green hotels?

I stayed at the Le Meridien hotel in Dallas recently, and I was impressed with its seeming attention to environmental friendliness. When I checked in, I took note of the Energy Star plaque on the desk.

Many hotels like to put out information about their green practices, but I take it with a grain of salt, because it doesn't seem to be a true commitment, just a marketing ploy. But I believed Le Meridien might be different, since they seem to be different/more boutique compared to standard chain hotels.

And I realized the first night that they might not be. When I arrived in my room, it was a cool 66 degrees inside, with the thermostat set on 65. I immediately upped it to 75, but the fan didn't kick off within a couple minutes, so I turned the entire unit off. And it wasn't just for the energy usage factor; I was also freezing cold. About an hour later, I heard the unit kick on again, and when I looked at it, it was set back on 65. I'm assuming the default setting is 65 degrees, and even if you mess with it, it eventually reverts back to the default setting.

After some button-pushing on the first night, I found a way to keep the room comfortable overnight.

I spent a couple days in the hotel's conference room, where the air temperature was about equal to a morgue. My sweater, pants and copious amounts of coffee didn't seem to help any. I went to my room at the day's end hoping for some relief, and I found my room back on its 65 degree kick, after having turned it off before I left for the day. So I repeated the button-pushing process all over again to try to find some relief for my popsicle limbs.

I never did figure out why the default setting was so cold, but I mentioned it upon checkout and again in the online survey I completed for the hotel. Hopefully they will take the feedback into consideration, especially after I pointed out having seen that Energy Star plaque and commenting that it's not very energy efficient to have an AC's default setting on 65. I understand that I am more comfortable in the warmth than others are, but 65 is a little unreasonable. 70 or 71 would be much more acceptable universally, I believe, and would cut down a LOT of energy use in the hotel.

But another green aspect of the hotel that impressed me was their Green Choice voucher system. I found a hang tag on the desk in my room that stated if you leave the tag on your door before 2am each day you are staying (excluding checkout days) that notified housekeeping you are willing to forego clean towels and sheets that day, you would receive a $5 voucher good to use against your room bill or redeem for Starwood Preferred Guest points. So for the one day I was eligible, I left out my hang tag and received my voucher under the door. I certainly didn't need fresh towels since I was only there for two mornings, and Lord knows I don't wash my own sheets every day at home. I was excited to be able to apply a $5 credit to my total room bill just for my Green Choice. 

I had an overall great stay at the hotel and would visit again, but I'd hope that they rethink their energy efficiency standards in regards to the chilly room temperatures.

(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.)

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