Can messy hotel rooms save the earth?

Courtesy Provenance Hotels

Eco-friendly hotels incorporate green initiatives ranging from low flow showerheads to heating and air conditioning units that only run when there’s someone in the room.

But while 65 percent of global travelers surveyed by for its 2017 Sustainable Travel Report expressed interest in staying in a “green” accommodation at least once, in the big picture, “The only green that really matters to traveler is money,” said Douglas Quinby, Vice-President, Research at Phocuswright, ” And how great a deal they can get,” said Quinby.

Acknowledging that, some hotels offer guests a cash incentive or some other perk to encourage them to forgo housekeeping services and help conserve water and other resources.

At properties operated by Provenance Hotels in Seattle and Tacoma, WA, Portland, OR, New Orleans, or Nashville the ‘Green for Green’ program, encourages guests staying more than one night to opt out of housekeeping services in exchange for a $5 per day credit for either the honor bar or hotel food and beverage outlets.

About 25 percent of eligible guests take advantage of that offer, said Provenance Hotels spokeswoman Kate Buska, which not only helps the hotels cut down on water usage, but also on the use of cleaning products.

“And reducing consumption of cleaning products, even if they are green, makes our environmental footprint smaller,” said Buska.

High Peaks Resort, in Lake Placid, New York, also offers guest a $5 per night food & beverage credit to opt out of housekeeping, but also offers the option of having that $5 donated directly to an organization that works to keep Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake clean and pristine.

In San Francisco, Hotel Abri’s ‘Green for Green’ program rewards guests with a $5 Starbucks gift card for passing on a room cleaning, while At Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia and Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, guests who opt-in to the ‘Choose to Conserve’ program receive a $10 hotel or food and beverage credit each night they skip housekeeping service.

And both the Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach and the Shade Hotel Redondo Beach in California have arranged to have a non-profit organization, Plant with Purpose, plant a tree in honor of each guest that forgoes housekeeping during their stay.

Big brand hotels do this too.

So far in 2017, nearly 1000 guests of the 1,020-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld have passed on a day of housekeeping in exchange for a $5 on-property food and beverage credit or 500 Hilton Honors points, representing a saving of 13,000 gallons of water for the earth and more than $12,000 of savings for the hotel.

Guests of Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in the Americas who opt-in to the “A Greener Stay’ program and forgo housekeeping receive 500 IHG Rewards Club points following their stay.

And Marriott currently has 1,500 hotels in the US and Canada participating in one of three different programs that allow guests to decline housekeeping in exchange for 250-500 hotel program points or, in Canada, to have a tree planted on their behalf.

According to Marriott, since the three programs launched there have been more than 11 million participating room nights and more than 80,000 trees planted.

While it seems like a win-win situation for hotels to offer guests a perk in exchange for skipping housekeeping services, “It’s often a better deal for the hotels,” said Patricia Griffin of the Green Hotels Association.

“Hotels not only save water, energy and cleaning supplies, but also a great deal of labor,” she said, which is especially helpful in areas where hotels find it hard to keep their housekeeping department fully staffed.

(My story about hotels offering perks for guests who pass on housekeeping also appears on NBC News Travel in a slightly different version.)


Hotel tidbits


Just sharing some tidbits about hotels I’ve stayed at recently – and hope to return to.

In New York City, I was a guest at Marriott’s Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park – which turned out to be in the theater district and around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater, where The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is filmed.

The location could not have been better and my cozy room, with a work desk, complimentary WiFi, city view, coffee maker and crisp white linens was an ideal for base for a one night stay.

I didn’t have time to check out the fitness center, but did spend some time at Nosh!, the living room-style 4th-floor restaurant and bar open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the sort of place where you can get a coffee and just hang out to work or read.  After my stay, I learned that this is the go-to hotel for good friends when they go to New York City to see plays or concerts.

In Portland, Oregon I’ve been a guest recently at some of the darling and diverse Provenance Hotels,  including the Sentinel,  where my room looked just like this, including the terrace and fire pit.

Among the great amenities – a giant fitness room and, on my floor, this ‘secret’ lounge with a snack bar, TV, sofas and cool (fake) wall of books.


In Paris with one extra night to spend in the city, I was a guest at the 37-room charming Grand Pigalle Hotel, in the 9th arrondissement, in the hip South Pigalle, or SoPi, neighborhood.

The first floor has a cozy wine bar and Italian restaurant  where breakfast is also served. Rooms – all different and designed by noted French interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon – have metallic wallpaper, brass lamps and handles, and tiled bathrooms with deep tubs. Some have terraces too.

My only regret from my stay: I was too busy making sure not to stumble on the circular stairs to snap a photo of the martini glass-themed carpeting.






Travel Tidbits: Travel Ban + Air Canada

In the news as the week ends…

A federal appeals court refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Trump’s response:


Air Canada is celebrating its 80th anniversary and on Thursday had a series of events in several Canadian cities  to introduce a new livery design and new employee uniforms.

The new design will eventually appear on Air Canada‘s fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft, but the first three aircraft sporting the new livery are already flying.

Stay tuned to this weekend for a report on my 24 hour  – intended – stay at Charles de Gaulle Airport, with an overnight at the new in-terminal Yotel.  Plotting out my meals, my shopping and my sleeping in a tiny, windowless cabin.


Stuck at CDG? YotelAir might be an option

Beside the great name, the Yotel concept is pretty clever: small, hip, ship-cabin inspired hotel rooms bookable for short stays at airports.

There are Yotels in London at both Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and one in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

There’s also non-airport Yotel in New York City and a few more in-city Yotels planned, including in Boston and Singapore.

I’ve stayed at the Heathrow Yotel when it first opened and more than once at the in-city Yotel in New York City.

With the November opening of a Yotel post-security at Charles de Gaulle airport – in the Terminal 2E transit lounge area known as ‘Instant Paris’ – Yotel has rebranded their airport properties as YotelAir (makes sense) and added some fresh new amenities.

In addition to the amenities inside the rooms -space-saving adjustable beds, bathrooms with monsoon rain showers, mood lighting, Wi-Fi and HD TVs, in the hotel’s public area there’s a vending wall for drinks, snacks and travel essentials and a lounge with complimentary hot drinks.

Rates: “Premium” cabins – for two- are currently  €75 ($80) for 4 hours or from €115 (about $122) for an overnight stay. Family cabins – for four – are €95 (about $101) for 4 hours or  €135 (about $145) for overnight.  For those who just need a pre-or-post flight ‘Wash and Go,’ there are Shower Cabins that rent for €15 ($16) for 45 minutes.

I’ll be visiting and, hopefully, staying at this new Yotel in early February, so will share a full report then.



Souvenir Sunday: cool hotel key cards

Few hotels actually issue guests real door keys anymore and opt instead for electronic key cards, with magnetic strips on the back.

The face of the key cards often have only the name of the hotel, if that, but some hotels get quite creative with the tiny bit of real estate that guests carry around and look at multiple times during a stay.

Here are two cards I received at hotels in Portland, Oregon that morphed from keys to souvenirs in a snap.

Portland key cards

The one on the left was issued to me at the Hotel Lucia, which has photos by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer and Oregon native David Hume Kennerly in the rooms, the hallways and public areas.

The key card on the right is from the Hotel deLuxe, which has a Golden Age of Hollywood cinema theme.

Both hotels are part of the Provenance Hotels group.