Luxury linens donated for zoo gorillas


Gorillas are not regular guests at the swanky Hilton Chicago/Oakbrook Hills Resort & Conference Center, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy luxurious sheets from the high-priced hotel west of downtown Chicago.

The hotel has donated about 100 of its used 250-thread count sheets to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo for use as nesting material for the western lowland gorillas.

“We’re committed to operating a sustainable business and supporting the greater good of the whole community,” said Nathan Karsten, director of sales and marketing for the resort.


The hotel has long donated damaged and stained sheets to homeless shelters. But when the hotel converted from a Marriott to a Hilton last year, the housekeeping staff had to figure out what to do with enough sheets to supply nearly 400 rooms and suites.

Ed Bell, the hotel’s housekeeping director, said he offered the linen to homeless shelters as well as the local free zoo and was surprised when zoo officials loaded up an SUV with about 100 sheets for the gorillas.

“It wasn’t tattered stuff,” he said of the sheets now comforting several toddler gorillas. “They got stuff that I could have put right back on the beds upstairs.”

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.