from its door. There’s also a range of wine from some of the region’s best estates, in addition to the brand’s own coffee, Route ZA, available for purchase to customers dropping their laundry off, passers-by, or both.
INSIDER TIPThis laundry doesn’t offer self-service.
The World’s Largest Laundromat
WHERE: Berwyn, U.S.
Ever wondered what you could be doing while waiting for clean clothes? Looking at a bird sanctuary full of finches, doves, and canaries, watching video games or face painting are some of the options here. There’s free daily donuts and coffee, free weekly pizza, and a free souvenir T-shirt for tourists. Oh, and then there’s the laundry—300 plus machines. Open 24 hours a day every day of the year including Christmas.
Coffee & Laundry
WHERE: Hong Kong
Unwind from the city’s hustle and bustle and wait for your washing over a pretty pink iced sakura latte with a macaroon. Located in the city’s Sheung Wan area, not far from tourist attractions like The Peak, Hong Kong’s first 24-hour self-serve laundry has a café, open until evenings, serving Instagrammable pastries and beverages.
Spin Laundry Lounge
WHERE: Portland, U.S
If you want to spread out your washing, both literally and metaphorically speaking, this is the place. Spin boasts over 40 feet of folding tables to accommodate large items, plus what it claims are the world’s most energy-efficient machines, and, so the time will fly while you wait for your laundry, a café and bar with food, beer, wine, arcade games, and pinball.
WHERE: Ghent and Antwerp, Belgium
Seven years after launching in Ghent, WASBAR is as known for its waffles as it is for its washing. There are now five branches across Ghent and Antwerp, and the chain will expand to 10 more cities in 2020. Also on the menu are pancakes, bagels, bagel burgers, salads, soup, hot beverages and lemonade. Local designers offered their creative input into the Ghent location, which has a pastel color theme with funky artwork.
WHERE: Texas, U.S
With a menu full of burgers, buffalo wings and fries which you can wash down with the finest Texan craft beers, Harvey Washbangers, boasting 80 machines for laundromat use, offers plenty of bang for your buck. Diners can keep an eye on where their clothes are at with what Washbangers describe as a “fancy-schmancy lightboard,” but when you’re having this much fun who’s checking?
The Laundry Café
WHERE: Philadelphia, U.S
With four branches spread across the city, The Laundry Café offers washing, drying, folding and dry-cleaning services. But with their relaxing massage chairs, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and fountain drinks, you may be likely to stay—or overstay. Their vending machines also dispense laundry supplies plus beverages and drinks.
WHERE: Oslo, Norway
A café-cum-library-cum laundromat, this wash house boasts over 4,000 books— from the classics to comics—a menu including (what else?) avocado on toast, and state of the art brightly colored machines, for what it promises will be the “best washing day ever.” Events include gypsy jazz nights featuring special cocktails.
The Missing Socks
WHERE: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Located a stone’s throw from the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat, The Missing Socks serves award-winning coffee comprised of beans from Vietnam and Thailand, roasted by an award-winning Cambodian barista, local Khmer food, (tourist’s favorite) banoffee pie, and “waffle burgers.” There’s a bed and breakfast for anyone needing accommodation.
Yummi Laundry Café
WHERE: Toronto, Canada
Muskoka mocha, moose tracks, bear claw, wolf paws, and heavenly hash and black raspberry thunder are just some of the over 20 Kawartha ice-cream flavors found here. Set in a part of the city popular with Italians, Portuguese, and Latinos, Yummi is keen to lighten their footprint so have only water efficient machines, LED lighting, and energy efficient TVs.