Hotels Go Green by Removing Bottled Water

by joeheg

Sharon and I occasionally have something to complain about when we stay at hotels. We’ve stayed in hotels where there aren’t enough pillows, power outlets, lights or towels. Then there are the rooms that only have one nightstand or where only one person in bed can comfortably watch TV. And don’t even get me started on rooms that only have one chair, which means someone has to eat, work or get dressed on the bed.

But there are times when a hotel does something that makes perfect sense, and you wonder why it took them so long to come up with the idea. That’s what happened when we stayed at a Hotel Indigo property.

Bottled water in your hotel room has  been an amenity for years. Most hotels include bottled water as a benefit of paying resort or destination fees, and loyal customers with hotel status receive complimentary bottled water as a reward for their continued business.

two bottles of water in a white box

If I remember to bring my own refillable water bottle, I’ll fill it at one of the water dispensers before leaving the airport. Water bottle fillers have become increasingly common as more and more people carry water with them wherever they go.

a water fountain with a bottle on the screen

But until now, bottled water was the only option at a hotel if you didn’t want to drink out of the bathroom tap. That wasn’t the case at the Hotel Indigo where we recently stayed.

Hotel Indigo is a boutique hotel brand under the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). It was founded in 2004 and is designed to provide guests with a unique and local experience during their stay. Each Hotel Indigo property is designed to reflect its neighborhood’s local culture, history, and character. The brand is known for its stylish and modern design, personalized service, and attention to detail.

When we entered our room, there was the usual setup of a coffee maker, ice bucket and glasses. But instead of finding two bottles of water, there was an empty carafe.

a table with a coffee maker and a lamp

The cover on the lid explained that to reduce the waste from plastic bottles, the hotel has opted to provide hydration stations with filtered water dispensers.

There wasn’t one on our floor (they were on “every other”), so I had to go down one floor and the water dispenser was next to the ice machine.

a water cooler with a blue bottle

I’d seen hotels with water dispensers before, but this was the first time I’d seen it used as an alternative to providing bottled water. Another advantage of this dispenser is that the water is chilled instead of being at room temperature.

Some individuals may feel saddened by the discontinuation of bottled water, as they view it as a devaluation and yet another cost-saving measure implemented by the hotel. However, why can’t we have an alternative that’s both environmentally friendly and more cost-effective?

While you only get a limited number of free water bottles at your hotel, you can refill your container as often as you want.

I’d like to see this one catch on and hope to see water dispensers popping up at hotels during our upcoming travels.

Cover Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

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derek November 24, 2023 - 6:47 pm

The amount of plastic in a bottle is minimal. I go even farther. I save the bottle and reuse it at least once if I don’t drink directly from the bottle.

In San Francisco airport, bottled water in a plastic bottle is banned. Instead, merchants sell bottled water in a metal can, which wastes even more energy if disposed of.

In many cities, thin plastic bags are now banned. They are replaced with thick plastic bags, which are thrown away after one use. This is WORSE that the previous situation. When thin plastic bags were used, I would always reuse them, often for trash, sometimes reused as a shopping bag. Politicians are stupid for passing these dumb laws.

Patrick November 24, 2023 - 9:55 pm

Sounds like just another way for hotel to cut amenities in the name of “going green” If they were really serious about it they would, at a minimum, provide the water stations on every floor.

Lecarc November 24, 2023 - 11:47 pm

Disagree. If I’m relaxed and looking for my bottle of water, I don’t want to have to redress, put on shoes, go out of my room, go to another floor, and fill up a container. I’m in a hotel to relax, I don’t want an errand to run.

Frank November 25, 2023 - 1:24 pm

Maybe they can go green and time your shower to 3 minutes, or only allow you to flush 3 times a day.
That is nothing about going green but rather saving costs.

David November 25, 2023 - 1:40 pm

Plastic is killing the planet, and plastic water bottles are a big part of the problem. Who has traveled and not seen plastic water bottle trash scattered about? There is nothing special about bottled water and rarely are there not options that are as good or better. Most tapwater is safe and, if in doubt, it can be easily treated, avoiding the need for wasteful plastic water bottles. Or, yes, hotels could easily provide treated water stations, and people can just use the water bottles we should all be carrying when we travel. Another reason not to use plastic water bottles is because who knows what is leaching into the water from the plastic.

Adolph X. November 29, 2023 - 8:16 pm

So, in the interest of going green AND providing amenities to their customers, why don’t hotels do both? Provide water stations for those who want to use them as well as bottles for people who don’t. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Personally, I think it’s just another way to virtue signal and save money. ‘Customer service’, not really.

Christian November 25, 2023 - 5:14 pm

I’m with @Patrick. This is just another scam to short the customer. As another example, if hotels want to provide decent toiletries without the dorm style containers and without major plastic waste they could go with biodegradable containers.


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