Whales Ask for Help as Ocean Pollution Increases

When a boat of fishermen,  north of Sydney, Australia, first noticed a whale nudging the side of their boat, they did what most young people would do first:  they took a  “selfie”!  However, after a few quick photos, one of the  fishermen noticed a fishing line and plastic bag entangled in the whale’s mouth.  “It was right on his lip … he seemed like he wanted it off”, one of the fishermen reported.  Other fishermen in the area attempted to pull the rubbish from the whale’s mouth, but it was a man named Mr. Iskendarian who successfully freed the whale.  Afterwards, the whale was seen slapping the water, in an apparent show of appreciation and happiness.

This case is yet another example of marine debris and the harmful effect it has on aquatic life.  Most people have the misconception that marine debris consists of just a few pieces of rubbish scattered along beaches that is of no harm to anyone. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  This type of pollution has become a pervasive problem affecting all of the world’s oceans.  It is known to be the cause of injuries or death of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey, eating it.  Studies show that 44 percent of all seabirds have plastic in and around their bodies

Marine debris that is known to cause entanglement includes derelict fishing gear such as nets, mono-filament line, also six-pack rings, and fishing bait box strapping bands.  This debris can cause death by drowning, suffocation, many other symptoms of reduced feeding efficiency, and injuries caused by plastic pollution.  Particularly affected are seals and sea lions, probably due to their very inquisitive nature of investigating objects in their environment


Attempts to address the problem of marine debris range from international legislation to prevent ships from dumping plastic at sea and campaigns to prevent losses due to poor industrial practice.  Beach and seabed clean-up operations and public awareness campaigns have also been attempted.  Plastic debris originates from a wide and diverse range of sources.  Estimates suggest that much of what is found at sea originates on the land.  The effect of coastal littering and dumping is compounded by vectors such as rivers and storm drains discharging litter from inland urban areas.

Local authorities, non-government organizations and volunteers have all contributed towards coastal clean-up operations throughout the world.

This is all good, but on a daily basis there is much that we can do to keep US….and THEM healthy!!!  


There is an organization whose sole focus is the reduction of Plastic Pollution.  The Plastic Pollution Coalition has developed the following 4Rs Pledge for us all to take, to make our personal commitment more defined.


REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’ 

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic. 

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it. 

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

If you are interested in learning more about ocean plastic pollution and what is being done about it, please visit: Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Spooky Hotels for Halloween

1) Provincial Hotel

The haunted Provincial Hotel in New Orleans is considered to be one of the most popular locations when it comes to experiencing the spiritual world. Part of this hotel, located in the French Quarter at 1024 Chartres Street, was once a Confederate hospital.

Maids have reported seeing confederate soldiers and surgeons roaming the rooms and the halls.    There are also tales of blood stains appearing and disappearing mysteriously on bedding in certain rooms. There’s even an incidence that once, as the elevator door opened onto the second floor, the entire hospital was in view.



2) Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado is a luxury hotel in the City of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California. It is one of the few surviving examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort. The hotel is located immediately behind the beach, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest beach resort on the North American Pacific Coast.

A famous resident of the hotel is the purported ghost of Kate Morgan. In 1892, she checked into room 302 (then 3312, now 3327), to meet with her estranged husband Tom, but he never arrived. She was found dead on the steps going to the beach six days later. The case was declared a suicide, but forensic evidence processed more than a century later revealed she was shot.



3) Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is a 138-room Georgian-style hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of the Rockies.

The hotel is reported to play host to a number of otherworldly visitors. The most notable is F. O. Stanley.  He and his twin brother invented the Stanley Steamer Automobile.  He is most often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was alive. On one such occasion, he is said to have appeared during a tour group’s visit to the Billiard Room, materializing behind a member of the tour. Bartenders at the hotel also report having seen F. O. Stanley stroll through the bar, disappearing when they try to cut him off at the kitchen.

The neoclassical hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. While King and his wife were staying at the Stanley, King conceived the basic idea for the novel!!!



4) Le Pavilion Hotel

Built in 1907, Le Pavilion New Orleans Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America and also maintains membership in the Leading Hotels of the World. It is located at 833 Poydras Street in downtown New Orleans, just down the street from the Provincial Hotel, first on our list of ‘Spooky Hotels’.

 At least four ghosts have been identified enjoying the hospitality of Le Pavilion Hotel. The hotel hired professional paranormal investigators at one point to identify the ghosts.  The research team found a total of five entities.   A young couple and a young child in the restaurant, a man on the 3rd floor and a young girl in room 930.  None of them are malevolent and do not disrupt the hotel operations!  



5) Heathman Hotel

Completed in 1927, the Heathman Hotel was replete with details evoking the Italian Renaissance and opened to reviews heralding its “surprising beauty” plus a restaurant that was described as the “finest in the city”.

The ghostly story at the The Heathman Hotel is that all the rooms ending in “03” are visited by some sort of poltergeist.  During a visit in 1999, a celebrity psychic staying in room 803 claimed to see a ghost at the end of her bed. 


