From bees to bins: how a London hotel aims to become truly net-zero | Hotels

We’ve all seen that sign in hotels where we are encouraged to reuse our towels for the sake of the planet. Often it’s just lip service. But what if that idea is taken a level upwards – to make your whole hotel sustainable?

That’s the premise at room2 in Chiswick, west London, said to be the world’s first net zero “hometel”. It’s forecast to be 89% more energy efficient than a typical UK hotel and has a host of sustainable measures, from solar panels to recycled furniture, zero food waste and a wildflower roof.

It’s the brainchild of owner Robert Godwin, who is passionate about driving a cultural shift in an industry where sustainability is often an afterthought.

I didn’t think an overnight hotel stay could make me think about climate change, but here it does, and not in a preachy way. The staff are all on board and proud of their sustainable goals – and all the small details add up.

A bedroom at room2 Hotel. Sustainable measures include recycled furniture

As we arrive, someone is picking up an order from Too Good To Go, an app that connects people to restaurants and shops that have a food surplus, and the lobby is packed with plants and upcycled furniture.

Another welcome innovation is flexibility: check-in is from 2pm, as is check-out, so you get a full 24 hours to make the most of your stay.

Each room has a kitchenette – hence the hometel moniker – so it’s great for those who want to keep costs down by self-catering. Coffee and delicious food are available in the Boca restaurant on the ground floor – more on that later.

Robert Godwin, owner of room2 Hotel
Robert Godwin, owner of room2 Hotel: ‘We are forecast to be 89% more energy efficient than a typical UK hotel’

Our studio is flooded with light from big Crittall windows and has everything you could expect from a boutique stay: big, comfy bed with crisp linen, Roberts radio, calming colour scheme and the kitchen is fully-equipped.

I never thought I would get so excited about rubbish, but the

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Windsor woman describes vacation gone wrong after contracting COVID-19

Don’t travel internationally unless you think you can handle being alone with COVID-19, says Windsor resident Tracy Kell, whose romantic getaway to Cuba turned into an ordeal.

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If Tracy Kell could go back in time a few weeks, she’d probably advise her past self to cancel her trip to Cuba.

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The 43-year-old Windsor resident has been sharing her disastrous travel experience after she fell ill with COVID-19 while on a romantic getaway with her husband.

“Hindsight is 20/20, of course,” said Kell, now back home and given the all-clear by her doctor and Health Canada.

“I don’t blame Cuba by any means. I just think I was too eager to go on a vacation. I felt safe. We’re both double vaccinated. But with all the uncertainty …”

Kell trailed off as she reflected on the ordeal that started her new year. “There’s no rulebook for what you do if you’re in Cuba, or the Dominican Republic, and you get COVID. You’re kind of on your own.”

Parents of two, Kell and her husband planned their vacation months ago: They try to make a trip to the resort community of Varadero every year.

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Tracy Kell (left) and her husband Joel Morris (right) at their home in Windsor on Jan. 14, 2022.
Tracy Kell (left) and her husband Joel Morris (right) at their home in Windsor on Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

“We just go to relax,” Kell explained. “It’s like our kid-free time.”

They arrived in Cuba on Dec. 30, with their return flight booked for Jan. 6.

But the day after their arrival, Kell started noticing a sore throat. That evening, she became feverish.

“Then it got pretty bad. I don’t remember much from that night,” Kell

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