An eastern Iowa hotel is believed to be the first large-scale hotel or motel in the state to go smoke-free — and it likely won’t be the last. The Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Rapids will make the change March 1st. Hotel spokesman John Gilbertson says the 83-room facility only has 11 designated “smoking” rooms now and they’re always the last to be rented. Gilbertson says “We have a list of non-smokers that want to stay here that we cannot put in the rooms, so I think if anything we’re gonna’ gain business from it.”
Owners plan a million-dollar room-by-room renovation starting in a few weeks and they decided the new rooms would mean a new no-smoking policy. Hotel guests support the move. One guest says “I think it’s a good thing. If I want to rent a room I don’t want a smoking room.” Another guest says “Most people that smoke are probably used to the battles they come up against, finding places where they can smoke.” Aside from health benefits for employees, hotel owners say going smoke-free will save money on property insurance.
Managers haven’t decided what to do if they catch a guest smoking after March 1st. They could ask the guest to leave or impose a cleaning fee — which is what happens if you sneak in a pet to the pet-free hotel.