I have always been fascinated by small inns and bed and breakfasts. It may have something to do with my addiction to reading “The Lord of the Rings” when I was a child. Frodo and his pals stopped at an inn called the Prancing Pony on their way toward Mordor. I always wondered what it would have been like to have stayed at that strange but magical place. I don’t believe there was anything “green” about that inn—except maybe a few elves.
They may not always get the publicity that large hotel operators get but owners of small inns and B&Bs can be just as concerned about cutting costs, saving energy, reducing waste, and having a positive environmental impact. They may do it five rooms, eight rooms or 10 rooms at a time but their efforts should still be applauded.
In this week’s issue of Green Lodging News, the Arbor House, an Environmental Inn, is featured. Located in Madison, Wisc., the eight-room property features numerous environmentally friendly design elements. According to the owners, about 10 to 15 percent of the inn’s 4,000 guests each year stay at the inn because of its green practices.
The Arbor House is just one of many small inns and B&Bs throughout the United States with operations centered on the environment. Each property has benefited significantly by the publicity buzz generated by their responsible management practices. Here are just a couple more examples of successful green establishments:
• The four-room Asheville Green Cottage in Asheville, N.C., trumpets the fact that it features organic sheets and towels, energy-efficient lighting, organic body care products in bulk dispensers, chlorine-filtering showerheads, an extensive recycling program, nontoxic cleaning products, a smoke-free environment, fair trade coffee and healthy snacks. Like the Arbor House, the Asheville Green Cottage’s rooms have nature-inspired themes.
• The 10-room luxury Hotel Green in Nantucket, Mass., has a restaurant that features all-organic cuisine. Mattresses are hypoallergenic and rooms include recycled corrugated cardboard chairs—yes, cardboard. Natural cleaning products are used throughout the property and bathroom soap is so organic it has an expiration date. Towels are made from hemp and pillows are made from buckwheat hulls. Telephones in the rooms are recycled, vintage rotary style.
According to the most recent statistics available from the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), there are approximately 20,000 B&Bs and country inns in the United States that account for about 170,000 rooms. It is clear that this sector of the lodging industry could have a significant positive impact on the environment if its members adopted at least some of the practices described above.
On PAII’s website, I could find no mention of anything pertaining to the environment. Also, there are no environment-related sessions scheduled for the organization’s 2007 conference. Let’s hope that is not a reflection of the level of interest in green operations throughout the B&B and inn community.
No matter the size of your property, you can make a difference for the environment and run a more profitable operation at the same time. If you run a small inn or B&B and believe it should be featured in Green Lodging News, send me an e-mail. I would love to hear from you.
Odds and Ends
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While an editor with Hotel & Motel Management magazine, I was honored to work with Anthony G. Marshall, a columnist who wrote about hospitality law, safety and security issues. I often edited his column and had the good fortune to meet him many times. Tony passed away at the young age of 67 on December 6. I will remember him most for his wit, charm, knowledge of the lodging industry—and his bow ties. Tony, you will be dearly missed.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.