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Can someone explain "no smoking" in London?

Can someone explain "no smoking" in London?

Old Dec 1, 10, 5:44 pm
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Can someone explain "no smoking" in London?

Just got home from several days in London. The last couple of days we stayed at the NH Harrington Hall - great location, a block from the Gloucester Road Underground station. It is hardly a four star hotel, even by European standards (which are IMHO generally worthy of a least a star less than U.S. Priceline hotels), but that's another story for another thread.

However, to the point, the hotel generally, and our room specifically, reeked of cigarette smoke. I was going to ask if a no-smoking room was available, but when we were returning to the hotel after a brief time out, I noticed a sign at the entrance that said something like, "Smoking in this hotel is prohibited by law," so it became obvious to me that a no-smoking room was probably out of the question. There were ashtrays in the public areas and ashtrays and matches in our room and the hallways were smoky. I later realized that the sign outside might refer to public areas only? Regardless, what a joke. It was pretty obvious that smoking was not only not prohibited, but encouraged. I've been pleased with the law in pubs and restaurants, but apparently the law isn't taken seriously in hotels. Thoughts?
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Old Dec 2, 10, 3:17 am
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Firstly, you can still get smoking rooms in hotels. As a non-smoker I'm glad about this, as smokers generally reek of the stuff!

The general trouble is hotels (everywhere) regularly get customers who do smoke trying to smoke in non-smoking rooms thinking if they just open the window, or keep a tap running 'it won't matter'. It does.

Even at some of my favourite hotels, which police it as best they can (like all hotels) there have been times when I've had to reject 3 rooms because of smoker residue issue.

Now, it sounds like the hotel here does have a serious problem. Perhaps management/staff are smokers themselves.

I think you did make a mistake not raising the matter, but I also think they were possibly not (at all) enforcing the legislation.

Just some thoughts/questions: Is it possible you were on an entire 'smoking' corridor? I.e. all the smoking rooms were on the floor/corridor?
When you say ashtrays in the common areas, do you mean only by the door ways, or randomly inside?
Also, was there smoking (and non-smoking) lounge rooms etc?

----

With regard to star rating, I would dispute that european hotel standards per star are lower than US per star, but what I would say is that it is shocking what star levels can be considered upon. There are plenty of properties I've stayed in (in the same country) where it is clear the star rating was based upon totally different factors to other properties.

Having said that, looking at their website pictures, I can't believe they claim to be 'four star'... - but I could readily belive others (who value different things differently) could possibly consider it like that...)
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Old Dec 2, 10, 6:19 am
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I discussed the topic with a hotelier soon after the legislation came in. Apparently, the exception arises because there is (somehow) a personal relationship between the guest and the hotel, and the hotel can choose to accept smokers. Personally, I am more than happy to book a 100% non-smoking hotel which charges $$$ for infractions.

Star ratings are next to meaningless! They generally refer to facilities rather than quality. Restaurant? Add a star. Bar? Add a star. Concierge? Add a star. No matter how good/bad. I'd beat a path to somebody who could introduce a realistic rating system.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 8:24 am
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I should have raised the issue, but since it was only two nights (this hotel, which we also had reserved the first four nights - walked us to another NH hotel at 1:00 a.m., claiming they could not find the reservation - again, another subject) and it was (I thought) a no smoking hotel and it was obvious that they didn't follow the law, I didn't see what good it would do. In retrospect, I see that I should have said something. I've since contacted NH customer service to see what they have to say.

There was no reference to a non-smoking floor anyplace that I could detect. When I said common areas, I noticed ash trays next to the elevators. But again, I assumed "no smoking in this hotel" meant no smoking in this hotel.

I realize that the star level most places in Europe is meaningless (to someone from the U.S.), however, I was referring to Priceline star levels. Bidding on a four star hotel in the U.S. will get you a nice hotel. A four star hotel in Europe will get you clean accommodations at what is, at best, a 2.5 or 3 star hotel in the U.S. This has been a long standing issue of mine, which Priceline continues to ignore. I'll try again, when I get their survey about my experience. (BTW, also subjects of my complaint were the fact that the heat was turned as low as possible, yet the room was HOT. Looking into the courtyard, other rooms all had their windows open even though the temperature was 0 degrees or less. The bed had no box springs, just a very thin mattress placed on a wood plank. There was no "give" at all. I could easily have bruised myself if I sat down too hard. )
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Old Dec 2, 10, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by ILuvParis View Post
There was no reference to a non-smoking floor anyplace that I could detect. When I said common areas, I noticed ash trays next to the elevators. But again, I assumed "no smoking in this hotel" meant no smoking in this hotel.
Even when all the smoking rooms are placed on one floor/corridor on their own, I often don't see signs for that. However, if this hotel was allowing people to smoke on the corridor as well (and provding ash trays) then they certainly ought to be signs saying it was a smoking area.

