Inspired by Grumpy Traveller’s (aka David Whitley) Going green – but not at breakfast post, I started thinking about the eco-initiatives some hotels have in place that annoy me. The problem isn’t the attempt to create a greener hotel. For me, like David, it’s hotels that pretend they’re being green, while not putting their principles into practice, or, worse, implementing tokenistic eco schemes that might make them look green on the surface, but that are nothing more than greenwash.
These are the top three ‘eco’ practices that annoy me:
1. Towel reuse torment
I know I’m not alone with this. And I should point out that I’m IN FAVOUR OF TOWEL REUSE. What I’m not in favour of are the two most common practices relating to this:
- The sign that says, ‘Please reuse your towels to help us save the planet’, especially when that is the one and only green initiative the hotel is implementing, and we all know good and well that this single initiative saves the hotel loads on their water and energy bills and cleaning costs. And that’s fine. But don’t pretend you’re offering this as a service to the planet when your main motivation is a service to your bank balance.
Instead, just put up a sign that says, ‘If you would like to reuse your towels, please hang them on the hook. If you want fresh towels, throw them in the bath.’ End of. No need for the green spiel here. We all know it’s greener to reuse them.
- I follow your instructions, hang my towels on the hook, and come back to my room to find the housekeeping staff have given me new ones anyway. TRAIN YOUR STAFF.
2. Recycling bin rage
I love these and am all for them. What I’m not all for is when the only recycling bins are in one prominent location in the lobby, with huge signs about your eco initiatives, but not in guestrooms or anywhere else in the building. Do you really think that majority of guests are going to gather up all their recycling every night and traipse down to the lobby? No. Please DO RECYCLE. Just make it easier for us to do our part.
3. Climate control chaos
Why are hotel rooms always either freezing cold or baking hot? Because staff keep fiddling with the controls, that’s why. Whenever I stay at a hotel in a hot destination, I invariably walk into a freezing cold room. I turn off the AC. I come back later. It’s freezing again. This battle goes on for days. The opposite happens in cold climated. You could easily fry an egg by leaving it on the bed of some of the ski hotels I’ve stayed in.
If you’re claiming to be green, yet constantly whacking up or down the AC/heating, nobody is going to believe your claims. Once I’m in the room, assume I’m an adult and know what temperature I’m comfortable at. And again, TRAIN YOUR STAFF. And by train them, I don’t mean train them to constantly adjust the temperature to your preconceived idea of the perfect temperature. Train them to leave the bloody thermostat alone from the time a guest checks in until they check out.
What so-called “green initiatives” drive you crazy when you stay at a hotel?