I recently enjoyed a short getaway with my wife. We had reserved a room at a hotel and had requested a non-smoking room. Upon check in the gentleman at the front desk told us that the hotel was very busy. He informed us that the room they had available for us was a smoking optional room.
This is a fantastic piece of marketing word play. Unless there is category of rooms in which smoking is required, my understanding is that all smoking rooms are in fact smoking optional. But by adding that one word optional to the label for the room, the image of the room is somewhat transformed. The term smoking room conjures up images of a room that smells like an ashtray and is littered with tiny burn marks on the furniture. By contrast, a smoking optional room is a room in which you have options. The occupant of the smoking optional room has a freedom that the occupant of the non-smoking room does not possess; the freedom to partake in a multitude of delightful tobacco products.
This phraseology, while creative and even a bit cute, is no doubt an attempt to make the room seem more acceptable to non-smokers when no non-smoking rooms are available for their stay. Perhaps some non-smokers, despite previous convictions to refrain from the habit, are at least compelled to not completely rule out the option of smoking should they choose to pickup the habit during their stay.
After a polite request, and some discussion with the manager on duty, we were placed in a smoking prohibited room. But I appreciate that we were afforded the option of smoking.