YVE Hotel

Last December, Host Hotels & Resorts Lodging Investment Trust, along with Destination Hotels Group, launched a new hotel concept in Downtown Miami.  The YVE Hotel, a 243-room facility located in downtown Miami adjacent to the American Airlines Arena boasts an excellent view of the Port of Miami.

The YVE Hotel has partnered with the Wynwood gallery Art Bastion, a Miami art agency which represents artists from across the globe.  Wynwood will curate the YVE Hotel with works of art, as well as offering art tours of Miami to the guests.

YVE is over the top as far as guest amenities go.  Not only will guests be treated to a 42 inch Smart TV but also hi-tech telephones, YVE brand fragrances, and a fitness center, in addition to the standard amenities.

AVIVA III Satin TransOur relationship with the YVE Hotels began before its opening when the General Manager, Robert Festinger stayed at an Aloft property.  Since every Aloft Hotel worldwide uses our AVIVA II with Basket Dispenser, Robert, was bound to see it.  As soon as he did, he decided he would love to see them in his new hotel!

Shortly after his stay we were contacted by Mr. Festinger who wanted to use our AVIVA Dispensers at the YVE Hotel.  After some discussion he decided to go with our AVIVA III Satin-Silver Translucent Dispenser.  The Dispensers look just fantastic in the hotel showers.  The bold colors of the liquids shining through the translucent bottle really makes the AVIVA stand out in the showers.

The hotel has very quickly become a popular travel destination and the rooms are a hit with the guests.  Reviews on Tripadvisor praise the property for its outstanding style and convenience.  YVE has very clearly positioned themselves for long-term success in one of the USA’s largest tourist destinations.

The Combination of Technology and Style is Perfectly Executed by Aloft Hotel Chain

With approximately 100 hotels in operation and others opening soon in 15 countries around the world, Starwood’s Aloft brand delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape. For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveler, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is very different by design.  By combining technology with style, Aloft is catering to one of the fastest growing demographics in North America.

For starters, the Aloft Hotels in New York and Silicon Valley began to replace plastic cards with Bluetooth technology, enabling guests to open their rooms by using their smart phone. The technology was developed by Swedish lock maker, Assa Abloy, in collaboration with Starwood’s in-house tech team. Guests of the hotel can download a mobile application to their smartphone before arriving to register and completely bypass the front desk upon arrival by using their cellphone as a room key.  The Aloft Bangkok- Sukhumvit 11 has taken the technology to another level via its mobile app that allows the guests to control several elements in the room ranging from lighting to entertainment through their smartphones. The hotel, in partnership with an New York based IT firm called Fingi, has created a system which allows customers to use pre-issued Samsung Galaxy S phones to check into their rooms, create a Wi-Fi hotspot and make cheap calls in the hotel and its vicinity.  

Cupertino Aloft Hotel in California is also experimenting in uncharted waters by deploying a robotic butler. The hotel chain partnered with a Silicon Valley start-up, Savioke, to develop the robots in a move aimed at polishing Aloft’s tech-embracing status and also to add some efficiency to its operations. The hotel, conveniently located across the street from Apple’s corporate campus, is the test bed for this new technology.  The robots (dubbed “Botlrs” and named “ALO”) do not have a human shape as they are not meant to be construed as male or female. It usually doesn’t generate second glances when it is stationary but when on the move, it can clock speeds of up to 4 miles/hour. This speed is enough for the Botlr to deliver newspaper, razors, toothbrushes, chargers or snacks to any of the 150 rooms in the hotel in only 2 to 3 minutes. When the ‘Botlr’ reaches the guest’s room, the customer is immediately notified of the impending delivery by the computer system.

The Botlr has a built-in camera which has sensors that can detect whether a door is opened. An LCD display on the robot’s face allows guests to review the service in place of a tip. If the review is positive, the robot usually performs a dance before leaving.  Perhaps the most impressive capability of the new robot is its ability to independently make its way to upper floors. When it reaches the elevator, it wirelessly sends a command for the door to open and then maneuvers into the elevator car, taking care to stay out of the way of any human passengers. When it returns to the lobby, Botlr can plug itself into a recharging station while it awaits its next errand. The hotel management believes that the simple ‘Botlr’ has enhanced the operations of the establishment by allowing the desk clerks to interact more with customers rather than having to make errands to the clients’ rooms.

This summer, Starwood is planning to install Panasonic smart mirrors designed to selected rooms across the Aloft Hotels chain. Within the next few months, guests staying at selected rooms at the Aloft hotel will be able to use the mirror to access breaking news, weather updates, sports scores and other essential information. Travelers will also be able to pair up their phones with the smart mirrors and access their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds page directly on the smart mirror.

Other technologies being tested by Starwood include a dual stream TV which allows guests to watch two different programs on two large screen TV’s which are placed side by side. Couples can stream different channels on the TV screens and listen using wireless headphones so that they don’t disturb each other. Starwood is also looking to install virtual business centers fitted with noise cancelling technology in the lobbies of selected Aloft hotels to create a comfortable working environment where guests can work or make calls.

