news & features


JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America Debuts with Local-Centric F&B Offerings

BLOOMINGTON, MINN.—The JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America has opened. The property, which was designed in collaboration with award-winning architects DLR Group and acclaimed hospitality industry leader Design Force, is the JW Marriott brand’s first in Minneapolis and is part of Mall of America’s recent luxury expansion. Executive leadership from the property along with officials from the City of Bloomington, Mall of America, hotel developers Mortenson, and hotel ownership Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) hosted an event as the hotel opened its doors to the public for the first time. “The Twin Cities region is particularly well-suited for our continued growth in the United States,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President, Luxury Brand Management & Guest Experience at Marriott International. “Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the fastest growing areas in the Midwest and the expansion of Mall of America, designed to showcase luxury retail and hospitality concepts, is in alignment with JW Marriott’s brand ethos.” The JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America features 342 guestrooms.

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publisher's point of view
Team Effort Required or Much Will Be Fumbled in Your Hotel Laundry

As part of HX: The Hotel Experience, the trade show held earlier this month in New York, I moderated a panel discussion on innovations in the laundry and how one can benefit by saving energy, reducing water and chemical consumption, and extending towel and linen life. There was a lot of laundry experience represented on the stage that day. It was an honor to have companies like Water Energy Technologies and Laundry Consulting, Pellerin Milnor Corp., Xeros, Inc., and P&G Professional Business represented. Admittedly, I have never worked in a hotel laundry or even worked in a hotel for that matter, but I have gotten a pretty good sense over the many years that I have been covering this industry that the laundry is one of the operational areas most prone to inefficiencies and dysfunctionality—and possibly even strangeness.

guest column
How Energy Benchmarking Can Help the Hotel Industry

Being comfortable in a hotel is one of the top guest priorities, which can mean a chilled, air-conditioned room, steaming hot shower, or keeping the television on all night. However, guest comfort and satisfaction can sometimes come at a cost, equating to big energy footprints and hefty utility bills. On average, America’s 47,000 hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy. It’s no surprise that energy represents the single fastest-growing operating cost in the lodging industry (according to the EPA). To track and manage that growing energy use number, hotels can benchmark their buildings, which can result in energy savings, lower utility bills, and an all-around more efficient building that guests will want to return to, again and again. The old mantra still holds true: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

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green hotel focus
Repurposed Shipping Container Equivalent to One-Acre Farm for The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

NAPLES, FLORIDA—The air outside may be a balmy 95 degrees but the temperature inside The Grow House (a.k.a. CropBox) at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples is an ideal 65 to 72 degrees—perfect for growing lettuce and other micro-greens. Since July, Executive Chef George Fistrovich has been growing the equivalent of an acre of vegetables in a repurposed shipping container that sits in the parking lot of the hotel. Measuring 40 feet by 8 feet in size, the container is equipped with everything one needs to grow crops—lights, planting racks, HVAC system, all of the necessary hydroponic components, and a system of sensors to monitor just about every environmental condition. On the day Green Lodging News interviewed Fistrovich, he expected to be harvesting 1,400 heads of lettuce in the following five or six days. He and his colleagues were on their third lettuce growing cycle.

upcoming events
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Oregon Convention Center

Friday, December 11, 2015

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Monday, January 25, 2016

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Monday, January 25, 2016

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

personnel profile
Auberge Resorts Collection’s Mark Harmon Inducted into Napa County Historical Society Lodging Hall of Fame

NAPA VALLEY, CALIF.—Mark Harmon, Founder and Managing Partner of the Auberge Resorts Collection, was honored by the Napa County Historical Society and inducted into its Lodging Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 12. Named for the company’s Napa Valley flagship hotel, the five-star Auberge du Soleil, Auberge Resorts Collection has played a pivotal role in putting Napa Valley on the map as a destination that is world-renowned for hospitality and culinary excellence. Harmon, who formed the company in 1998, has led Auberge’s growth in Napa Valley and beyond, to destinations as far-flung as Fiji and Costa Rica. The group’s resorts have garnered the highest accolades, and Auberge was recently recognized in Travel + Leisure as one of the top 10 hospitality brands in the world. Auberge Resorts’ Planet Auberge program ensures that the company’s resorts minimize their property footprints while making positive and meaningful contributions to their local environment and communities.

blog post
The Merger of Marriott & Starwood: A Good Green Marriage?
6 days ago

The announcement this week that Marriott International will acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will not only expand Marriott’s global property footprint, it will also dramatically increase its environmental footprint. I asked a Marriott representative to chat about the integration of Marriott and Starwood’s environmental programs but she declined, saying that it was much too early. My projection is that from a green standpoint, the marriage of the two companies will be a good one for the most part, as both companies have a lot in common. Both Marriott and Starwood have very successful environmental initiatives. For example, Marriott has a strong commitment to LEED with at least 106 LEED registered hotels and 31 LEED certified hotels. Starwood, with its Element brand alone, has at least 52 LEED hotels open or under development. When Starwood launched Element, it committed the brand to LEED certification for all properties.

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