Westin Hotels have become the first hotel chain to go smoke free and have now converted all 77 properties in the US, Canada and the Caribbean, the New York Times reports. The upscale chain, a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, draws many business travelers and has great moderately priced accommodations.
Westin announced the change in December in response to an overwhelming demand from guests. Research among customers showed that 92% preferred smoke-free hotels, including public spaces. Only 6% requested smoking rooms and only 3% actually smoked in them, Westin reports. the poll also found that 80% prefer when restaurants and other indoor places are free of smoke.
This is good news from those suffering from second-hand smoke -- in the floors above and below and among the cheaters who declare they're smoke free and then leave you with a room that has so much room deodorizer sprayed around to mask the smoke that we gag.
The conversion wasn't simple. The makers of the "Heavenly Bed," which started the hotel bed wars and legitimately so, had to replace all soft goods, such as drapes and bedding, and specially treat hard surfaces (walls and carpets) to eliminate smoke residue. Thanks to Westin, we can now safely breathe.