An Eco-friendly Hotel: Tru by Hilton

During a drive to Texas, I stopped for the night in Little Rock, Arkansas. And wound up in a south side hotel behind an outlet mall. The hotel, Tru by Hilton, impressed me so much that it warrants a blog because of its emphasis on sustainability and low carbon footprint.

First off, I’m not trying to advertise for Hilton. I’ve heard Marriot has a similar type brand that also emphasizes low carbon footprint, but I couldn’t find the name of it with a simple internet search. Other hotel brands probably are pursuing sustainable options in a similar way. If you know of any, I would love to hear about them. I believe in voting with my money when it comes to companies and politics. Therefore, anyone that creates situations that encourage less waste, less plastic use, and more energy savings is far more likely to earn my business.

The Tru hotel was quite lovely and modern looking. It did not skimp on the standard amenities with the exception of no swimming pool. Given the rising global temperatures and increased water issues in the south, this seems like a wise decision. On the other hand, they had a pool table in the lobby for socialization. I’ve rarely seen this.

Their degree of sustainability and yet workability was subtle yet everywhere I looked. For instance, the open architecture lobby included a number of work stations for laptop use. Even the comfortable couches and chair areas had plugs within easy reach for those with a modern electronic life style. One wall featured a quick charging station, while another held a water bottle hydration station. I had never seen these in a hotel before. All the newspapers and magazines were tucked into a display area for those that wanted it. No newspaper showed up at my door in the morning as I’ve seen in years past at different places, although my husband tells me this is the new norm for most hotels.

Below is a list of ideas that I saw at Tru and hope other hotels will adopt as their new norms too. These simple changes make sense for any business wanting to improve their ecological footprint.

Hotel Wide Approaches

LED lights used throughout. As you may know, LED lights last longer, provide better illumination, and use less energy.Tru water area

Only paper plates and cups in the breakfast area. No plastic lids, cups, or straws in sight although the utensils were plastic. In short, most of the breakfast dishes will decompose easily and not harm the environment. In addition, the food offered included healthy options like range-free white and brown eggs, fruit, and greek yogurt.

One ice maker for the whole hotel. On one hand, it sounds like a pain to go down to the lobby for ice. However, having one machine saves on energy and water while still offering the amenity to anyone who wanted it. The plastic containers were kept at the ice machine rather than in individual rooms. This made me wonder if they did not have to wash the containers quite as often.

Room Specific Approaches

Tru bedroom

No plastic garbage bags in the garbage cans. Rather than plastic bags, each can featured a removable inner hard-plastic liner that could be cleaned. This is a wonderful idea, given the amounts of plastic grocery bags clogging up our water and landfills.

Reuse towel service. This refers to not replacing the towels every day. I’ve seen this service in many hotels but noted the cleaning staffs often replaces them anyway. I hope the Tru system pays more attention to this factor.

Cloth shower curtains without a plastic liner. Many hotels seem to switch these as well. Certainly, their washability is wonderful as compared to replacing plastic curtains when they start to look nasty.

No small bottles of shampoos, lotions, or soaps. Instead of the two-use, wasteful bottles and tiny bricks of soap, the hotel installed large, squeezable tubes of supplies near the sink and in the shower. Each tube looked like it could hold more than fifty doses of shampoo or soap, which means fifty tiny plastic bottles are not entering the landfill.Tru soap tubes

No box springs. The furniture included platform beds which use a board and a mattress rather than a box spring and a mattress. Many hotel guests may miss the importance of this decision. Beds often must be replaced about every five years, so not having a box spring saves wood, metal, and fabric and decreases the material going into the dump.

Open Closets. What I mean by this is the closet didn’t have walls and a door. A bar in an alcove serves for the hanging space and flowed into the overall design of the room. The hotel didn’t use excess lumber and drywall in building a tiny room in each of the bedrooms. This saves more trees and again provides less waste.

Other Desired Factors

Although I didn’t see this in the Tru by Hilton, other factors hotels should adopt include the use of solar or wind energy where possible. It would reduce their enormous electric bills. In fact, I would love to see more use of solar glass and solar panels in all kinds of businesses so our cities can be a part of the energy solution instead of the global warming crisis.

Given that the electric cars will someday be the norm, a few charging stations in the parking lot seems like a great idea. I saw them at the Little Rock outlet mall, but not at the hotel.

Overall, this hotel made me feel good about staying there because I didn’t feel like I was going against my greenie nature. As the younger generations demand less plastic and waste and more sustainability, I suspect many of these features will become standard in all of the brands. However, Tru by Hilton seems to be leading the way, and I will continue supporting its efforts.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters: The Beast Rises Again

(Lots of Spoilers)

I first watched Godzilla movies as a child on Saturday mornings. They were kind of fun and never scary. Even then, the beast was the savior of Tokyo. Other creatures appeared, spitting rays or fire, flying or not, to challenge the King. After a few ruined buildings, Godzilla triumphed and the other monster died or slinked off to where he came from. One of my favorites was Rodan although I vaguely remember a flying turtle as well.

