Ramada Jarvis is outlawing smoking in all its 57 hotels following widespread support from customers and staff.
By 5 November there will be no smoking allowed in hotel public areas, restaurants, leisure clubs and conference rooms. The majority of floor space in its hotel bars and lounges will also become nicotine free, while smoking at the bar will be banned in an effort to protect the health of staff.
During the first week of March 2005 the hotel chain, which has nearly 5,000 bedrooms in the UK, hopes to have deep-cleaned and converted 75% of its bedroom stock to no-smoking.
"We felt we had to take a lead on this issue," said David Timmis, Ramada Jarvis's operations director. "This has been very much customer and staff driven."
Ramada said a recent staff poll overwhelmingly supported smoking restrictions in the workplace, echoing Caterer's own smoking survey that found 73% of employees in the catering and hospitality sector saw companies with no-smoking policies as more attractive employers.
The hotel company said its move was about choice for staff and customers but that it wouldn't introduce a 100% ban in its properties until legislation was in place.