6) Carolina Inn

Recognized as one of America’s “cultural resources worthy of preservation,” The Carolina Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From the day it opened in 1924, the Inn has played an important role in the daily life of the University of North Carolina and the Chapel Hill community. 

Local legend has it that the ghost of a professor and long-time inn resident, William Jacocks,  has steadfastly retained his rights to room 252, long after his death, and taunt its future occupants.


7) Sagamore Hotel

The Sagamore in Bolton Landing has had reports of hauntings since the 1950’s. This hotel has been in Bolton Landing for more than 100 years.

Guests and staff have reported three different apparitions. A small boy, a woman in white, and a couple of lovers have been seen.


8) Cresent Hotel

The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa has a rich and fascinating history. Some of the earliest accounts  of paranormal activity are taken from the Eureka Springs Times Echo newspapers,  which is still in existence today and some  information on Dr. Norman Baker, one time owner of the Crescent Hotel who ran a “Cancer Hospital”.

Millions have now seen the incredible footage of the full-size male paranormal apparition caught on thermographic videotape by the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.” Thousands more have actually visited “the morgue” where it was“captured.” During October, a few can have the opportunity to sleep in these lower-level series of rooms that are said to be one of the most active areas here in “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,”


9) Ramada Plaza Hotel

The Ramada Plaza Hotel is a historical landmark hotel in the heart of downtown Fond du Lac, Wisconsin within walking distance of shopping, entertainment and restaurants.

Rumor has it that Walter Schoreder (a past owner) was murdered on the property and still remains.   He likes to turn on the faucets, lights, bangs on the walls, and screams.  People have reported seeing his apparition.


10) Queen Mary Hotel

After her retirement in 1967, the R.M.S Queen Mary steamed to Long Beach, California on the west coast of the United States, where she is now permanently docked as a tourist attraction.

Ghosts have been reported on board only after the ship arrived in California. Many areas of the ship are rumored to be haunted. Reports of hearing little children crying in the nursery room, actually used as the third-class playroom, and a mysterious splash noise in the drained first-class swimming pool are cited.


As recent as 1966, 18-year-old fireman John Pedder was crushed by a watertight door in the engine room during a drill, and his ghost is said to haunt the ship.

If you check into any of these hotels, especially at Halloween,  we recommend you keep a close look over your shoulder in case the ‘spirits’ have left the ‘bar’!!!  

Bio Hotel Columbia organic suites bogota D.C. logo green on white background dispenser amenities

BioHotel Organic Suites, Bogota

Last year, Dispenser Amenities was approached by one of the most fascinating hotel projects in South America: BioHotel Organic Suites. Owner Samuel Huertas was enticed by the quality and look of our new iQon Chrome Dispensers. After a short discussion, Samuel was convinced that our Dispensers were the perfect look for his innovative 72-room eco-property and had them installed in every guest shower.

                From the water treatment plant in the basement to the vertical gardens and green roof on the building’s exterior, BioHotel has sustainability sewn into its fabric. The hotel management conserved natural resources during construction by maintaining strict criteria for the building materials and methods and, as a result, BioHotel has obtained a LEED Gold status among a multitude of other eco-friendly certifications. The furniture is constructed from recycled wood, the carpets and sheets are made from 100% recycled fibres, and the mattresses are made with organic materials.Biohotel Presentation EN Revised Page 12 mid res

                On the energy side of matters, the hotel utilities natural light during the day as often as possible. Of course, some form of energy will always be required, but BioHotel tries to stay off the grid as much as possible. Its energy needs are supported by a 72 solar panels, and the “eco-gym” makes use of specialized gym equipment that transforms its users’ caloric expenditure into useful energy for the hotel. 1 hour on one of BioHotel’s elliptical powers more than 3 laptops.

The food served in the hotel’s restaurant is of the finest quality, while still maintaining the hotel’s edict of sustainability. BioHotel has made agreements with providers of organic products available locally and internationally, and even grows its own organic produce in-house. Its vegetable gardens are further complemented by beautiful vertical gardens throughout the property and a green roof.

                BioHotel was constructed to embrace sustainability without losing any luxuries. The hotel grounds include a business centre, soundproof suits, covered parking with 24-hour surveillance, a spa with a sauna, Turkish sauna, and whirlpool, and four high-tech event halls. Services offered 24 hour room service, laundry and EMR service. To cut down on plastic waste, the hotel’s high-quality bathroom amenities are supplied through Dispensers. Lastly, as a touch of home, each suite comes with a complete kitchen for guests to throw together anything from a snack to a feast. One can feel pampered at the luxurious BioHotel Organic Suites in Bogota without any of the corresponding guilt about impacting the environment.

                Clearly a great deal of thought went into both the guest experience and the hotel’s carbon footprint. Mr. Samuel Huertas truly deserves praise for this incredibly forward-thinking hotel.


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.

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