Looking to take a more eco-friendly trip? We've rounded up some of the greenest hotels around the world. Take a look at what they're doing to help protect the environment and get inspired to take a greener vacation, whether you want to head somewhere exotic or stick closer to home.
Luna Lodge, Costa Rica
More than 75 acres of the property that Luna Lodge sits on is primary virgin rainforest on Costa Rica's spectacular Osa Peninsula — reason enough to want to protect the diverse and awe-inspiring landscape. One hundred percent of the electricity generated for all lighting and all electric outlets throughout the property is produced through Luna Lodge's own hydropower plant, making the property 100 percent energy self-sufficient. Natural, biodegradable products are the standard, from shampoo and conditioner to hand soap and cleaning products. Luna Lodge is part of a number of associations that work to benefit both the environment and the local community, including The White Hawk Project, which aims to protect the nearby Carate River Valley.
The Colonnade Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
As part of The Colonnade Hotel's 2009, $25 million renovation, the hotel recognized the need for environmental sustainability. It has since become a role model for Boston hotels by making a concerted effort to incorporate green practices into both the renovation plans as well as daily operations. Installment of low-flow consumption toilets has reduced the amount of annual water use by an impressive 1,125,000 gallons and adoption of a hotel-wide recycling program has led to removal of a whopping 140 tons of waste from landfills within four years.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Named Australasia's Leading Green Hotel by the 2012 World Travel Awards in October, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort takes pride in their eco-conscious initiatives. The environmentally-responsible resort is located in a marine protected area, which was established in collaboration with the local Fijians in 2004. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort plants mangroves in order to prevent erosion and improve the quality of the water and fish, houses a large clam farm to aid in natural reseeding of the clams on the reefs, and provides mooring lines at snorkeling and diving sites to avoid boat anchor damage. The resort also practices recycling and composting, uses low energy lighting, solar panels on water heaters and does not use any phosphate-based products in the laundry or kitchen.
Barceló Maya Beach Resort, Mexico
From vegetable gardens and green houses to a water purification plant, Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, is committed to creating a greener experience for guests . During sea turtle season, (May to October), the resort protects nesting sites with a wire fence and educates guests about the importance of protecting sea turtles. Once the eggs hatch, guests are encouraged to participate in the release of hundreds of newborn turtles on the beach. In addition to sea turtle protection, guests are also offered the option to conserve energy by reusing towels and sheets rather than requesting fresh towels daily. The resort complex also boasts a 3,200-square-foot vegetable garden where vegetables, herbs and 10 different types of chili peppers are grown. Additionally, a reverse-osmosis plant purifies drinking water, and an on-site nursery produces 60 percent of the plants used in local reforestation.
Yeatman Hotel, Portugal
This well-appointed wine-focused hotel in Oporto is not only a spectacular spot to spend a vacation; you can feel good knowing the Yeatman Hotel is doing its best to go green. Along with various efforts to reduce power consumption, low energy lighting is installed throughout the building, rain harvesting supplies water for sanitary use and garden irrigation, and preference is given to local sources of produce in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the Yeatman's supplies. Outside, the hotel's extensive gardens make up one of the few remaining green spaces in the central area of the city, and are managed as a refuge for rare and endangered local plant species and a haven for local and migratory birds.
Hilton Stockholm Slussen, Sweden
Green thinking starts with the staff at Hilton Stockholm Slussen. All team members receive sustainability training upon recruitment followed by an annual refresher. The property has also been certified with the Nordic Swan label (the most stringent environmental certification for hotels). The introduction of waste sorting and recycling into more than 20 fractions in 1996 decreased the quantity of waste sent to landfill by more than 75 percent in the first two years, and reached 90 percent by 2010. Bulk deliveries are prioritized and the supply cars run on renewable fuels. In April 2011, 60,000 bees moved into two beehives on the hotel roof where they are producing honey for use in the hotel's breakfast buffet providing a unique experience for guests. The hotel has always been powered with low-carbon intensive electricity and, as of 2010, only purchases environmentally certified water- and wind-generated electricity.
Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Eco-friendly practices are a top priority throughout this breathtaking resort with a focus on measures that protect open space, improve wildlife habitat and enhance local water quality. Terranea occupies only one-quarter of its 102-acre site, allowing guests to enjoy more than 75 acres of natural landscape. The resort employs natural irrigation and water treatment through a series of wet ponds and vegetated wetland channels called Bioswales, which enhance water quality and also serve as a habitat for native bird species. First flush rainfall collection systems also reduce and treat runoff of pollutants. Employee uniforms are made of bamboo or chemical free organic cotton, wool or hemp, and Terranea's sustainable growing philosophy incorporates seasonal dining menus that feature local ingredients and organic, freshly picked produce and herbs from the chef's garden.
Çırağan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul
A former Ottoman Palace on the shores of Istanbul's beautiful Bosphorous Strait, the Çırağan Palace Kempinski is as dedicated to protecting the environment as they are to providing guests a five-star experience. A tri-generation unit and seawater cooling system produce electricity and heating and cooling at the same time by burning natural gas. This means that the hotel doesn't consume any energy and reduces CO2 emission as much as possible. The first of each month is known as "Green Day" when staff work together to clean and collect garbage within the premises of the property. The hotel also planted 1,000 seeds in an area of Istanbul called "Gümüşdere" which was completely barren in 2002.
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