The hypocrisy of hotels

Towels on a rack in a hotel room

Towels on a rack in a hotel room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a raving tree hugger, nor do I walk the streets campaigning on green issues, but I do appreciate the little efforts here and there to make our lives on the planet a bit more ecologically sound. Everyone should do their little bit and all those little bits should add up to something.

Invariably, when you stay in a hotel, there will be a notice tucked away somewhere in the bathroom which explains the hotel’s policy on cleaning towels. It will wax lyrical about how seriously the hotel chain takes environmental issues before petitioning that guests help in this endeavour by choosing when to have their towels washed, thus saving on all that nasty ecologically unsound detergent.

Sometimes, it’s not just the towels that get this treatment, in the hotel I am currently writing this, they also ask you to be a bit more economical with the sheets too. I don’t have a problem with the policy because who washes their sheets and towels every single day at home?

But I can’t help feeling that this practise must save the hotel a fortune in laundry costs, so they are not making this plea out of the goodness of their hearts. I would be a lot more impressed with their green credentials if they donated the money saved by this laundry frugality to some worthy ecological cause.

I find it amusing that the very same hotel that is lecturing me on my impact on the planet, with no sense of irony, replaces my soap every day with a brand new freshly wrapped bar. I can cope with using the same soap two days in a row. If they really cared about saving the planet, they wouldn’t make the tap water so poisonous that you are left with no choice but to imbibe the bottled variety which can be as much as 1,000x more damaging to the environment. Not only that – but it’s damned expensive too.

I like the individual jars of jam and honey – but they can’t be too good for the environment either. Nor can the two-inch bottle of ketchup that contains exactly enough for one breakfast. My room has 11 light bulbs and they are annoyingly controlled by a complex interplay of switches that means you need to go through a painful deductive process to get them all to switch off at once. I suspect most people try for a while then give up and go out leaving some on.

Maybe I’ll bring a tent next time.