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element hotels' housekeeping honcho reveals "eco-etiquette" secrets - May 5, 2008

WHITE PLAINS, NY – May 5, 2008 – Rock stars notoriously trash their hotel rooms, but you don’t have to be Sid Vicious to leave your room in disarray. In fact, it’s your everyday traveler’s etiquette that one would find most surprising -- and more specifically, their lack of “eco-etiquette,” according to Randal Savage, responsible for housekeeping at ELEMENT Hotels as Corporate Director, Rooms at Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HOT).  The average hotel guest might not invite 30 of his closet friends over for a 4 AM fiesta, but from leaving lights on all day to air-conditioning the outdoors, hotel guests often leave their “eco-etiquette” at home.

Over the years, Savage has heard it all.  Room attendants have entered empty suites to find the lights on, TV blaring and even the shower running.  “I don’t think anyone is intentionally wasteful on the road, but it can be hard to stay on the straight and narrow when your routine is disrupted by travel.  We know our guests want to be eco-conscious; it is our job to make it easy for them,” said Savage.

The challenge was confirmed in a survey commissioned by ELEMENT Hotels last summer.  The results show that despite their best intentions, nearly 60% of frequent travelers admit to dropping their “green routines” on the road.  While 70% agree that they try to conserve water “as much as possible” at home, only 18% do the same in a hotel.  And 63% percent admit to being more likely to leave a light on when they leave a hotel room than home.  The survey was conducted by the research firm STUDYLOGIC.

In response, Starwood is building ELEMENT Hotels from the ground up as the first hotel brand requiring all of its hotels brand-wide to pursue U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Certification.  The ELEMENT hotel concept will make it chic and easy for guests to be eco-friendly on the road.  ELEMENT features energy efficient stainless steel appliances and lighting, water-efficient faucets and fixtures and bins for paper, plastic and glass which make recycling easy.   Filtered water in guest rooms and amenity dispensers in the showers reduce plastic bottle waste. In addition, ELEMENT hotels use low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints and carpets with up to 100% recycled content and anti-microbial carpet pads which improve indoor air quality for guests and staff.  Guests driving hybrid cars are rewarded with priority parking.   Even the ubiquitous “Do Not Disturb” sign gets a green makeover, replacing the traditional paper tag with the environmentally-friendly magnet.  

Committed to providing a no-compromise, eco-chic experience, ELEMENT makes it easy to be environmentally responsible without having to sacrifice a great guest experience.  Travel indulgences at ELEMENT include Westin’s Heavenly bed, spa-like bathrooms with oversize showers and rain showerheads which are water efficient, a state-of-the-art fitness center, fresh and healthy complimentary breakfast and organic pantry options, plus the latest in technology and neat extras like complimentary bikes for guests and staff and local area information on the TV’s.

The first ELEMENT hotel opens this summer in Lexington, MA, followed by:  ELEMENT Summerlin (Las Vegas, NV); ELEMENT Houston Vintage Park (Houston, TX), and ELEMENT Arundel Mills (Baltimore, MD). 

But savvy travelers don’t have to wait for ELEMENT to open its doors this summer to start reducing their environmental impact on the road.  Savage’s background in hotel housekeeping led him to identify several smart choices travelers can make to improve their “Eco-Etiquette”:

  • Get unplugged:  Many people don’t realize that their cell phone charger, laptop cable and other electrical plugs drain power while they are plugged in, even if they are not in use.  In fact, only 5% of the power used by an average cell phone charger is used to charge the phone—the other 95% is wasted energy. 
  • Seize the day:  Take advantage of natural light as much as possible—it is as renewing for your spirits as it is for the planet. 
  • Chill out:  Hotels are often climate-controlled, but many will let you adjust the room temperature.  Always set the temperature around 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer to maximize both energy efficiency and personal comfort.
  • Lights out:  Keeping the bathroom light off overnight makes a big impact—and will help you to sleep better.  Traveling with a nightlight is an easy, eco-friendly alternative.
  • Conserve while you sleep:  ELEMENT’s survey confirmed that only a small percentage of people change their linens every day at home—so why should a hotel be any different?  Taking advantage of a hotel’s linen reuse policy is a smart choice.
  • Use common sense: Be sure to turn off the lights and TV and make sure faucets are closed before leaving your room. 

 

“ELEMENT hotels are designed to be as appealing aesthetically as they are eco-friendly, so travelers never compromise on style and comfort,” says Brian McGuinness, Vice President of ELEMENT hotels.  “From improving the quality of the air, to minimizing pollutants and toxic chemicals, to providing ample access to natural light, ELEMENT provides a cleaner, healthier environment and a sense of well being, all designed to help our guests thrive on the road.”

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Worldwide Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le Méridien® and the recently announced aloft SM and ELEMENT SM Hotels. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

 

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