Lobby Ceiling Millennium Biltmore Hotel was uploaded to Flickr

Los Angeles

1923 standards are different…

embiggen by clicking

I took Lobby Ceiling Millennium Biltmore Hotel on January 31, 2013 at 12:37PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 26, 2020 at 09:32AM

At Energy-Minded U.S. Hotels, They’ll Turn the Lights Off for You

Rooms 75 cents
Hotel Rooms 75 cents…

Technology used to reduce energy use – seems like a good idea. Why isn’t this technique being used everywhere?

American hotels have long resisted key cards or other energy-saving systems. Energy was cheap, and hoteliers feared that guests, who routinely left their rooms with the lights and air-conditioner on, would see any check on their energy use as an inconvenience.

Hotel guests “have a feeling that they paid for the space and they can use it freely, and there’s a natural tendency not to be too conscious of their energy use,” said Brian Carberry, a director of product management for Leviton Manufacturing Company, of Melville, N.Y., which makes key card switches and other energy-saving devices for hotels.

But the aversion of hoteliers in the United States is slowly shifting as Americans have become more energy conscious and more states and municipalities have adopted rigorous building codes for energy use.

In 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, 29 percent of hotels surveyed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association had a sensor system in guest rooms to control the temperature, compared with less than 20 percent in 2004; and more than 75 percent had switched to LED lighting, up from less than 20 percent. Other energy-saving measures had also been more widely adopted.

Energy costs typically represent 4 to 6 percent of a hotel’s overall operating expenses, with the largest share for heating and air-conditioning.


Many major hotels in the United States have digitally controlled thermostats to monitor the temperature in guest rooms, said Pat Maher, a retired Marriott executive who is a consultant to hotels on energy management.

And a growing number, he said, have installed sophisticated systems that sense when a room is occupied. When a hotel guest enters a room, the device allows the temperature to be manually controlled within a certain range — from 60 to 80 degrees, for example — and then sets it back into an energy-saving mode when the room is vacant again.

Mr. Maher said such a system could save a hotel 20 percent or more in energy costs. And many utility companies, he noted, now offer rebates to hotels that have installed digital thermostats and other energy management devices.

(click here to continue reading At Energy-Minded U.S. Hotels, They’ll Turn the Lights Off for You – The New York Times.)

I fail to see the downside to this idea, other than the hotel’s investment in the new technology, but even that seems like it would be recouped sooner than later. Would you really care if the lights were off when you entered your hotel room? And the air-conditioning wasn’t cranked to 63ºF? I wouldn’t. 

Congress Hotel in the Fog was uploaded to Flickr

Another entry into the "Building Signs Not As Obnoxious as the Trump Stamp" series

embiggen by clicking

I took Congress Hotel in the Fog on June 22, 2014 at 08:51PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on June 27, 2014 at 02:44AM

10-year strike at Congress Plaza Hotel is over

On Strike
On Strike

Strikers at the Congress Plaza Hotel
Strikers at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

Wow, that’s unexpected. Sounds like the Union caved, but perhaps I’m wrong.

A 10-year strike at the Congress Plaza hotel in downtown Chicago, believed to be the longest hotel strike in history, has ended.

A attorney for the hotel said Unite Here Local 1, the union representing cleaning and maintenance workers, has offered an unconditional return to work as of midnight Wednesday.

The union confirmed Thursday morning that it is ending the strike.

 “The decision to end the Congress strike was a hard one, but it is the right time for the union and the strikers to move on,” Unite Here Local 1 President Henry Tamarin said in a statement. “The boycott has effectively and dramatically reduced the hotel’s business. … There is no more to do there.”

Tamarin said when the strike started, the standard wage for room attendants was $8.83 per hour — a wage contract workers still make. The city wide standard for room attendants is now $16.40 an hour, he said.

(click here to continue reading 10-year strike at Congress Plaza Hotel is over – chicagotribune.com.)

The Infamous Congress Hotel
The Infamous Congress Plaza Hotel

Congress Plaza Hotel Strikers March On
Congress Plaza Hotel Strikers March On

Congress Hotel
Congress Hotel

Hallway at Congress Hotel
Hallway at Congress Plaza Hotel

10 Hotel Secrets from Behind the Front Desk

Hotel minibar upgraded
Hotel minibar upgraded

I can’t say I often enjoy staying in hotels, usually because if I’m staying in one, I’m on a business trip, and am stressed out by it. Jacob Tomsky, a hotel lifer, has come up with ten small tidbits to make your stay more pleasant, including this one:


Minibars. Most people are appalled at the prices. However, you never have to pay for the items in the minibar. Why not? Minibar charges are, without question, the most disputed charges on any bill. That is because the process for applying those charges is horribly inexact. Keystroke errors, delays in restocking, double stocking, and hundreds of other missteps make minibar charges the most voided item. Even before guests can manage to get through half of the “I never had those items” sentence, I have already removed the charges and am now simply waiting for them to wrap up the overly zealous denial so we can both move on with our lives.

(click here to continue reading 10 Hotel Secrets from Behind the Front Desk | Mental Floss.)

