Erika Engle

Not only is hotel clean,
but it smells great, too

Guests at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island may have noticed an herbaceous aroma outside of the dining venues.

The hotel has canned the uses of standard industry cleaning products, which usually smell, well, like cleaning products.

Instead, housekeeping director Denise Levesque switched to Benefect, created from a patented blend off thyme, clove and lemon grass oils.

The Canadian product surpasses Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada requirements for hospital grade disinfectants.

Hotel officials report that complaints of allergic reactions, headaches, light-headedness and skin irritations by housekeeping staff have disappeared.

By next month the hotel will have phased out synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, having replaced them with natural, organic landscaping methods, said landscaping manager Michael McCullough.

Commercial doesn't make the cut here

A new commercial for Benihana teppanyaki restaurants, done in Japanese animation style, or anime, is not going to be aired in Hawaii, at least, not for now.

Part of the reason is that the local restaurants are corporately under Benihana of Tokyo, founded by Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki in New York City, while the corporate entity that developed the new TV spots is Benihana Inc., which owns Benihana restaurants on the mainland.

"The anime is a very nicely done commercial," said Marilyn Cariaga, the restaurant's Hawaii manager for marketing and strategic business development. "But Hawaii is a different market from the rest of the U.S."

Benihana of Tokyo is running a TV spot, but it is live action, showing the world-famous tabletop cooking the eatery is known for, produced locally and featuring local people.

Airing the anime commercial in Hawaii is not being discussed, Cariaga said.

It can be viewed online at www.benihana.com.

Meanwhile, Benihana of Tokyo has a lawsuit pending against Miami-based Benihana Inc. over a $20 million financing deal earlier this year, according to Nation's Restaurant News magazine, an industry publication.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: eengle@starbulletin.com

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