Aloft Shower Dispenser

With it’s Aloft, Element by Westin, and Four Points by Sheraton hotel brands, Starwood is trying to craft experiences for young, price-conscious, tech-savvy early adopters who are more into experiences than stuff. Starwood continues with its exploration of various technology functionalities that enable guests to regulate room temperature, adjust the intensity and color of the lighting and even program the coffee maker to automatically brew coffee at a specific time. These cool features are being tested at selected hotels across the world, and although the release date is not certain, the company plans to unveil some of the new futuristic features by the end of this year. Dispenser Amenities is proud to partner with Starwood by installing our latest and most stylish dispenser models at Aloft, Elements and Four Points by Sheraton establishments. Our internationally acclaimed soap dispensers are saving the planet by eliminating plastic waste, one bottle at a time.

The #BanTheBag Campaign is Exploding as a Worldwide Trend

In 2000, Mumbai, India imposed a ban on plastic bags after facing an urban litter crisis and intense flooding. In 2002, Bangladesh also banned plastic bags.  These bans were the first to be highly publicized, not because of the environmental benefits, but because eliminating plastic bags provided disaster mitigation and prevention.  The situation arose because plastic bags held no recycling value so garbage pickers would not even pick them up.  Instead people turned to shoving the bags into nearby sewers which resulted in the floods.  After the ban went into effect, city officials in Mumbai were quite diligent in their enforcement efforts, even going as far as raiding, fining, and seizing plastic from dozens of shops suspected of non-compliance. 

A similar situation occurred in Taiwan during 2002.  After an outbreak of Hepatitis during the 1990s, the country turned to disposable food packaging and cutlery as a solution to impede the virus.  This increase in plastic waste from the food industry, combined with the 2.5 bags citizens used on average daily, created an enormous waste disposal issue.  As the new millennium rung in, the county’s recycling facilities were overloaded, and their landfill space was running out.  The government responded with a ban on disposable plastic. 

A year later, in 2003, the Australian township of Coles Bay, a tourist town with a population of 175, began the online campaign which is now known as #BanTheBag.  As a community dependent on ecotourism, #BanTheBag aligns perfectly with their mission to protect the local environment from litter.  However, Coles Bay decided to take #BanTheBag detailing the ban which quickly gained coverage within the global environmental community, particularly in Africa. Almost immediately after the Coles Bay announcement, throughout the globe, bans, restrictions, and taxes were levied on plastic shopping bags. 

The first city within North America to ban plastic bags was San Francisco in 2007.  Since then, this has become a hot topic. Many non-profit groups have arisen to support the cause, most notably, the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and 5Gyres.  Legislation has been proposed for the entire state of California, and many other US municipalities have passed bans including Aspen, Marshal County, Brookline, Austin, Santa Fe, Portland, Seattle, Laredo, East Hampton, Honolulu County, Hawaii County, Sonoma County.  Toronto, Canada put the legislation up for an unsuccessful vote in 2012.  Montreal, Canada, is now considering a ban which, if successful, will be the first Canadian metropolis to achieve a ban.

Proponents of plastic bags are not giving up easily, however.  A ban for the entire state of California was passed only to be delayed right before the planned implementation date July 1st, 2015 to allow for a referendum vote to take place in 2016.  Major players for the plastics industry have formed their own alliances and organizations to counter the efforts of environmentalists.

The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, announced just last month that he will be open to a debate on the subject of whether to ban the bags outright, or to “look at an in-between situation”.  Leading the opposition to the ban in this debate will be Pierre Dubois of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.  Although Mayor Coderre has made his pro-ban position on the subject clear, Dubois is hoping to persuade him otherwise with the following argument:

“We think a ban is probably the worst way to solve environmental problems,” he said.

Dubois said a bag ban would create other problems. If consumers forget their reusable cloth bags, paper bags and their larger carbon footprint would be the likely option at stores. Consumers who use shopping bags to dispose of waste would in turn have to purchase more bags.

“Exchanging one type of material for another is not necessarily a panacea,” said Dubois, who supports education on recycling and reusing.

Dubois argued that statistics suggest about 59 per cent of Quebecers reuse shopping bags at least once or twice, and that more than one-third recycle them. Approximately 7% are guilty of putting them in the trash.

“I agree with you when I see a bag flying along the road, I cringe,” Dubois said. “That person could have put it in their blue box and it could have been used by someone to make something else.”

The flaw with Dubois’ argument is that the bags are not being recycled at any rate comparable to that which they are being produced.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 9% of plastic is recovered in the United States, a country known for having above-average recycling practices.   The percentage of plastic that ends up in the ocean every year is a difficult figure to calculate, however, many environmental research groups have speculated that between 5% – 10% litters the world’s oceans.  That is nearly equal minority amounts of plastic winding up on the opposite extremes of the disposal issue, with the vast majority of all plastic still ending up in landfills.

