Want to make sure you stick with your Earth Day travel resolution of only frequenting truly eco-friendly hotels in 2012 and beyond? The best way to be assured that a business isn’t just “green-washing,” but is really sticking to sustainable practices, is by looking for a third-party certification from a recognized green building rating system. As a look at this gallery will prove, it’s possible to be “certified sustainable” without compromising anything in the way of luxury.
By Lena Katz
Photo Credit: Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea
Montage Deer Valley
LEED-certified at silver level, this Utah luxury resort has a Director of Sustainability who works closely with the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC. It’s a point of pride with the staff to show guests that “sustainable means better quality.” And evidence is all around, from the spa to the views to the celebrity sightings during Sundance and ski season.
Photo Credit: Montage Deer Valley
What’s eco-friendly about this new-build high rise, you wonder? To start: The bar tops in the restaurant are made from recycled metal shavings. The wood flooring comes from sustainably harvested forests. The coffee is roasted locally, and even the room service chicken fingers are made from local organic chickens, cut and breaded onsite. A waste-sorting program and state-of-the-art BIO-EZ organic waste disposal system eliminates hundreds of tons of food waste, and ensures minimal landfill-bound trash. Certified LEED Gold, this hotel is an excellent example of urban sustainability.
Photo Credit: Fairmont Pittsburgh
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
You have to love nature to settle in the Adirondacks—it is, after all, a six million acre park. But as one of the largest hotels in the region, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort has a tough balancing act, to serve hundreds of customers weekly while still maintaining eco-friendly standards. Its owners and management have met the challenge with great enthusiasm, earning the only “Five Leaf” ranking for any hotel in the Audubon Green Leaf system. A wonderfully locavore restaurant, ingenious Green Roof and 100% recycled paper products are among the visible components.
Photo Credit: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
You may not expect this gleaming symbol of Middle Eastern oil-money opulence to bow to environmental concerns—but in fact, the hotel was awarded Green Globe certification in 2012. With a compliance score of 85%, the hotel is working, via its internal Corporate Social Responsibility program, to reduce energy and water usage even more in 2012. It also just launched an eco-friendly meeting package to offer its many meeting and convention groups.
Photo Credit: Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Mövenpick Hotel Al Khobar
When it comes to being eco-friendly for posh Swiss hotel brand Mövenpick, no property is left behind. In 2011, it committed to obtain Green Globe certification for every operating hotel or cruise by the end of 2013. This city-center property on the Arabian Gulf Shore was one of 20 Mövenpick properties in the Middle East alone to be certified in November, 2011.
Photo Credit: Mövenpick Hotel Al Khobar
Beekman Tower Hotel
It can be hard to distinguish one deluxe Midtown Manhattan hotel from all the rest—even though they certainly try. Forget the gold leaf, the army of valets, and the “hot list” bars, and just take this in: Two Manhattan hotels achieved Green Leaf certification in Audubon and New York State’s Green Hotel pilot program, launched 2009. This all-suite boutique property was one of them. And bonus: Its penthouse-level restaurant, Top of the Tower, is one of the most romantic places in the city.
Photo Credit: Beekman Tower Hotel
Stowe Mountain Lodge
Another Green Leaf certified hotel, this is the epitome of New England elegance, set slopeside within Stowe Mountain Resort. Its sustainability focus is unique in that it doesn’t just adhere to green building practices, but works with local artisans to furnish the property—thus acting as environmental and community stewards. Most of the wood furnishings were crafted by local woodworkers, from sustainable timber or salvaged wood. The in-room lamps were made by a local potter who uses hydro-power to operate his pottery wheel.
Photo Credit: Stowe Mountain Lodge
The Waldorf, A Room Mate Hotel
Winning our vote for sexiest LEED-certified hotel is this Miami Beach newcomer from Spanish brand Room Mate Hotels. It’s flirty, it’s Art Deco, it’s right in the heart of the beach action...and it’s the first LEED certified hotel in town, with Gold-level ranking. It achieves this with vigilant energy and water conservation, re-use and recycle programs, and local/sustainable sourcing of everything from construction materials to food.
Photo Credit: The Waldorf, A Room Mate Hotel
Portola Hotel & Spa
Newly renovated and Silver LEED-certified, this Monterey hotel is pet-friendly and perfect for families. It overlooks Monterey Bay, and is within walking distance of Cannery Row. As far as “sustainable” features, look to the food—not just within the hotel, but all around. The county is famous for its farms and its sustainable seafood program. Enjoy California Coastal cuisine at Jack’s restaurant, and relax on the patio of Peter B’s Brewpub—the only craft brewery in Monterey.
Photo Credit: Portola Hotel & Spa
Inn at the Presidio
Anyone familiar with San Francisco’s history knows that it is a very special thing to even be able to stay in the Presidio. This National Historic Landmark was a U.S. military base until from 1848 until 1994, at which point it was named an urban national park managed by the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust. In April 2012, the Presidio welcomed its first hotel guests, at this 22-room inn housed in Pershing Hall—the former bachelors’ quarters. LEED Gold-certified, this very special property is a piece of history, beautifully integrated into a magical park setting that San Franciscans hold dear.
Photo Credit: Inn at the Presidio