Q&A WITH ANGELIQUE PLATAS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
In our September issue, associate Editor Angelique Platas got into the fall spirit discussing plans for a seasonal getaway to kick off fall and say goodbye to summer. This inspired the question: What’s your favorite way to commemorate the end of summer? Is it a family barbecue or one last getaway? A few readers wrote in with responses:
Every year my family closes our beach house season with a big end-of-summer cookout. Over the years, the family tradition has become more of a block party, with friends and neighbors joining in. It’s actually a really satisfying way to welcome the changing season with one last summer party.
MERYL WILSON, via email
My husband and I went to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, this year to hike around Lake Louise and take in the incredible vistas of the region. It was our first visit to the area and definitely won’t be our last — we already plan to go back in the spring. Between the stunning drives and chilly hikes, we are ready for fall to fully kick in at home.
JENNIFER REED, via email
MINI TOILETRIES MAKE (MORE) NOISE
In our Aug. 6 issue of eFlyer USA, we reported on InterContinental Hotels Group’s decision to end miniature toiletries as part of its sustainability efforts. More readers wrote in with thoughts:
It’s all well and good until some- one poisons the “bulk” supplies (like the Dominican Republic alcohol) and someone sues InterContinental for damages.
LIZ HA, via email
True change is difficult in nearly every situation. The miniatures served as souvenirs for years after each trip. However, the change is a refreshing in- novation for both travelers and the hotel chain. My advice: Let the packaging continue serving the souvenir aspect. Wishing you the best in this revolution of being Earth-friendly! ISRAEL T. MABHOO, via email
With growing concern over single-use plastics, including the overwhelming amount in our oceans, I found the lead-in and spin to your story in poor taste. How about a positive article on hotel chains’ green efforts? After all, quite a bit of those efforts are not recoverable expenses.
FRED DIKEMAN, via email
IHG’s making a bad move. I’ll advise my clients to avoid IHG properties when this happens. IHG’s doing this to save money and not to use less plastic.
MICHAEL J. GREEN, via email
Good for them. The article used the word bleak, but that word applies to what’s happening to the planet, not to the fact I don’t get mini-toiletries. I’m happy a hotel chain is actually trying not to contribute to the problem of too much plastic, which is choking our oceans, wildlife and even us.
FRANCESCA KELLY, via email
It’s about time but hardly revolutionary. In the U.K., hotels have used bulk toiletries for at least 12 years. I suspect it’s been at least as long in continental Europe. “This bleak vi- sion” hardly dissuaded travelers from visiting either destination.
E.C., via email
The green virtue signaling by IHG in eliminating small toiletry bottles is both duplicitous and self-serving — what’s the difference between 8–10 small bottles or one larger bottle in terms of environmental impact?
It’s still plastic, and improperly disposed of, it’s still waste. This is merely a sound bite to camouflage a cost reduction for the business. Why don’t properties focus on recycling used bottles, thereby eliminating the waste?
Using large bottles, especially in the shower, is probably unsanitary; imagine who had their dirty hands on those bottle pumps during the previous room occupation, squirting dose after dose while showering!
With all due respect to IHG and other hotels going this route, it’s hypocrisy, as is California’s pending ban on all small bottles. Doesn’t anyone or any institution have the insight to challenge these feel-good, in- name-only “green” platitudes?
PATRICK COPPS, via email
The article on IHG is confusing. Exactly how are bulk sizes being implemented? They can’t replace daily miniature soap bars with a single standard bar per stay; the waste from an open large bar that can’t be used by the next occupant far exceeds the waste from a few small ones. Switching to liquid soap or shampoo dispensers causes other problems. The dispensers need to be fixed in place or face the liability of tampering. Guests may not be aware dispensers are about to run out while showering or washing. The traveler isn’t the only potential loser. One of the ways a hospitality provider is able to stand above competition is through the subtle cachet of fine toiletries. What can we look forward to being pampered with now?
