A Green Focus

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For clients who want to green their vacations, we’ve handpicked a few destinations and new hotels that try and stay true to Mother Nature’s original plan.

Nature’s Bounty In Central America, Belize offers nature enthusiasts a world full of lush jungles, pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs. In fact, 40 percent of the country is under some form of protection and 66 percent of it is still forested. Birdwatchers here will feel as if they’ve hit the jackpot as they explore a country with over 600 species of birds; it’s been said, that viewers can easily spot upwards of 50 species in a single outing. For more active pursuits, there’s cave tubing down rivers and through limestone caves, or even caving, with visitors investigating stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as pottery shards of ancient Maya civilizations. Or, recommend clients go hiking along reserves and sanctuaries, as well as kayaking among caves or along the rivers.

One of the best places in this country to take the green experience to the next level is at the Small Luxury Hotels of the World member, the Ka’ana Boutique Resort & Spa, in San Ignacio. The resort’s mandate is to ensure that its development and growth is a positive experience for the local environment, its people and its visitors. With that in mind, it offers an Experiential package that allows guests to climb the tallest peak in the Cockscomb Basin Mountain Range, travel through the underworld of the Maya, taste the cuisine of multiple cultures, and explore the healing rituals of an ancient past with Belize’s last Mayan shaman. Call for rates.

For more information on Belize, visit travelbelize.org. For more information on Ka’ana Boutique Resort & Spa, call (800) 525-4800 or visit slh.com/kaanabelize. When booking, use GDS code LX.

The Atlantic Canada’s four provinces—New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island—hold a treasure trove of their own, albeit a world apart from Belize. Here, nature is most definitely still boss—from the warm waters of New Brunswick and the dramatic coastline of Nova Scotia, to the whales and icebergs off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador and the rolling countryside of Prince Edward Island. In the Bay of Fundy, for instance, visitors can look out for 12 species of whales, while in Stonehammer, North America’s first geopark, they can explore rock formations that date back a billion years along with sea caves and walking trails, part of UNESCO’s Global Network. Or, visitors can take a canoe trip through North America’s largest tern colony (7,000 nests) in Kouchibouguac National Park, then drive along the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador, home to thousands of puffins gathered on the shore.

A good base to call home is The Fairmont Algonquin, in New Brunswick, as Fairmont—named one of Canada’s “Greenest Employers” for 2010—offers a pioneering environmental program launched close to two decades ago that focuses on responsible tourism practices and sustainable hotel management. Overlooking the historic Passamaquoddy Bay, this Tudor-style “castle by the sea” is offering a Green the Earth package, available through Sept. 30, which gives guests the opportunity to experience the beautiful flora and fauna of Kingsbrae Garden, donate to Trees Canada to have two trees planted, and a purchase on their behalf to Climate Friendly, equal to a 1 ton carbon offset credit. Rates start at $189 per night dbl.

For more information on Atlantic Canada, visit tourismnewbrunswick.canovascotia.comnewfoundlandlabrador.com; or tourismpei.com. For more information on The Fairmont Algonquin, call (866) 540-4403 or visit fairmont.com/algonquin.

New Green Hotels Make for Sustainable Destinations Adding to the greening of destinations are the addition of new green hotels, including a new Four Points by Sheraton in Tallahassee that is expected to become the brand’s first LEED-certified property. Opening in the summer of 2011, the 164-room Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown, says Paul Sacco, sr. v.p. of North American development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., “is a great example of a successful conversion property that is incorporating leading-edge green standards into its operations.” The hotel is also working toward earning certification from Florida’s Green Lodging Association. For more information, visit starwoodhotels.com.

In Singapore, the PARKROYAL on Pickering will be one of Asia’s greenest hotels when it opens in 2012, with a hotel-in-a-garden concept and sustainable features that have earned it a Green Mark Platinum score, the nation’s highest green rating. Key green features include rainwater harvesting, automatic sensors to regulate energy and water usage, and solar cells that will power landscape lighting. The property will boast approximately 161,460 sq. ft. of skygardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and green walls. The property will be located at the key gateway into the Central Business District and the Raffles Place financial hub. For more information, visit pphg.com/pr_pphg_pickering.html.