Independent Hotels Give Back

People who work in hotels have big hearts. It’s part of what draws them to hospitality, so wild generosity from hotels comes as no surprise. We love the way independent hotels use their most unique assets—celebrity chefs, connections to the art world, a deep understanding of service—to give back to their neighborhoods and cities.

Here are a few acts of giving we’d like to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

Art by Alex Prager at The James Royal Palm, Miami Beach
Art by Alex Prager at The James Royal Palm, Miami Beach

The very stylish James Hotels in Chicago, SoHo and Miami Beach make an extra effort to find new, talented artists who, in time-honored tradition, may be struggling to get their work shown. They showcase the work in their gorgeous public spaces, and even have an Artist in Residence program. The best part? You get to stay in a hotel that doubles as a living art gallery.

The Wilshire Grand's gleaming interiors, kept beautiful by a work study program with students from West Orange High School
The Wilshire Grand’s gleaming interiors, kept beautiful by a work study program with students from West Orange High School

New Jersey’s The Wilshire Grand Hotel gives training jobs to West Orange High School challenged students and their mentors. They become part time team members—doing everything from folding laundry to vacuuming public areas around the hotel—and learn critical skills that’ll help them work effectively in jobs on their own. GM Ed Reagoso says, “The challenged student training is one of the most rewarding and important things we do.”

Cedarbrook Lodge's Copperleaf Restaurant uses their culinary might to support Food Lifeline
Cedarbrook Lodge’s Copperleaf Restaurant uses their culinary might to support Food Lifeline

Seattle’s Cedarbrook Lodge, a bit of a cult destination among foodies in the know, uses their culinary powers for Good by hosting Savor, a benefit dinner prepared by a constellation of celebrity chefs. The proceeds—the equivalent of 430,000 meals last year—go to Food Lifeline.

Big ole gingerbread house: proceeds go to Texas Boy's Ranch
Big ole gingerbread house: proceeds go to Texas Boy’s Ranch

We don’t want to say everything’s bigger in Texas—but check out this Gingerbread House! The Overton Hotel’s Executive Chef Resznay Skinner and team build this enormous cookie-people home every Christmas and offer bricks or little gingerbread men to guests for cash. All proceeds go to Texas Boys Ranch, an organization that helps abused and neglected children.

Hotel Viking shares the wealth (here, their spa tubs)
Hotel Viking shares the wealth (here, their spa tubs)

And if you’ve ever felt guilty about leaving a scarcely used bar of soap behind, Clean the World has solved the problem. Newport, RI’s  Hotel Viking and The Independent Hotel Philadelphia participate in the program, which recycles hotel soap into hygiene kits and sends them to places like the hurricane-damaged Philippines as disaster relief. Check out the look on this little girl’s face to see how much a bar of soap can mean!

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