Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Eco Lives: Christopher Minnes

If you met me, you might not think that I run the green hotel, 968 Park. You might suppose instead a former marine or NYC police officer. Many of those looking for a job with resumes long with coffee shops, hemp stores or organic food markets seem equally surprised. Green is no longer a thing of the hippy subculture or granola eating vegans.

I have a bumper sticker that reads “Animals Taste Good”. It was my way of quietly protesting in the town in which I was raised in Vermont. The town was so liberal it was legal to be naked in public; and people exercised that right. Today I find myself choosing organic coffee, going to the local coffee shop, skipping over the chain. I’ll run back to my car to grab my travel mug instead of using a disposal paper cup. Why? It makes sense. I support the local guys, they’re my friends, so it helps my town. I drink organic coffee; it’s better for me and use my own cup…well because it saves me money.

This is why green is becoming mainstream. It just makes sense.

Each day in the operation and development of 968 Park Hotel we are challenged to find new ways to adapt our needs to our mantra, “Everything must be organic, natural, reused, recycled or sustainable.” For example our business cards were printed on recycled paper. The next batch will be printed on seed paper that when tossed away will sprout into wild flowers.

Our front desk and much of the furniture and d├ęcor around the hotel is constructed of reclaimed wood. The old paint remains on much of it. The distressed material is older than me. It has wisdom and stories to tell. It gives the newly remodeled hotel soul. The guests feel it too. The moment they walk in the door you see their gears switch. They’ve been on the road from San Francisco for four hours, in rain and snow, over mountain passes and chain control checkpoints. But everything changes in that moment when they step into the lobby; they see the warm glow of a fire burning denatured alcohol, distressed wood, and a glass of organic wine waiting for them.

After they’ve checked in we see them again. They are there to tell to brag to us about their beautiful room. Soon they’ve become friends. They’ve gone from being guests at a hotel to feeling like guest in our home. Some have stumbled upon us at just the right time when we sponsor a party at one of the nearby nightclubs. And there we all are, the front desk, housekeeping and maintenance staff, investors, myself and hotel guests dancing until 3:00 in the morning. Not your typical hotel experience.

And when the morning comes, the old distressed wood will have new stories to tell and will proudly be part of this new mainstream green movement as a part of 968 Park Hotel.

Christopher Minnes
General Manager
968 Park Hotel

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