SoHo Hotel
SoHo Hotel

and this one:


Reservations made through Internet discount sites are almost always slated for our worst rooms. Does this seem unfair? First of all, we earn the slimmest profit from these reservations. And honestly, those guests didn’t really choose our property based on quality; they chose based on value. We were at the top of a list sorted by price. But the guest behind them in line, the one with a heavy $500 rate, she selected this hotel. When she comes to New York, she goes to our website to see what’s available. Since we have no reason to assume Internet guests will ever book with us again, unless our discount is presented to them, it truly makes business sense to save our best rooms for guests who book of their own volition.

Low Key Lobby
Low Key Lobby

Farewell to The Eyrie Mansion

You really should read Roger Ebert’s delightful memoir of the eccentric1 hotel on London’s Jermyn Street, originally called Eyrie Mansion.

John Major is a Twat

That first morning I walked down Regent Street to St James’s Park, strolled around the ponds, came up by Prince Charles’s residence, climbed St James’s Street and returned the full length of Jermyn. I ordered tea. It consisted of tomato, cucumber and butter sandwiches, which the English are unreasonably fond of; ham and butter sandwiches, which I am unreasonably fond of with Colman’s English mustard; and cookies – or, excuse me, biscuits.

I had just settled in my easy chair when a key turned in the lock and a nattily dressed man in his 60s let himself in. He held a bottle of Teacher’s scotch under his arm. He walked to the sideboard, took a glass, poured a shot, and while filling it with soda from the siphon, asked me, “Fancy a spot?”

“I’m afraid I don’t drink,” I said.

“Oh, my.”

This man sat on my sofa, lit a cigarette, and said: “I’m Henry.”

“Am I . . . in your room?”

“Oh, no, no, old boy! I’m only the owner. I dropped in to say hello.”

This was Henry Togna Sr. He appears in a Dickens novel I haven’t yet read. I’m sure of it. He appeared in my room almost every afternoon when I stayed at the Eyrie Mansion. It was not difficult to learn his story.

[Click to finish reading Roger Ebert: Farewell to my London home |Travel |The Guardian ]

Heathrow bound 1994 double exposure
Heathrow bound, circa 1993-1994

Though actually, when I spent a fortnight in London, the hotel had already switched hands to Henry Jr., and had lost a bit of its eccentricity. Not all mind you, but I might not have been able to afford staying there. Too bad.

(oh, almost forgot, this article originally appeared at Ebert’s blog, slightly longer, with more pictures. Really, the longer article is better, filled with more interesting details. You should read that instead…)

  1. and soon to to be former []

Reading Around on September 1st through September 2nd

A few interesting links collected September 1st through September 2nd:

  • Will Chicago See a Hotel Strike? – Chicagoist – Chicago's hotel workers are clocking in today without a union contract, as negotiators from UNITE-HERE Local 1 and the Hotel Employers Labor Relations Association has yet to reach an agreement on a new pact. The previous contract expired at last night at midnight. “It’s been a fight to even just get to the table,” a spokeswoman for the hotel workers’ union told Crain's. “We’re not close, and I think we’re looking at the possibility of a major fight.”
  • Dithering: Jonny Greenwood: Sasha Frere-Jones : The New Yorker – "Q: Is the MP3 a satisfactory medium for your music?

    JONNY GREENWOOD: They sound fine to me"
    I would add, they sound fine if they are recorded at a high enough sample rate.

  • Washington Post Crashed-and-Burned-and-Smoking Watch – And if it is indeed the case that the Washington Post is recycling the public views of ideologues, hacks, and torture-tourists like Marc Thiessen as inside scoops, then Finn, Warrick, and Tate granted anonymity to their sources because naming them would by itself discredit the story. There is a place for anonymous quotes in journalism, but this is not it.

LEED certified Bed and Breakfast

My neighbor, Donnie Madia1 wants to open a “green” bed and breakfast over in my old stomping grounds (I lived on Paulina and Cortez in the mid-1990s). Cool, hope he succeeds.

Donnie Madia in front of Avec

A local builder would like to covert a building near Division and Paulina into a boutique, eco-friendly hotel with retail offerings.

Dan Sheehy of Third Coast Construction imagines the project including a small restaurant on the first floor, shopping and a 13-room hotel.

Sheehy and his partners want to develop the project in the building at 1659 W. Division, which currently houses Pump Shoes and Accessories. The shoe store is under a long term lease.

If the plans are approved by 1st Ward Alderman Manny Flores and the city council, construction isn’t expected to begin for 14 to 16 months.

Sheehy presented his plans to neighbors at a recent meeting of the East Village Association, and got a warm response.

Previously, the EVA board unanimously voted not to oppose a special-use zoning permit that the hotel would need to open. After a half hour presentation, EVA’s general membership unanimously agreed with the board’s decision.

“The entrance to the building will be on Paulina Ave., giving the hotel a ‘neighborhood feel,'” Sheehy said at the meeting.

“We love the building and we’re not going to tear it down,” Sheehy said. “It’s almost like a call-back – we’re going to re-create it.” The building had in the ’70s functioned as a tavern and a restaurant.

Sheehy, who focuses on sustainable developments, is planning to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the building and expedite processing of building permits through the city’s green permit program.

[Click to continue reading Imagining a ‘modern day’ bed and breakfast]

No Loitering -or else!

  1. of Blackbird, Avec and The Publican fame []