Innkeepers are a great resource for Valentine’s Day advice. Innkeepers, through the art of hospitality, know how to stage a room for romance, welcome guests to a space, accommodate every need and make you feel loved. According to Wikipedia hospitality can be summed up by Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt, a French scholar and contributor to the encyclopedia, as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity. This statement is loaded with responsibility for the one that is considered the “great soul”. Acknowledging basic ties to our common humanity is not only key to being a great host, but it also is a starting point to let someone know you love them. There are basic human ties that make a guest comfortable and welcomed, a warm room, a comfortable bed, a friendly smile, a place to freshen up and a nutritious meal. Taking this one step further by acknowledging a person’s dietary and lifestyle practices completes the act of true hospitality. In the lodging industry celebrating senses and creating individual experiences based on each unique guest is referred to as the ‘Soul of the Innkeeper’. One emerging lifestyle I see a lot at the Inn is the vegan lifestyle. To be vegan is to embrace a ‘kind’ existence of non-violence. Food choice is only one component of this lifestyle. True vegans will look for almost every item in their environment to be ‘kind’. As a host that might seem overwhelming, but with a little knowledge and hints, accommodating this lifestyle is easy.
1. A Vegan Meal
There are many vegan websites to get menu ideas. Two of my favorite websites for vegan menu items are Oh She Glows and Vegan Richa. Many supermarkets have the essential vegan ingredients such as vegan butter, egg replacers, tofu, tempeh, beans, and vegetables. There are many obvious ingredients that vegans do not consume – meat, dairy, and fish, but there are items that are not as obvious. A true vegan will not consume honey or some sugars. When you are choosing an item to serve a vegan, you need to consider the ingredients and the processing of those ingredients. A helpful list for beginner vegans is the accidental vegan items list by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In addition to preparing a meal for your vegan love, consider buying a vegan cookbook as a gift. Oh She Glows, in addition to their informative website, has a great cookbook. Tip for Innkeepers that want to create a fun vegan experience – have a couple of vegan cookbooks on the shelf of a bedroom or common area.
2. Choosing a Vegan Wine
You might think that all wine is vegan, but unfortunately they are not. The process of filtering wine for proteins, cloudiness and off-color or tastes is sometimes done using animal products. Also, some grapes may be sprayed with pesticides that are not animal or human-friendly. Certified organic wines, on the other hand, use animal-friendly filters and do not use pesticides. Barnivore is a great resource to find vegan wines. http://www.barnivore.com/wine
3. The Vegan Bedroom
There many non-vegan surprises in the bedroom. True vegans are not going to expect you to address every inhumane item in your bedroom, but there are some obvious items you can change right away. Make sure there is no down fill item on the bed or in the pillows. Down is frowned upon for the treatment of the birds that provide the down. There are many down alternatives for bedding. Here is an article about all the hidden non-vegan items hiding in the bedroom: http://www.theveganwoman.com/whats-hiding-in-your-bed-a-guide-to-a-vegan-bedroom/
4. Chocolates on the Pillow
I love the story of hotels putting chocolates on guest pillows. The legend is that chocolates on the pillow originated in the 1950’s at the downtown St. Louis Mayfair Hotel. Cary Grant was a frequent guest in the penthouse suite and he was known to create a sort of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ trail of chocolates starting from the door to the bed and ending on the pillow. A seductive act to a desired ending in bed. If you have vegan guests, these chocolates should be organic and vegan certified. There are many vegan chocolate options out there. Here is a good list of vegan chocolate vendors. I live in the Mid-Coast of Maine. When I have a vegan guest, I put locally made Bixby bars in the room. http://www.bixbyco.com/
Paying attention to bathroom amenities is very important. Items such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap should be cruelty-free and vegan. Here is a list of cruelty-free amenities. If you are an Innkeeper, you should consider the Bee-Kind brand from Gilchrist and Soames http://www.gilchristsoames.com/collections/beekind.html
6. A simple gift
To really wow your vegan love, consider enrolling them in a Vegan society or subscribing them to a vegan magazine. A donation to a local animal shelter or humane society is a special gesture showing that you appreciate the vegan lifestyle. Tip for Innkeepers – create a vegan mission statement on your website. True vegans will appreciate your effort to educate others and your acknowledgment of the lifestyle.
Celebrating one another’s lifestyles and beliefs is a great way to show love. This post has some Vegan Valentine day ideas, but I hope it has inspired you to find that special facet of your lover and celebrate it. Be creative and thoughtful. Channel your innkeeper’s ‘great’ soul and make your loved one feel welcomed and appreciated this Valentine’s Day. The whole universe will thank you for it.