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Moral Mayhem at Vancouver’s Mini-Bars!

Besides the Coca Cola/Dasani concession, where’s the least-likely place we’d expect to find tap water promoted during the Vancouver Olympic frenzy? Hotel mini-bars, you say?

Photo via cbc.ca: A stainless steel refillable water bottle is featured prominently in mini-bars in Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel to help promote the city's tap water.

Photo via cbc.ca: A stainless steel refillable water bottle is featured prominently in mini-bars in Vancouver

Well, surprise! During the winter games, Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim offers something new in guests’ mini bars that’s almost as shocking as the prices – a (not complimentary) metal water bottle for unlimited, free tap refills. The hotel was one of the first to join Vancouver’s campaign to encourage Olympics visitors to use the city’s tap water.

The bottle’s $12.95 price tag surely means the predatory mini-bar sales model is still safe. Also, we assume that tiny paper-topped glasses are still available in guest bathrooms and bedrooms. From CBC News via hotelchatter.com,

“Bottled water is a major seller in our guest rooms through the mini-bars,” said hotel manager Randy Zupanski. “I was concerned about the fall-off of those sales … but it’s the right thing to do.”

Sewer Pipe Suite Life

A concrete sewer pipe as hotel room? That’s repurposing for a practical purpose! DasPark Hotel is the sort of wild idea you’d expect to be just another conceptual prototype, but this creation of Austrian art grad Andreas Strauss is real and operational.

Located in Linz, Austria, the unique hotel adds a back wall, large front door and small window to standard concrete sewer pipes to create an affordable stay for students and other adventurous travelers.

From dasparkhotel.net,

The external simplicity surrounds an unexpectedly comfortable interior – full headroom, double bed, storage, light, power, woolly blanket and light cotton sleeping bag. All other hotelery devices (Toilets, showers, minibar, cafe, etc) are supplied by the surrounding public space.

Just how affordable, you ask? The cost is the biggest surprise of all.

Because we obtain sanitation, breakfast and other hotel facilities from existing public infrastructure, it is possible for us to work with the very simple, user-friendly “pay as you wish” system. A night in dasparkhotel costs just as much as you can afford or want to pay.

(Tipped by a post on bookpaperscissors.tumblr.net, thanks!)

Sneaky Recycling at the Mini-Bar

We usually feel it’s a crime to fail to recycle plastic bottles, but not always, as in this funny-but-not-funny case of felonious recycling and abuse of “fresh sink water” spotted by our pal  “Eagle-eye Jim”:

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Avoid Minibar Charges

from hotelchatter.com…(readers were asked) to tell him about their fave minibar beverage experience. Sandwiched between the “minibars are stupid and expensive” and “minibars are lousy places for wine” comments, we noticed someone has responded with this:

Im ashamed but its too dam [sic] funny that i woke up in a drunk daze after a wedding and drank this whole Evian in the room then looked in the morning at the paper attached to the neck saying if bottle consumed, room will be charged 7.50 so i filled that shit up with some fresh sink water and used a lighter to seal that cap back on haha..

Here, we bottled water boycotters can have a good hearty laugh, while the bottled water holdouts can feel slightly uneasy. Whatever your opinion on tap water, I bet this might convince you to consider the merits of “fresh sink water!”

Photo: No, it’s NOT the actual bottle portrayed in the story, but one from mrjojo on Flickr. There is no evidence that this incident took place (or didn’t take place!) at Marriott.