It’s with the changing of the seasons that we truly appreciate all that Mother Nature is capable of doing. The following eco-chic hotels certainly applaud changes in leaf colors and cooler temperatures, but they don’t wait until late October to say thanks. They go the extra mile to make a difference when it comes to carbon footprints and being climate conscious every day of the year. From energy-saving elevators to environmentally friendly slot machines, here are some of the grandest green hotels.
Bardessono Hotel and Spa, Napa Valley
A LEED Platinum-certified hotel — the highest distinction from the U.S. Green Building Council — Bardessono is a modern, elegant property in the heart of wine country. Offering an exquisite experience that seamlessly supports environmental strategies at the same time is the goal, and the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel achieves just that by using wood milled from salvaged trees throughout the grounds, having non-toxic and non-allergenic materials, and consciously installing windows to promote natural lighting and cool spaces during those warm California summers. More tangible amenities that come with Mother Earth’s approval include organic cotton linens in the bedrooms and locally grown items on Four-Star Lucy’s dinner menu (Tolenas Farms quail) and the Four-Star spa’s treatment list (vinotherapy massage with chardonnay grape seed oil).
The first LEED-certified luxury resort in Southern California, this Five-Star property is a great example how splendor and sustainability can still go hand-in-hand. The hotel and residential development is 43 percent more efficient than a standard mixed-use building. Your mind is further put at ease with a green housekeeping program, environmentally sensitive landscaping (an irrigation system that reduces water consumption by more than 50 percent) and eco-friendly pool maintenance. And being just a few blocks from some of the world’s top shopping on Rodeo Drive, you’ll help the air quality by simply walking to the boutiques rather than getting in a car.
For the frequent business traveler with one eye on Bloomberg TV and another on National Geographic Channel, The James hotel brand offers various eco-perks that make a difference during a short stay. Triple-filtered water, all-natural Keetsa pillows and locally sourced snacks make a visit to Miami’s James Royal Palm special. Some of the other hotels in the family provide complimentary rides in alternative vehicles — for example, the Chicago location has a clean-diesel-powered Audi Q7 TDI — around town. At the New York location, things are taken a step further—guests who drive and park their own hybrid at the property are given a one-day transit pass as a token of appreciation for their wonderful work for the environment.
Neon-light-filled Vegas is known for its excess, but not all Sin City spots squander away resources. CityCenter has emerged as one of world’s largest sustainable urban developments, boasting LEED Gold certification for all three of its luxury hotels: ARIA, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. Throughout the hotels and the rest of CityCenter, conservation efforts save about 40 percent of water within the buildings and 60 percent in landscaping, for an overall savings of 50 million gallons each year. The complex also recycles about 47.5 percent of its waste. Even the gaming goes green: The bases of the slot machines act as displacement ventilation units that cool from the ground up, rather than the reverse, which wastes cold air on empty ceiling space. All of the savings from the energy-efficient measures could power 8,800 households every year. So go ahead and live it up in Vegas without any eco-guilt.
Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina
Designed from the bottom up with environmental sustainability in mind, Proximity Hotel is a LEED-Platinum property. The hotel uses 39.2 percent less energy than a conventional one. During construction, most of the materials used were recycled, from reinforced steel to Print Works Bistro’s dining tables. On the roof, 100 solar panels are there to heat water. The hotel also boasts North America’s first Otis Gen2 elevator that works to reduce energy. Responsible touches like that, along with specially engineered kitchen hoods and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, make going green in Greensboro look smart and stylish.