Bottled water? Take a refillable container instead. Going to the market? Walk and take some featherweight totes. Traveling? While you cannot do much about the airplane fuel you can choose a carbon conscious hotel. And that does not have to mean a tent pitched at a KOA. Ecologically conscious hotels and resorts come in all shapes and sizes these days and most of them manage to maintain a hip and stylish edge. Here is a starting list for hotel choices in popular U.S. destination to use as you plan your vacation with a conscience.
Las Vegas: The Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino. This deluxe resort is LEED certified and designed to reuse waste energy, reduce environmental impact and, in some sections, operate as self-sustaining. Guests of one of the more famous casinos on the strip can enjoy a luxurious and stylish stay without guilt. Also note: CityCenter’s Aria is one of the leading Gold LEED certified hotels in the U.S. with six Gold LEED certifications – and a lot more.
New York City: ink48 hotel. A Kimpton Hotel, ink48 hotel not only offers eco-conscious amenities but also engrains green living into its business practices and staff mindsets through its EarthCare program. Program members frequently brainstorm new ways to care for the planet by applying simple practices, such as printing collateral with soy-based inks and implementing water-efficient products in each of the rooms.
Orlando: Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Roll up at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld in a hybrid vehicle and receive complimentary valet parking. This hotel also utilizes motion sensors and timed light switches in offices and storage rooms and uses organic foods whenever possible.
Los Angeles: The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites This was LA’s first hotel to reach the environmental standards set by Green Seal, going to great lengths to create the ultimate urban oasis and be its own “city within a city.” The hotel utilizes biodegradable washing and laundry detergent, participates in composting, and collaborates with environmentally responsible vendors, among many other eco-friendly practices.
Chicago: Hotel Felix Chicago. This hotel is number one in the green hotel initiative in the City of Big Shoulders. As the first hotel in Chicago with a Silver LEED certification, The Hotel Felix epitomizes these sustainable values. Even the artwork at this hotel is sustainable by using found and reclaimed materials like the sculpture, “Loren the Doorman,” which consists of pipes, a bucket, a drill bit and an umbrella stand.
San Diego: L’Auberge Del Mar. The luxury villa calls its sustainable initiatives DESTINATION EARTH®. It all began in its food and beverage department with free range meats and organic produce. Not to mention the meeting spaces, spas and even key cards have gone green.
San Francisco: W Hotel. At the San Francisco W Hotel outpost, guests are encouraged to “stay green, glamorous and global,” a phrase that portrays the need for sustainable practices without sacrificing valuable relaxation time. It is one of seven hotels in North America with a Silver LEED-EB certification.
Washington, D.C.: Savoy Suites Hotel. The boutique hotel in the heart of Georgetown kick started its eco-friendly hotel initiative in 2006 with employee and guest awareness campaigns and a recycling program. Today, the property has expanded its green campaign by instituting 100 percent green cleaning products and detergents, 100 percent eco-friendly bath amenities for guests, and wind power through a partnership with World Energy Solution, Inc.
Houston: The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center. Hotel grounds and the golf course are naturally landscaped with native plants, trees and shrubs. The land surrounding the property remains in its naturally forested state, requiring no fertilization or watering. The hotel also recycles extensively and kitchen grease is collected and used for making biofuel.
San Antonio: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. This luxury resort in scenic Texas Hill Country receives approximately 70 percent of its power through Windtricity, the city of San Antonio’s green energy program. The fountains on-site use recycled water and the two championship golf courses adjoined to the property conserve precious water in this arid region.