Shore Hotel, Santa Monica: Green instead of Good

While tripping over itself to appeal to California's green vanity, The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica forgot to be a hotel worthy of its price.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Pollution is bad. Maintaining clean water, a healthy food supply and fresh air as best we can is essential to the survival of human beings. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. I certainly don’t.

However, the green consumer craze is ridiculous overkill — a hokey, money making scam and a gigantic load of bollocks. This qualifies especially in a hotel business in which the only advantage of green practice is appealing to the vanity of would-be guests.

My Exhibit A? The Shore Hotel. Located along the Pacific within a baby harp seal’s toss from the Santa Monica Pier, the joint sells itself first and foremost as a green hotel. You see that claim coming into the lobby, checking in, parking your car, etc. I thought I’d read it on the underside of the toilet seat when I lifted it to commit the unforgivable transgression of not purifying my urine for organic farm usage.

The slogan hanging around all these green announcements goes something like, “Turning carbon footprints into footprints in the sand.” I paraphrased that before throwing up the kale salad I was forced to eat next door lest I go hungry. I texted an image of that slogan to a friend of mine who enjoys living down here on the ground with the rest of us mere mortals. She urged me to burn a California Condor in the lobby to bring the Shore’s attitude down a titch.

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From the street, the hotel looks safe enough. It’s outwardly modern and allows plenty of sunlight into its lobby via the glass surrounding a check-in desk that I assume was cooked up from piles Al Gore’s repurposed underpants. There was a pool well-stocked with all the latest Californians. (I think those are constantly recycled, too, as they never seem to change.) There’s an expansive outdoor patio area where one could enjoy a cigar, if the city hadn’t made smoking a crime punishable by slow death via sensitivity training.

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All of those amenities should be on hand — joined by a hell of a lot more — for any hotel selling its rooms for anywhere from north of $300 to as high as $1,500 per night. But, the Shore is a green hotel, so I’m assuming any rules I might serve up on what travelers expect from in a night’s stay don’t apply.

The service is barely competent and not overly friendly — and, early on, I was on my best behavior. Still, the hotel is on multiple green building registers, so who cares about the heavy air of all-prevailing apathy?

The rooms aren’t furnished particularly comfortably, but the water is reclaimed from the sweat of white rhinos. So, what does it matter?

The gym is cramped and limited, but they forged the dumbbells from the endless rendered corpses of people who didn’t separate their bottles and cans. Be grateful.

Most endearing? There’s no room service after noon. In fact, there’s no food served in the hotel after noon. Apparently, human nourishment is considered conspicuous consumption by the self-aware green crowd. In fact, I’ve just been informed that the excessive amount of consecutive Cs in these two most recent sentences will incur an environmental fine.

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I had a guest visit me during my stay, and the lovely young lady requested a cup of black coffee — no doubt needing caffeine to amp up at the prospect of spending an evening with me. Like the knight in shining armor that I am (…My armor isn’t recycled. I’m doomed…), I snatched up the bamboo phone to order up a small pot of whatever locally sourced organic muck would pass for java inside the Shore’s walls. I was told to go to the Starbucks down the street or to make instant coffee in the room — even though tearing open that packet would mean a wastepaper basket not filled solely with parchment stamped out of elephant feces.

We’re talking $1,500 a night, maximum rate here, folks. We’re left with Starbucks or maybe the McDonald’s around the corner. You want to eat in your room? Raid the minibar or munch down the bed sheets. They’re probably made from flaxseed or something.

I assume the green tea-logged minds behind the Shore Hotel couldn’t worry less about the amenities of their business because I doubt their loyal customers really care. I”m sure there’s plenty of “more money than brains” folks in the world who don’t mind if their chair feels like an Ikea cast off as long as they glow in the mentally defective illusion that they’re somehow saving the planet by handing over their money to a subpar hotel.

In a time when someone can become famous with absolutely no semblance of wit, skill or wisdom — in a world in which red becomes blue and day becomes night simply because someone says so before crowds rush to join in the delusion to prove their sensitivity — it seems a hotel can deem itself special for its would-be enlightenment over its actual service or accommodations. I would send a simple message to the Shore Hotel and any other venues stumbling over their be-sandaled feet to pat themselves on their collective back for their worldly and superior vision: Before shouting to the world how green you are, try throwing together a decent hotel.