Hotel Rooms—Smoking or Non-Smoking: The Choice Is No Longer Yours

When you make a hotel room reservation do you request a smoking or non-smoking room? Depending on where you book a room, that option may no longer exist. Two major hotel chains and hotels surrounding the “happiest place on Earth,” have recently extinguished the option of lighting up indoors.

As of March 1, 2006, Disney’s three California hotels, Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Grand Californian are 100% smoke-free establishments. The Grand Californian had already been a non-smoking property since its opening in 2001, but you can now breathe easier at the other two hotels as well. Disney officials say the reason for the change is simple. In reservations booked from now until 2010 there were just 35 requests for smoking rooms. Guests will still be allowed to light up outside the hotel in designated areas.

Among the other major hotel groups clearing the air for guests is Westin Hotels, which went smoke-free at its 77 properties in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in early 2006. Hyatt Hotels isn’t going 100% non-smoking as Westin did earlier this year, but it is guaranteeing a smoke-free room to anyone who reserves one. As you know, when you book a hotel room you can state your preference for a smoking or non-smoking room, but you are never given a guarantee that your request will be granted. To that end, Hyatt is offering guests a $100 Hyatt gift card or 5,000 reward points if a non-smoking room isn’t available upon check in. It’s an effort made in good faith, but personally, I rather be guaranteed a non-smoking room. I have always been frustrated with the “you-can-request-a-non-smoking-room-but-it-doesn’t-mean-you-will-get-it” policy that many hotels employ.

So where does the policy change leave guests who do smoke? In most cases, the hotels have designated “smoking” areas in and around their properties. While smokers deal with the growing trend of snuffing out smoking indoors, one New Orleans hotel is putting its own spin on the ban by catering to guests who want to kick their smoking habit. The International House boutique hotel has just announced a “kick the butts” promotion for smokers who want to quit (semi) cold turkey. For $259 a night, you will receive a quit-smoking CD; tip book, hard candies, stress ball and other aids. If that’s not enough, for an extra $250 a hypnotherapist will come to your room to help squash your nicotine cravings.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.