Travelers Turn Out the Smoking Lamps

For non-smokers, it's impossible to wake up and smell the coffee--or anything else for that matter--in a hotel room permeated by stale cigarette smoke. Now, 27,500 travelers have reinforced that point by selecting a non-smoking room as the most important amenity a hotel can offer its guests.

In an Omni Hotel survey, more than 27,500 members of the chain's Select Guests (business travelers) said they considered a room free of cigarette smoke more important than toiletries, health club facilities and in-room coffee makers.

Onmi sets aside about 20% of its rooms for non-smokers, which reflects a national trend: Just over 86% of the members of the National Hotel and Motel Assn. say they too have non-smoking rooms.

Jon Handlery, general manager of the Handlery Union Square Hotel in San Francisco (where there are four non-smoking floors), said smoke-free environments are becoming commonplace around the world, "except in Europe, which is behind the rest of us. But they will change."

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