by Tom Isler | June 01, 2008

Nonsmoking illustration by Angie MasonThe 632-room Swissotel Chicago not only slaps guests with a $250 fine for violating its nonsmoking policy -- it slips cash to the housekeeping staff for ratting on smokers.

The bounty is modest: For each reported violation, a staff member gets $10. According to a hotel spokesperson, during the first four months under the new policy, 34 guests paid for smoking violations; 30 were exposed by the housekeeping team.

The $250 fine is designed to deter smokers, as well as to cover the costs of -- and lost revenue resulting from -- an aggressive cleaning procedure that takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, during which time the room is unavailable for occupancy.

The fine also protects the hotel’s ongoing $17.5 million investment in room renovations. Most of the Swissotel’s rooms are finished now, and the remaining 70 will be updated by year’s end. The property also has plans to expand its meeting space to 50,000 square feet at a cost of nearly $50 million, to become available next summer and fall.