Environmental

Joie de Vivre's New Hotel Takes Its Name Seriously - But It's All in'Good' Fun - By Glenn Hasek

- Toward the end of the movie 'E.T.: The Extraterrestial,' E.T. tells the young boy Elliott to 'be good.' Guests waking up at the Good Hotel in San Francisco's SoMa (South of Market) district are getting the same message just about everywhere they turn at the recently opened 117-room boutique property.

On one of the walls in each guestroom, the words 'begood' are painted in white and yellow. On the ceiling, in glowing letters, the words 'good night' are visible. The Good Hotel is one of the latest unique innovations of Joie de Vivre, which operates California's largest collection of boutique hotels.

'When we started developing the concept for this hotel, we brainstormed extensively on what it meant to be truly 'good,'' said Joie de Vivre creative director Matt Harvey in a press release announcing the new property. 'We chose to focus on three things-a positive, optimistic attitude, environmental awareness (reduce/reuse/recycle), and philanthropy. Our goal is to create a community for our guests that is connected to and benefits our SoMa neighborhood, the city of San Francisco and the world at large. At the very minimum, we feel it is our mission to put a smile on people's faces.'

'It is a hotel with a conscience,' Good Hotel general manager Hervé Blondel told Green Lodging News. 'An increasing number of people are choosing to stay at our hotel because of what we are doing.'

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Hot Line for Volunteering

Guests at the Good Hotel can choose to be 'voluntourists' through the hotel's partnership with One Brick, an organization that provides support to local nonprofits. A 'give back' dedicated phone line in the lobby connects guests to One Brick. Blondel says that while only a small number of people have participated so far, awareness of the program is growing. 'To create awareness is the most important thing,' he says.

The hotel contributes to local organizations through an optional guest cash donation program and invites employees to participate in philanthropic efforts for the charity of their choice by allocating paid monthly hours for those activities. Guests can also choose to participate in a carbon offset program to minimize the environmental impact of their stay.

The Good Hotel's environmental commitment is evident throughout the property. Items made from reclaimed materials decorate the lobby. Chandeliers are made from recycled glass bottles. The lobby's vending machine sells items such as wallets made from FedEx boxes. Bed frames and headboards in guestrooms are made from reclaimed wood, lamps are made from recycled Voss water bottles, and décor pillows are made from what once were the hotel's bedspreads. Bathrooms feature 'SinkPositive' toilet sinks which offer guests a unique way to wash up while reducing water consumption. Compact fluorescents help to minimize energy consumption.

'Water conservation is an issue we want our guests to be aware of,' Blondel says.

Green Transportation Emphasized

Free parking is offered to hybrid cars and if a guest needs a taxi, a 'green' cab is called. A Prius Zipcar is available for Zipcar members' use. For each computer purchased by the hotel, a companion computer is directly shipped to needy children in developing countries.

On December 14, the hotel hosted a meeting of a group called 'The Good Idea.' They perform random acts of kindness throughout the city. Area homeless people were invited to dine on food cooked up by the head chef of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

Summarizing all of the hotel's 'good' activities, Blondel says, 'It is more than about talking, it is about taking action.'


This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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