It’s one thing for a hotel to tout "green" initiatives that smack of sustainability; it’s another thing for properties to actually practice what they preach. We’ve investigated a number of self-proclaimed leaders in the eco-consciousness branch of North America's hotel business. Here are our top picks that leave the others green with envy.
Proximity Hotel: Innovative Pioneer
Greensboro, North Carolina
Geothermal energy is used to run refrigeration equipment in the on-site restaurant, and energy from the sun heats nearly 60 percent of the hot water provided at the Greensboro, North Carolina-based Proximity Hotel, the first LEED-Platinum resort in the country. The hotel's construction resulted in the restoration of 700 feet of streambed, and 87 percent of all construction waste was recycled.
Expert Tip: The Proximity sits adjacent to The Greenway, a five-mile public jogging and biking path.
Bardessono: Napa-Style Luxury
Don’t expect plastic water bottles at Bardessono, a 62-room LEED-Platinum luxury resort (pictured above) in Napa Valley’s Yountville. Instead, guests receive glass (and therefore reusable) bottles of house-filtered water every day (and only upon request). Other green features include concrete floors and motion sensors that shut off the room’s heat and air-conditioning when guests leave their rooms.
Expert Tip: The hotel discourages car transportation around the Valley, and provides free bikes for all guests.
Seaport Boston Hotel: Urban Waterfront Retreat
Guests love the free electric water-taxi service from the Seaport Boston Hotel into downtown Boston because it’s convenient and reduces traffic congestion on city roads. The property also participates in Keurig’s Grounds to Grow On program, through which coffee grinds from in-room coffee machines are donated to local farms.
Expert Tip: Honey used in dishes and drinks at AURA restaurant and Tamo Bar is produced from an on-site bee colony that resides on the fifth-floor roof.
The Venetian, The Palazzo & the Sands: Green in the Desert
Las Vegas, Nevada
Taken as a whole, the "campus" that comprises of The Venetian, The Palazzo and the Sands Exposition and Convention Center in Las Vegas is one of the largest green facilities in the world. A special "nano" filtration system turns wastewater into irrigation water for plants, while more than 75 percent of food waste is reused as compost or animal feed at a local farm.
Expert Tip: Preferred parking is available for hybrid vehicles.
Planet Traveler: Eco-Friendly Hostel
In Toronto, Planet Traveler’s entire three-story building requires only 1,500 watts of electricity to operate—less energy than most four-slice toasters—with most of the powering coming from an extensive photovoltaic array. The hostel leverages geothermal energy, too, pulling heat up from the earth in the winter and pushing it back down come summer.
Expert Tip: No-frills dorm-style rooms start at $30 per night; each bed has a separate energy-efficient locker for guests to store their stuff securely.Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bardessono