This movement is gaining momentum and expanding.  New non-profit organizations, and businesses are contributing to the solution by spreading the word and raising awareness.  Bans on plastic drinking bottles and Styrofoam are also gaining popularity around the globe, similar to the way the bag bans did.  Plastic waste has the potential to become a life or death struggle in the long run for all of us.  It is only through advocating for change and successfully implementing legislation that we can combat this issue and win.


Project Ocean Cleanup

It’s no secret that rampant plastic use for everyday consumption is transforming marine life in our oceans.  Every year a staggering 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans.  The majority of the plastic is concentrated by converging currents into 5 major spots around the world.  These trash hotspots are called gyres, and they are getting so big that they are affecting the health of animals and people around the world.

The toxins released by the plastic in the ocean are absorbed by all marine life and make its way up the food chain all the way to humans.  This causes increased cancer and birth defects in humans while killing approximately 1 million sea birds and over 100,000 marine animals annually.

With an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, the idea of even attempting a clean-up seemed impossible until now.  The fact that a Dutch teenager could come up with a feasible solution to cleaning up our oceans seemed even more absurd.  But luckily for us this world is full of surprises…

Meet Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of the Ocean Cleanup.  At age 16, he was shocked when he went scuba diving in Greece and saw more plastic bags than fish. This experience led him to develop a brilliantly simple solution to a complex problem.

Why go out and try to clean up all the plastic in the ocean when you can let the ocean’s currents bring the floating plastic to you?

Boyan started working on his hypothesis as a high school project before he went viral with his innovative idea. It received so much praise that he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study to found the Ocean Cleanup. At the age of 18 he hosted a riveting Ted Talk that presented his passive cleanup concept.  It exploded on the internet, receiving millions of views.

At the age of 19 Boyan lead an international team of over 100 scientists and engineers on a year-long study which came up with amazing results.  Not only was his idea possible, it could eliminate 42% of the ocean’s plastic in 10 years.  These results allowed Boyan to raise $2.2 million online to turn his dream into a reality.

In 2014 Boyan was awarded the 2014 United Nations Champions of the Earth award, further encouraging him to keep advancing his project.

Now the Ocean Cleanup is going full throttle and will launch their pilot program next year.  They will release a 100 km long floating barrier that will trap floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The collected plastic will then be recycled into bio fuel.


If successful, this project has the capability to clean up our oceans and save millions of animal and human lives.  It is incredible that one teenager came up with an idea that could impact the entire planet.  This is the beauty of creativity and the fruition of Boyan’s dedication to making the world a better place.

Jarad Fisher Dispenser Amenities on laptop at office desk

Welcoming Jarad Fisher to the Dispenser Amenities Team

Our search for the perfect candidate to join our hospitality service team ended at a wonderful London, Ontario event: The Student 2 Business Networking Conference (S2B).  Dispenser Amenities’ staff Michael Faulds and Aja Lee attended as recruiters while, Western University soon-to-be graduate, Jarad Fisher attended the event in search of local employment opportunities.

After a fabulous evening which included a delicious snack buffet, and a presentation from keynote speaker Stuart Knight, representatives Aja and Michael entered the networking conference area which was quickly filling up.  While we found any number of people who would likely have been a great fit for the job, we were looking for someone very specific.

This is when we met Jarad Fisher.  At the time, Jarad was a 4th year history major at Huron College, which is an affiliate college of the University of Western Ontario.  He had a diverse employment history at various customer service positions.  His experience at Petsmart, in particular, really struck a note with us.  Dispenser Amenities is a pet-friendly office.  After learning of his experience driving a forklift and as a chef, we were convinced that Jarad would be the perfect fit.

Jarad’s love of history stemmed from his fascination with different cultures around the world and how they evolved to become the way they are today.  Entering the field of hospitality supply gives him the opportunity to meet individuals working in hotels around the world.  “Some of these establishments just fascinate me.  For example, while working with customers from Dispenser Amenities’ vast Starwood portfolio, I came across the Aloft David Whitney.  This hotel has transformed a historical building into a vibrant downtown Detroit hospitality location.  The whole situation is Detroit is just fascinating for me.  I’m really rooting for them to rebound from the bankruptcy and now, with a vested interest in the Aloft location, I really feel a part of it.”

The American Civil War was his favorite period of study at Huron College because it combined the political, social, and military aspects of history and how this materialized into a conflict which became the defining period of American history. “Two portions of one country that were so similar, yet over the course of decades slowly drifted towards animosity until the point of open conflict. The entire period is engrossing. I loved visiting the Gettysburg battlefield when I was younger and hope to visit more again in the future.”

Now in his role as Sustainability Advisor as a part of our Dispenser Amenities team, Jarad is undertaking a new study: sustainability within the hospitality industry.  Our thousands of hotel customers and the results of their switch to a waste-free amenities system provides Jarad with a vast archive detailing the eco-saving possibilities available for properties worldwide.

Welcome to the team, Jarad!

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