Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, based in White Plains, N.Y., announced Monday that its upscale Westin Hotels & Resorts brand will become the first hotel chain to introduce a systemwide policy banning smoking. Effective next month, all 77 Westin hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean will go 100 percent smoke-free, including all guestrooms and public areas.
The company said that smoking may be permitted in areas not owned or operated by Westin, and in designated outdoor smoking areas. "Westin Hotels & Resorts is dedicated to providing a clean, comfortable and relaxing environment for its guests, and the brand's new policy is a result of customer data and a clear demand from guests for a healthy, smoke-free hotel experience," the company said. The company added that its new policy reinforces Westin's new brand positioning around personal renewal by offering guests the services, products and amenities that allow them to "relax, rejuvenate and restore" during their stay.
In preparation for implementation of the new policy, the chain's 2,400 smoking rooms will undergo an extensive cleaning process. This includes replacing all soft goods, cleaning and treating all hard surfaces, walls and carpets to eliminate allergens, replacing air filters and cleaning all air-conditioning units. All Westin hotels and resorts will offer a designated outdoor area for guests who smoke.
"At the heart of all of our decisions is the comfort, well-being and quality of life for our guests," said Sue Brush, senior vice president for Westin Hotels & Resorts. "Industry research, as well as our own research, confirmed a clear consumer demand for a clean, smoke-free hotel environment."
Westin said that its consumer data shows that 92 percent of its guests request a non-smoking room when traveling and do not smoke in any part of the hotel, including public areas. Westin has eight hotels in its portfolio that have a smoke-free policy in place, which has resulted in "overwhelming positive feedback from guests," the company said.