A Breath of Fresh Air
More and more midmarket chains are joining the crusade to make hotel rooms safe for the environmentally sensitive, or just plain germ-phobic. Marriott and Westin properties are now smoke-free. Courtyard by Marriott supplies allergen-resistant pillows on request. And hypoallergenic rooms are no longer a rarity. At Hampton Inn in Sarasota, a specially sanitized room with, among other things, an air purifier and a chlorine-removing showerhead is just $15 extra a night.
Asking guests to reuse their towels was just the start. These days hotels are choosing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and installing low-flow faucets, toilets, and showers, all in the name of helping the environment (though reducing energy and water use certainly doesn’t hurt the companies’ bottom line).
Among the chains cropping up: “lifestyle” brands that aim to reel in customers with smart designs. Hyatt Place has living room–like lobbies, Hotel Indigo wears primary colors, Aloft features flat-screen TV’s that connect to your laptop, and Nylo boasts staff uniforms by a Project Runway finalist. And now Ian Schrager, the boutique hotelier, and Marriott are teaming up on a new kind of “chain”: each property will have its own look. Which is about as far from cookie-cutter as you can get.