Smoking or Non? Hotels Banning the Burn

March 15, 2006 – Posted at 5:49 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Earlier this month, Westin Hotels and Resorts opted to make all of their 77 properties smoke free and it's a move that may open the door to similar policies by competitors.

In the wake of growing state and local anti-smoking regulations, finding a room where you can light up may not be easy. But one Region 8 hotel that hasn't put out the fire yet.

"About 85% of our business is non smoking. We do have regulars that come in each week, a mixture of corporate guests and transit walk-in guests that come in, so there is a need for us to have smoking rooms, we do get that request," said Comfort Inn & Suites General Manager Miles Morley.

The Comfort Inn & Suites in Jonesboro has an entire floor designated for smoking; approximately 21 rooms where guests can light up.

"We average about probably around 40% on those, usually during busier times when people come in, we can get upwards of 80-90%," said Morley.

The Comfort Inn & Suites does not allow smoking in the lobby or other public areas. Cleaning the fifth floor takes a little more elbow grease.

"When you clean it, of course, with cleaning products and stuff you use a bit more and it does take a bit longer to clean up the waste from it, but it is a little bit more," said Morley.

The chain is owned by Choice Hotels. Smoking floors and rooms are determined by the manager.

"We want to be able to provide guests with both smoking and non," said Morley, "We do want to cater to both target markets, so for us it works out well."

Currently at least 200 North American hotels, as well as many bed and breakfasts, now prohibit smoking in rooms and other indoor areas.