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The fascinating afterlife of hotel furniture

Well now I know what happens to old hotel furniture and fittings.

It’s not what you might think. Instead of being thrown away or sent to landfill, SkyCity Hotel implements sustainable guidelines. Let’s tackle more of that in a little while. First, SkyCity Hotel!

Fancy room refurbishments

I slept under the stars at SkyCity Hotel … well technically while I was under the stars I was also under a roof and a fluffy duvet in a posh room.

But the enormous plate glass window opening onto Auckland harbour was huge enough to see the almost full moon that shone in all night, so it was just like camping really.

SkyCity Hotel was undergoing some fancy room refurbishments and the old furniture and fittings have gone. 

The hotel management invested in creating a more luxurious and modern atmosphere for their guests. The rooms now feature sleek and contemporary designs, with attention to detail and comfort.

Gone are the outdated furnishings, making way for stylish and comfortable amenities. The beds are adorned with plush bedding and pillows, ensuring a restful night’s sleep with the addition of high-quality linens and soft fabrics.

In line with the refurbishments, the bathrooms also received a makeover with spacious showers and newly installed deep bathtubs.

But what happens to all the old fittings and furniture?

New hotel furniture. Photo by Edelle Bruton on Unsplash

Where does old hotel furniture go?

If you’ve ever wondered where old hotel furniture and fittings go once they’ve served their purpose, here are some interesting eco-friendly tidbits from SkyCity’s makeover.

The carpets were recycled and repurposed as weed matting for stop banks. This creative solution not only prevents weed growth, but also showcases inventive recycling practices.

They donated all the curtains and tracks to the “Curtain Bank” division of HEET (Huntly Energy Efficiency Trust). This (now defunct) organization specialized in recycling curtains and providing them free of charge to families with low incomes. The donated curtains helped keep families warmer during the winter months, reducing their power bills and promoting energy efficiency.

Old TVs were given to the Salvation Army and women’s refuges, supporting their initiatives and providing a source of entertainment for those in need.

By recycling carpets, donating curtains, and contributing to charitable organisations, hotels demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, reducing waste, and making a positive impact on the environment, and the lives of individuals and families facing financial constraints.

Pile of old TVs
Hotels try to avoid this!

Other sustainable ways for disposing of old hotel furniture

When a hotel undergoes refurbishments and the methods above may not be found, there are several other options.

Auctions and sales

One common practice is to auction off or sell the old hotel furniture. These auctions can be public events or online platforms where individuals, businesses, or even other hotels have the opportunity to bid on the items. 

This allows the hotel to recoup some of its investment while giving others the chance to acquire quality furniture cheaply.

Donations and charitable organizations

Many hotels choose to donate their used furniture to charitable organizations, non-profit entities, or community projects. These organizations often work with underprivileged communities, shelters, or schools in need of furnishings. 

By donating the furniture, hotels contribute to sustainable practices and support those who may benefit from their generosity.

Upcycling and repurposing

Another option is to upcycle or repurpose the old hotel furniture. This involves transforming the items into something new and useful. Creative individuals or businesses specializing in upcycling may purchase or acquire the furniture to give it a fresh look or adapt it for different purposes. 

For example, old chairs are given new life in a trendy café or boutique.

Liquidation and clearance sales

In some cases, hotels may opt for liquidation or clearance sales to quickly sell their old furniture. These sales often involve offering discounted prices to clear out inventory efficiently. 

Recycling and sustainable disposal

When furniture is no longer usable or viable for any of the above options, hotels might partner with recycling centres or waste management companies to properly recycle or dispose the materials such as wood, metal, plastic, or fabric in an environmentally friendly manner.

Sustainability stance

Hotels often strive to make sustainable choices regarding their furniture and aim to minimise waste.

So, the next time you visit a refurbished hotel, know that its old furniture may have found new life through auctions, donations, upcycling, or other sustainable methods, making a positive impact beyond its original purpose.

Oh, and by the way, SkyCity Hotel is located at corner Victoria and Federal Streets (you can’t miss it – people fling themselves off the Sky Tower – via bungee – and that kinda draws attention).

You might like to read where unclaimed luggage goes to die, next!

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!