I even have a Godzilla (Gojira in Japan) doll that I bought in Tokyo staring down at me from a high shelf in my office. So, it is no small thing when I say I hated the 2019 move, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The terribleness could be summed up into two phrases: stupid plot and unbelievable characters.Godzilla poster

Plot and Spoilers

This sequel to Godzilla (2014) starts with a family broken apart after their son was killed by actions from the big beast in the first movie. Now several years later, Dad (Kyle Chandler) is a recovering alcoholic, while Mom (Vera Farmiga) and daughter (Strange Thing’s Millie Bobby Brown) are part of a secret research organization called Monarch. Monarch’s monster experts and scientists go before a government organization, arguing to keep Godzilla, and the other recovered monsters alive rather than let the military kill them. After all, any life form should be cherished.

At one Monarch location, the mom, Dr. Emma Russell created a sound generator that “talks to” and somewhat controls the big guys. Within the first 20 minutes of the movie, it is in the hands of an ecoterrorist group who kills everyone else in Russell’s team. These terrorists, seemingly kidnapping the doctor and her daughter, then proceed to go to each Monarch research site and wake up the other monsters, including the newly discovered space alien, King Ghidorah. They don’t try to control the creatures; they just whip them up into a fury.

The pacifist scientists show up to stop the awakening of Ghidorah and rescue Emma and her daughter. They fail, the beast battle begins, and Dad, Mark Russell realizes his wife is one of the leaders of the ecoterrorists. The pacifists then do a complete 180 on their no-kill opinion. Ghidorah’s alien DNA makes for a perfect excuse to kill him. Local life is precious but visitors can be killed. Never mind the fact that both beasts are killing civilization in their epic battles.

Amazingly, this is where the plot becomes (more) stupid.

Beast Battles

If you’ve ever seen the Jurassic Park or World movies, then you know the US government organization discussed the idea of keeping the dinosaurs alive or just killing them. These beasts were not that large and contained for the most part on an island. Letting them live was a pretty easy decision until a volcano killed the island.

Monster posterYet Godzilla, Rodan, and the rest are huge. It is hard to get a scale, but let’s say they are the size of at least a 10- to 15-story building. They aren’t looking where they walk any more than we check for ants before we put our feet down. They swim, fly, and land where ever they want, without thought to the destruction they cause. Therefore, the idea of keeping them alive because “all living things deserve a change,” is idiotic. The one factor made clear by the movie’s scientists was we would be at best pets, at worst aperitifs. And humans are pretty selfish. I don’t see us giving up our world dominance (and best buildings) to worship animals. I wanted to throw things or scream “what the hell!” when the characters began calling them gods. This was not out of a sense of religious righteousness. Humanity had gone beyond worshiping large, leathery beasts with animal brains.

Human Stupidity

The second terrible plot situation occurred when the ecoterrorists decide we should activate all the monsters and wipe humanity off the globe. (Spoiler Alert!) Emma Russell, the mom, turns out to be one of the leaders of the ecoterrorists and it is her tech waking all the monsters up. The husband, Mark Russell, wants Godzilla dead but joins the “Peace, Love, Monsters” group in order to rescue his wife and daughter. When he realizes Emma is the main terrorist, he is overwhelmed by her betrayal.

The film highlights Mom’s dumb reasoning. She wants to let the creatures kill all of humanity because they killed her son. What? Wouldn’t you want to put down that beast instead? Nope. Mom states that we’ve woken up the monsters with our abuse of the world so we deserve to die as she watches a Mexican village get destroyed by Rodan’s awakening. The movie did not convince me that Emma’s twisted motivation, based on her dead son, was strong enough to want total human annihilation. She also believes the radiation the monsters give off will heal the planet by promoting new growth. Obviously, Dr. Emma failed physics, or at least the movie writers did.

Madison, to save people, steals the voice box and uses it to draw Godzilla to Boston. Both parents swoop in to rescue her. Seems pointless if Mommy Monster wants everyone to die anyway. In the end, Emma makes sure Madison and Mark are on a transport getting out of the big fight’s killing zone before she steals the communication device to draw King Ghidorah away from a down-and-dying Godzilla. We are supposed to get weepy at this point because of her sacrifice and the family’s angst at leaving her behind. Instead, all I felt was the bitch deserved to die because she caused more deaths than any war criminal. Ghidorah snacked her up.

These are just a few of the problems with this movie. The animal animation was pretty good, keeping strongly to the tradition of these monster movies. The focus on “humans killing our world” felt like a weak attempt at making a political statement, but it was drowned out by the critter action scenes.

Headlines and graphics during the final credits implied the next film would be Godzilla versus King Kong as a sequel to Kong: Skull Island. I probably won’t see it because I enjoyed the 2017 Kong movie. They will ruin it with a sequel.

In short, Godzilla: King of the Monsters isn’t even worth the half price movie ticket. Although the ending hinted at making more, I hope the producers simply stop. The unrelated 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick was wonderful because it retained a certain lighthearted feel interspersed with the creature scenes. These recent ones take themselves too seriously with plots going beyond not believable and deep into truly terrible.