When my brother Phil moved to Savoy, we started staying at the hotel nearest to his house, the Best Western Paradise Inn. We've stayed here four or five times now. And up until this visit, I was reasonably happy with them. But they've instituted a new policy: the "Go. Get. Green Initiative".
I've seen various "green" policies at hotels for years that involve some aspect of reducing laundry service or forgoing maid service. I'm a bit skeptical of these, in part, because their primary effect is to reduce labor and energy costs to the owners, with no evidence that these cost reductions are passed along to the consumers. At the same time, I recognize that traditional hotels are being forced to compete with unregulated, hobbyist "hotel-like" services, like AirBNB and are being squeezed economically.
We arrived at the hotel after about 26 hours of travel and I was exhausted. The friendly person at the counter gave me a sheet of paper with three highlighted lines to initial: two in yellow and one in green. The yellow lines were standard things like the charge for smoking in a non-smoking room. The green line was for the "Go. Get. Green Initiative." It sounded typical: earn some fake points by forgoing a couple of nights of maid service. I read it, asked a couple of questions, and initialed the line.
But the next day, we got no maid service. Nor the next night. Nor the next night. Finally, I walked down and asked about it. It turns out that by agreeing to the program, I had supposedly agreed to receive no maid service during the entire stay. I expressed astonishment that, for a 13 day stay, why anyone would want that. The poor young woman behind the counter said she would strike our rooms from participating in the program and that she was sorry for the misunderstanding (and that I would lose my "points"). She called her manager on the phone, but the manager offered no useful information or guidance — at least none that was communicated to me.
But I was still pretty angry and left them a poor review at Google and tweeted about it at Twitter. After another day, I'm still pretty angry at how the whole thing was handled.
It reminds me a bit of the Monty Python Crunchy Frog sketch. "I think it's be more appropriate if the box bore a great red label: 'WARNING: LARK'S VOMIT!!!'" The hotel should use a red, rather than green, highlighter and say, "WARNING: YOU WILL GET NO MAID SERVICE DURING YOUR ENTIRE STAY."
In point of fact, the webpage about the "Go. Get. Green Initiative" seems to suggest that it's supposed to work by giving you a sign to hang on your door on the nights when you want to forgo maid service: that would be totally reasonable. But they didn't do that. Perhaps the Best Western company might want to look at what this particular hotel is doing.
In any event, I have to seriously question whether I'll stay at this hotel again. It's convenient because it's so close. But maybe it's time to look at other places. It's not like I don't have a car when I come here, so what's the difference between a two minute drive and a 5 minute drive?
And, indeed, I'm somewhat skeptical about Best Western itself and their oversight of their hotels' implementations of this program.
Postscript: It was Christmas Eve when I had my blow-up at the front desk. On Christmas morning, I found a little note tucked under our doors that said (in part), "we give this one day to our housekeepers to spend time with their families." We laughed a bit that, after all that, we STILL wouldn't get maid service. But when we got back after lunch, we found that our rooms had been serviced. So that's something.