Shire Hotels has become the first hotel group in England to completely ban smoking, Caterer can reveal.
The six-strong group has introduced a comprehensive ban on lighting up at its properties, including in its 700-plus bedrooms.
Ian Harkness, managing director of Shire, said that although he was initially ambivalent about Caterer‘s Stub Out Smoking campaign of 2005-06, he had been won over, as feedback from customers in support of a ban was unanimous.
"We do not feel this decision represents any commercial risk, as there's been a steady drop in demand for smoking rooms at our properties during the past 15 years," he said. "Also, as we have around 8,000 leisure and spa members, we feel it fits with our ethos."
A smoking ban in all enclosed public places in England will be introduced from 1 July, but hotels will still be allowed to designate some guest rooms for smoking if they wish.
• Hong Kong has banned smoking in most public places. Smokers can no longer light up in restaurants, workplaces, schools or karaoke lounges. Nightclubs, bars, mahjong parlours, bathhouses and massage establishments are exempt until July 2009.
By Chris Druce