Therefore, even if this was a smoking corridor, make sure you point out to NH that there were ashtrays in the corridors etc.

.... I was referring to Priceline star levels. Bidding on a four star hotel in the U.S. will get you a nice hotel. A four star hotel in Europe will get you clean accommodations at what is, at best, a 2.5 or 3 star hotel in the U.S.
Ah, I don't use Priceline. If they are listing star levels, the question must be where are they obtaining them from? And, on what basis are they awarded?

Readily expect this to vary country to country.

And if the underlying star levels of hotels varies (in nature/meaning) country to country (the stars that the hotels quote themselves), then I'd readily expect priceline stars to do likewise. It would be impossible for them otherwise.

And I don't think it will fit that you can say it is always lower. Only lower on certain criteria.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by David-A View Post
Ah, I don't use Priceline. If they are listing star levels, the question must be where are they obtaining them from? And, on what basis are they awarded?

Readily expect this to vary country to country.

And if the underlying star levels of hotels varies (in nature/meaning) country to country (the stars that the hotels quote themselves), then I'd readily expect priceline stars to do likewise. It would be impossible for them otherwise.

And I don't think it will fit that you can say it is always lower. Only lower on certain criteria.
You are, no doubt, correct. I have had years of Priceline experience and it certainly has been my experience in the UK, Spain and France. Four star in those countries is more likely to be Holiday Inn quality. In the U.S., more likely to be Hyatt, Westin and Renaissance. In Germany and Netherlands, it's more like the U.S. You would never experience a four star hotel in the U.S. to be a dump. Can't say the same for Europe.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 11:24 am
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Smoking is prohibited in all indoor work places - so if this hotel was allowing people to smoke in hallways etc it was breaking the law. In the case of a hotel all public areas are deemed to be work places.

(In some ways I don't understand how hotels can still offer smoking bedrooms seeing someone has to clean them... but I guess the purpose of the law is to protect people from smoke inhalation rather than the smell of stale smoke)
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Old Dec 5, 10, 4:27 am
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please continue to follow this thread in our UK & Ireland forum

regards,

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Old Dec 6, 10, 12:46 pm
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We just returned from a 4 night stay at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. I believe they permit some smoking rooms, but we had requested a nonsmoking room and it was fine. (My son has allergies and I'm also fairly sensitive, so nonsmoking was important to me). I didn't notice anyone smoking in the hotel at all.

We also booked on Priceline - my first time to use that service, but all my first choices were booked up or rates prohibitively expensive. I found the hotel acceptable for the $129/night we paid for a twin room. Small, reasonably clean room. Great location. But no wireless. And it took forever to raise housekeeping or reception on the phone (about 5 minutes of continuous ringing before someone picked up). Not sure I'd stay there on business or rack rate prices.
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Old Dec 6, 10, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by kbins View Post
We just returned from a 4 night stay at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. I believe they permit some smoking rooms, but we had requested a nonsmoking room and it was fine. (My son has allergies and I'm also fairly sensitive, so nonsmoking was important to me). I didn't notice anyone smoking in the hotel at all.

We also booked on Priceline - my first time to use that service, but all my first choices were booked up or rates prohibitively expensive. I found the hotel acceptable for the $129/night we paid for a twin room. Small, reasonably clean room. Great location. But no wireless. And it took forever to raise housekeeping or reception on the phone (about 5 minutes of continuous ringing before someone picked up). Not sure I'd stay there on business or rack rate prices.
Not to drag this off topic too far (but it is my thread ), but I always hope for this hotel when I bid Priceline for London, mostly because of the great location. It is a decent place to stay, but the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum would be no more than 2 1/2 or maybe three stars in the U.S.
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Old Dec 6, 10, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by ILuvParis View Post
but the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum would be no more than 2 1/2 or maybe three stars in the U.S.
Which isn't specific to this hotel. The hotel standard in London is quite low. You can almost always remove one star to compare it to hotels in the US.
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Old Dec 6, 10, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by rofra View Post
Which isn't specific to this hotel. The hotel standard in London is quite low. You can almost always remove one star to compare it to hotels in the US.
Seriously? (I said that in the first post.)
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Old Dec 6, 10, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by ILuvParis View Post
Seriously? (I said that in the first post.)
And I have to admit I didn't read your first post - sorry At least we do have the same opinion about that
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Old Dec 8, 10, 4:52 am
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Yeah, i don't think it's very well policed in UK hotels. I've had similar experiences to you in London and other countries in western Europe.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by triphunter View Post
Yeah, i don't think it's very well policed in UK hotels. .
I'm a smoker but for my wife's sake always take a no smoking room. I have found the UK to be pretty strict at enforcing the smoking ban in all hotels that we've stayed at. Evidence of which can be seen outside the front door with the overflowing ash trays.

My wife has never had cause for complaint anyway.
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