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The Oxford Hotel in Bend, Oregon
This weekend, the New York Times' travel section went west in search of eco-friendly hotels. Not surprisingly, the Pacific Northwest was fertile ground and three hotels in the region got the thumbs up from the Gray Lady.
Here's how they impressed the paper with their green credentials:
Everything at The Oxford Hotel in Bend, Oregon--aside from that fireplace--is powered by Columbia River Gorge wind farms and hydro dams, thanks to renewable energy credits through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program. Tick. Mattresses in the guest rooms are all-natural--they contain no polyester--and are bought local. Rooms are cleaned with a nontoxic solution made from electrolyzed salt and water. Tick, tick.
The hotel will be getting even more marks next summer when its rooftop garden debuts and starts providing the hotel kitchen with herbs and other hyper-local ingredients.
Remember when Aloft, NYLO, Element and Indigo were announced [Ed Note: wow, that early Aloft post makes us feel as nostalgic and wistful as our high school yearbook], back in simpler times when the insanely rapid expansion plans of the mid-priced hip hotel brands seemed only sorta-insanely rapid but still somewhat feasible?
Ah, those were the days...and those days are gone. A New York Times article ran today that spelled out just how much the growth of those new budgety brands has varied from those rather-hopeful initial goals due to the recession and its impact on travel.
NYLO, for instance, had always planned on a franchise model for growth but they'd planned to build and operate the first few hotels themselves and then franchise the rest, and had 40 franchises in the works when the brand first launched but now a rep told the Times that they'd be "lucky 30 hotels open by the end of 2011."
However, the NYLO exec still seemed to have high hopes for their spinoff XP brand, which he hopes, once the economy turns around, will be a little bit easier to "build and sell" than a NYLO-branded hotel because it is a limited-service brand, not a full-service hotel like NYLO.
Alright, hotels. After issuing our Annual WiFi Report year after year, calling out the chains that continue to nickel-and-dime us for WiFi even though plenty of other brands offer it to us for free, it seems that some of you may just never change your charging-for-internet ways (we're looking at you, Four Seasons). And if that's the case, we may just have to take matters into our own hands and bring our own WiFi network with us that is, once we get our hot little hands on a new product hitting the market, the MiFi.
The New York Times has custody of the first-ever one of these babies; a device that fulfills our fantasy of "a personal Wi-Fi bubble, a private hot spot, that followed you everywhere you go" without having to resort to a cellular modem. Seriously:
Incredibly, there is such a thing. It’s the Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon starting in mid-May ($100 with two-year contract, after rebate). It’s a little wisp of a thing, like a triple-thick credit card. It has one power button, one status light and a swappable battery that looks like the one in a cellphone. When you turn on your MiFi and wait 30 seconds, it provides a personal, portable, powerful, password-protected wireless hot spot.