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?
Falling asleep in economy class can be a test of flexibility and patience, often depending on how tired you are. No matter how many ways your body contorts to sleep sitting upright, it’s hard to avoid the dreaded head drop, from little to no head support, that can easily jerk you (and your neighbor) awake.
Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Heathrow Airport built a “bespoke set of anti-drone systems” around its airfield. The system, created by U.K.-based firm Operational Solutions, detects and tracks drones in surrounding airspace. The “new and innovative” system can also locate drone pilots and show their location.
New upgrades at Frankfurt Airport include renovations at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center, as well as the addition of a new hotel, Frankfurt Airport Marriott. To make room for the new property, the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel was reduced to 779 guestrooms from its previous 1,008 guestrooms, allowing for 233 guestrooms at Frankfurt Airport Marriott. All Sheraton guestrooms are now refurbished.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Marriott International had a record 2019, marking seven straight years of record-breaking organic growth.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
A historic U.K., hotel, The Grand Hotel Birmingham is expected to open this summer after extensive renovations. One of the city’s most iconic buildings, The Grand Hotel Birmingham was originally constructed in the 1870s.