There’s no reason why the terms “luxury hotel” and “eco-consciousness” can’t go hand in hand. In fact, chic, environmentally friendly properties have been upping their green game and offering guilt-free ways to indulge for some time now. This Earth Day offers even more chances to celebrate a conscious lifestyle at hotels practicing sound ecological mantras day in and day out. On April 22, hightail it in a hybrid vehicle to a hotel that walks the upscale walk without leaving much of a carbon footprint.
Las Vegas likely doesn’t pop into your mind when you’re thinking green, but the resourceful Vdara is a gambling-free hotel you can retreat to between shows, big dinners and rounds at the blackjack table. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star escape is located within CityCenter, a huge complex recognized for its environmental practices and design — think luxury cars running on compressed natural gas, high-efficiency water use and sustainable building materials such as wood from responsibly managed forests. Expect high eco-friendly standards at the Four-Star ESPA at Vdara, too. The spa employs mostly organic products — there’s even a vegan nail treatment — and has impressive water fixtures that conserve H2O.
While there’s always outdoor activities (golf, horseback riding, surfing) to participate in at this Northern California Four-Star hotel, nature lovers who can handle a long bike ride will want to take advantage of the hotel’s special Earth Day trek. A two-and-a-half-hour guided bicycle ride along the Coastal Trail, which runs next to the Pacific, will afford excellent views of the ocean, beaches and magnificent birds (red-tailed hawks, blue herons, loons) of the area. Got kids in tow? Have them learn about water and land conservation with programs offered by Ritz Kids in conjunction with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.
Known as a stellar Chicago business hotel (high-speed Wi-Fi and Mac Minis in rooms, mahogany-paneled meeting spaces) and a convenient spot for foodies and shoppers (it has a central Gold Coast location), The Talbott is also recognized for its initiatives on Mother Earth’s behalf. In honor of Earth Day, the hotel is giving back to those who go green: Guests who use the “eco-mode” room option — bed and bath linens will be changed every other day (instead of daily); room temperatures will be regulated while you’re out and about — this April will get a 10 percent discount on their next stay, plus a complimentary appetizer at the hotel’s buzzy restaurant Little Market Brasserie. And that free dish? A plate of not-to-be-missed deviled eggs.
Look past the grand Italianate façade and rich history of the 1926 building and you’ll see that The Breakers is more modern than many newer hotels when it comes to eco-friendly tendencies. The Palm Beach resort takes pains to make its footprint smaller to help conserve the state’s diminishing natural resources. For more than a decade, in fact, the hotel has implemented difference-making policies such as the usage of energy-conserving light bulbs and appliances, post-consumer recycled products, low-flow plumbing, green cleaners, smart thermostats and native landscaping. Even golfers can forgo feeling bad about the gorgeous greens — the resort converts undrinkable water to irrigate The Ocean Course.
This gorgeous resort on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico is no stranger to eye-opening, environmentally minded strategies. In fact, it’s a leader in the eco-tourism world with an onsite marine biologist and a nature center. Plus, 65 percent of the St. Regis’ property is preserved as green areas, trails and sanctuaries, including the 483 acres of nature reserve (which includes an utterly pristine beach). April is a prime month for watching leatherback sea turtles nest — the female reptiles come ashore to lay eggs in the sand. You can even act as a pseudo guardian for the turtles, alerting the staff when they hatch on the beach. Animal and environment protection are regarded in such high esteem at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort that Audubon International recognized it as the Caribbean’s first Certified Signature Sanctuary.
Photos Courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC and The Breakers Palm Beach