10 Stunning Hotels That Make Sustainability a Priority
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t be environmentally conscious.
Photo By: Megan Kime Photography
Photo By: Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia
Photo By: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Photo By: The Spectator Hotel
Photo By: Hotel Vermont
Photo By: The Nines Portland
Photo By: Mimi McFadden
Photo By: Solmar Hotels and Resorts
Photo By: Mariko Reed
Photo By: Don Dao
Nestled in the picturesque city of Greensboro, North Carolina, Proximity Hotel truly puts sustainability at the forefront of everything they do. As the first hotel in America to receive the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, this property is focused on reducing the amount of energy and water use of its guests. The hotel, which is 100 percent employee owned, supports local farmers and food vendors while also buying supplies and equipment from companies that use credibly sustainable practices.
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
If you’re looking for impressive accolades, Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia, has them in spades. Consistently ranked as one of the top resorts in the Caribbean, Jade Mountain is an extravagant paradise that is committed to sustainability. It's also the first hospitality facility in the Caribbean to be awarded LEED Gold. The property, which was conceived by architect and owner Nick Troubetzkoy, was designed to bring guests closer to nature. Rooms are open to the elements and designed so that the trade winds keep the temperature comfortable all year long. There’s even an ancient reservoir within the estate that is used as the property’s main water source. Once treated, the water is distributed from the top of the hill so that no additional energy is used.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
The Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a world-class property in French Polynesia where the amenities are endless. But it’s their innovative approach to coral regeneration that attracts eco-tourists. Coral reefs are in danger around the world due to natural disasters, warming climates, and over-tourism and the Bora Bora Nui has made it a priority to help through their coral regeneration program. Using “Biorock” technology, which sends a low-powered electrical current to submerged metal structures to stimulate the growth of solid limestone-coatings, the resort has developed multiple coral reef structures around the property. It’s just one way to regenerate coral reefs and make sure this beautiful ecosystem thrives for future generations.
The Spectator Hotel
"One of the most important things the hospitality community can do is to embrace eco-friendly practices and reduce waste whenever possible." Those are the words of Carlo Carroccia, general manager of The Spectator Hotel, a glamorous boutique property in Charleston, South Carolina, that has figured out a way to turn leftover food into something useful. Using a digester from BioHiTech, all leftover food items are put into the digester, which then uses microorganisms to break down the food and turn it into water. From June 2018 to June 2019, the hotel diverted nearly 15,000 pounds of food waste while reducing their carbon dioxide footprint by 5.1 metric tons.
Hotel Vermont, a LEED-certified hotel in Burlington, Vermont, has always made sustainability a priority, even before it became trendy for travel sites to write about. They utilize a local apothecary called Lunaroma to supply their shampoo, conditioner and body wash, removing the need for those mini plastic bottles. In fact, you’ll find no plastic water bottles or straws on site. When guests leave their room for the day, they can feel good knowing they're still helping the planet thanks to an electrical saving system that is activated when they lock the door. For electric car owners, there are places to charge up in the parking garage and complimentary bikes are offered to guests to use to get around town.
The Nines Portland
Portland, Oregon, is one of the greenest cities in the world both for its natural setting in the Pacific Northwest and its affinity for all things eco-friendly. The Nines Portland embraces the Rose City’s love for sustainability through a number of different initiatives, including an 80 percent recycling rate, energy-saving thermostats, a 7-story atrium with large skylight to bring in natural light and a rooftop garden with a water collection system.
Hostelling International USA
Hostelling International USA is one of the largest names in the industry and with more than 50 hostels nationwide equaling more than a million overnights annually, they have a real opportunity to make a difference with it comes to sustainability. The non-profit was awarded a grant by Booking.com to install a device called a Hydrao SmartShower, which uses colorful lights to let a guest know when to wrap up their shower, a strategy for ultimately saving millions of gallons of water. Three properties already have the SmartShower (HI New Orleans, HI USA San Francisco City Center, and HI Santa Monica) and the plan is to install 750 shower heads across the rest of their properties in the coming months.
Solmar Hotels and Resorts
Based in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Solmar Hotels and Resorts needed to look for alternative ways to heat water due to the high cost of using traditional energy sources like gas and electricity. The solution? Photothermal panels. This renewable energy source utilizes their geographical location and the sun to heat water and save the equivalent of 198 cars not circulating for a year. "Today, we’re taking important steps to ensure this setting is well-preserved and taken care of to ensure future generations of travelers can experience our resorts in the future," says Ricardo Orozco, vice president of operations. "To achieve this, we’re also eliminating absolutely all gas usage to heat water as well as removing plastic bags from our operation."
Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
Did you know that sunscreens can damage coral reefs? In Hawaii, certain sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, without a prescription are banned thanks to Senate Bill 2571. The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, managed by Aqua-Aston Hospitality, assisted with the passing of that bill and continues to educate guests by providing complimentary reef-safe samples of sunscreen as well as installing a reef-safe sunscreen dispenser on the property for guests to use. In 2018, Surfjack Hotel eliminated plastic water bottles as part of their welcome amenities and instead, offered reusable bottles for purchase and installed a hydration station. They estimate that 75,000 pieces of single-use plastic has been eliminated annually by this decision alone.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Few destinations possess the natural beauty of the Maldives and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island makes a strong case for being one of the most innovative and luxurious resorts in the world. Not only can you enjoy a private sauna and plunge-pools, but guests can book a stay at The Muraka, the world’s first undersea residence or dine five meters below the ocean’s surface at the first subaquatic restaurant. For a property so in tune with the ocean, it’s refreshing to see their partnership with Parley for the Oceans — an environmental organization dedicated to raising awareness of the beauty and fragility of the world's oceans and inspiring change — come to fruition starting in late summer 2019. Guests will soon receive a Parley Kit upon arrival, which includes a reusable stainless steel water bottle and a Parley tote bag made from an average of five intercepted plastic bottles. To further spark the conversation about sustainability and the health of our oceans for guests, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island commissioned artist John K. Melvin to construct an installation made from 5,500 locally sourced single-use plastic bottles that resembles a jellyfish (a species that when found in abundance, indicates a warming ocean).