green holidays made easier
Shepherds Bush in West London
Hip boutique hotel with a low key yet go-ahead environmental policy
K West opened in 2001 and is primarily a music and media hotel. Endemol (the production company behind “Big Brother”) is just around the corner, BBCTV Centre up the road, and leading record companies and music venues nearby.
Located in a residential street in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, the hotel was skilfully transformed from lacklustre former BBC premises, once home to its Sports and Documentary units, to give it a stylish contemporary buzz.
Its 222 bedrooms and suites are finished in taupe, brown and cream, in leather, walnut and suede alongside stainless steel and sandblasted glass. A library of CDs, videos and games is available from room service. Deluxe rooms boast wide screen TVs, DVDs, Hi-Fis and oversize beds while the sexy bathrooms feature Philippe Starck fittings against limestone mosaics. The exclusive K Suites have squishy sofas, wool rugs, foot massaging carpets and come triple glazed for ultimate tranquility. There are original artworks throughout.
It is a long building with a 100 yard hike between reception and rooms at the back. En route are mini bar vending machines operated by room keys plus ice dispensers to help you chill out.
There is a fully equipped gymnasium, and K SPA offers a Dry Flotation Tank and E’SPA Oshadi Envelopment plus jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, lemon steam room and sauna.
On Friday & Saturday nights there is “grooving ‘til dawn” with DJs in the funky K LOUNGE bar. The restaurant, KANTEEN serves inventive modern dishes.
K West doesn’t flaunt its environmental policy. “We don’t want to be pompous and holier than thou,” says General Manager Stephen Kyjak-Lane.
Nevertheless during our tour he reeled off an extensive list of eco-conscious measures he has taken since the building’s conversion. It is usually back of house initiatives the guests never see that make the most difference. Such as the five ground source pumps which transfer heat from the ground. Cold air is pumped into the boiler room to increase the gas boilers’ efficiency. There is such pride among staff there that it is pristine (“training is key”), the pipes and machinery so brightly polished they sparkle. Furthermore, the hot water temperature was reduced by 2 degrees “and no-one noticed”.
Ovens are turned off in the afternoon (“remarkable in the hotel trade”); they use “water and elbow grease” for cleaning rather than chemical based products; the air conditioning filters are vacuumed so they work more efficiently. Two layers of sheer curtains hang across the huge plate glass windows in reception to help minimize the load on the air conditioning. A third of water used in washing and rinsing is recycled, as is all paper. Corridor lights were being replaced with low voltage alternatives – 2000 had already been swapped over.
Stephen Kyjak-Lane’s proudest achievement? Energy saving. The engineer’s target was to save 5% in one recent year. “Five months in, the hotel had saved 28%”.
Pompous? No. Effective? It certainly seems so.
ecofriendlytourist.com visited K West in March 2007