LOUIS R URCIUOLO, via email
I salute InterContinental for having the guts to remove those tiny toiletries and reduce plastic waste. Ditto its earlier move to remove plastic straws. Plastic pollutes our oceans and fouls the environment. The time has come to ignore the “convenience” of guests or their love of tucking those free tiny items into their suitcases. Global warm- ing is heating our planet, a dire example of catering to the convenience of people who inhabit this planet.
Thanks for the story. From now on, I will only book InterContinental Hotels. Bravo, IHG!
DR. BARBARA SIEK, via email
This is the dumbest thing I can imagine any hotel doing. This is not about operating responsibly, and it certainly doesn’t contribute to sustainability. In fact, I can’t imagine what it’s about. It’s not saving them money, and will result in a massive waste of products.
MAUREEN O’MALLEY, via email
I’m a cynic. None of this makes me cheer, “How insightful you are to care.” In my view, major companies taking alleged “environmental saving steps” has less to do with a concern over the environment and more to do with the bot- tom line. All of a sudden companies began to fall in lockstep — no more plastic straws, plastic bags or individual travel sizes at hotels. This falls in with the “We’ll give you 500 extra hotel points per night if you don’t have your room cleaned during your lengthy stay” or “Put your towel here to reuse or here to replace.”
I understand each company wants to present a shiny picture to their shareholders, presenting a decent profit margin because they eliminated the cost of straws or individual soaps, cut back on housekeeping and laundry costs, or tacked on a “resort fee” while maintaining or raising room rates. As a capitalist, I get it. But don’t insult my intelligence by patting yourselves on the back while intoning, “We’re saving the environment.” This is one more scheme: to make some think they are making a difference because the media reports it as such.
Perhaps IHG is sincere about doing its part as an environmental steward. As soon as I shove my eyes back into place after yet another hard eye roll at all this sincerity, I’ll let you know.
MS. E.R. BENNETT, via email
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MAKES WAVES
In our Aug. 20 issue of eFlyer USA, we report- ed on the temporary closing of a Dominican Republic hotel after a few mysterious deaths. A few readers wrote in with thoughts:
Given the tepid response of hotels and authorities to the deaths in the Dominican Republic and the plethora of other islands available as destinations, I would avoid the Dominican Republic.
SUSAN GOGGIN, via email
I work for an airline and travel for free, and right now I could get a great rate. I would not travel to the Dominican Republic even if it were all free, as it would not be worth risking my or my husband’s life. I don’t drink; but if they are willing to target the alcohol, why not bottled water, too? I don’t feel any- thing is being done to protect the tourists who are spending their money there. From what I have read, no locals have been affected. Doesn’t that tell you something?
JANET WHITMAN, via email
Q&A WITH ERICH MARTIN, ASSISTANT EDITOR
While cruising isn’t for everyone, there is definitely a cruise for every individual style. From Christmas market cruises in Europe to a rundown of what’s new in Port Canaveral and big cruising news coming in 2020, this Cruising Issue also has something for everyone.
I have never been on a cruise with a special itinerary or theme, but I think it would be a cool experience. Have you ever taken a themed cruise?
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Tribute Portfolio helps friends celebrate Friendsgiving with special stay bundles available through Nov. 30. The limited-time bundles feature locally inspired Thanksgiving dinners and amenities.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Marriott recently announced the purchase of W New York – Union Square. The company paid $206 million for the 270-guestroom property, with intentions to transform the hotel into a better representation of the W brand.
Now, travelers in United Polaris class enjoy complimentary baggage delivery service when flying between Newark (EWR) and London (LHR) and staying at one of five Marriott properties.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
Believing human connection makes life more meaningful, Kimpton recently launched its Stay Human Project in Europe. As part of the project, the brand transformed one guestroom from each hotel with the aim of using it to help guests connect to each other, themselves and locals. The unique guestroom experiences are currently available for booking in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands until the end of the year.