Hotels Making "Green" Strides

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With environmental concern on the rise, hotels and resorts around the world are making strides toward more environmentally friendly travel. In fact, more properties are working on improving their ecological stewardship and social responsibility to receive recognition as a “green” property. Here’s a look at several hotels and resorts that are making green efforts.

We start in the southwestern U.S. with Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque, NM, which recently announced it has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)—LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“The hotel underwent a $30 million renovation in 2009 with an eye on sustainability,” says Gary Goodman, the hotel’s owner.

The Hotel Andaluz’s LEED certification was based on a number of design and construction features that have a positive impact on the environment. For instance, it uses less energy by utilizing solar-heated water and has implemented LED lighting and high-performance windows. In addition, the property also started a comprehensive recycling program that recycles cardboard, plastic, metal and all food waste, as well as reducing its water usage by over 45 percent.

Currently, Hotel Andaluz is offering a Save Some Green By Driving Green package, available for guests who drive or rent a hybrid vehicle to get to the hotel. The package includes Premier King guestroom accommodations, 20 percent off food and beverage at the hotel, a locally grown organic amenity upon arrival and complimentary valet parking. Rates run $189 per night. For more information, visit hotelandaluz.com.

Over in California, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles has earned the USGB’s LEED Silver certification.

“This building represents what is great about Los Angeles,” says Lance Williams, executive director, USGBC-LA. “…the perfect intersection of sophistication and sustainability.”

Set on 2.5 acres of land in the heart of downtown L.A., the 54-floor property features 123 guestrooms and suites, the WP24 Restaurant & Lounge by Wolfgang Puck, 224 private residences and the 8,000-sq.-ft Ritz-Carlton Spa.

In addition to its proximity to several city transit stations, other features that qualified the hotel for LEED certification include energy-efficient windows, cool roof installation, low-voltage organic compound material to reduce air toxins and recycling areas on every floor. For rates and additional information, visit ritzcarlton.com.

Another California hotel recently recognized for its green efforts is the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, located in Cabazon. Earlier this year, the 310-room property was awarded a 4 Green Keys rating by the Green Key Eco-Rating program, a graduated rating system designed to recognize hotels that are committed to improving their environmental and fiscal performance.

“As one of the largest tribal gaming facilities in the country we strive to implement green initiatives that will have a positive impact on the planet,” says Thomas Mueller, director of hotel operations, Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. The Green Key rating consists of nine areas of sustainable hotel operations, including energy and water conservation.

Nightly rates at Morongo start at $99 per night. For more information, visit morongocasinoresort.com.

In Miami, FL, meanwhile, The Setai in South Beach, became one of six Leading Hotels of the World to achieve the Luxury Eco Certification Standard (LECS). Through the efforts of The Setai’s Green Team, the hotel passed an inspection by Sustainable Travel International (STI) to receive the recognition.

The hotel’s Green Team is in charge of the property’s eco practices and efforts to reduce the hotel’s impact on the local and global environment by minimizing energy consumption and conserving water.

Through Oct. 31, The Setai has a Fourth Night Free offer when guests book a 3-night stay. Rates start at $550 per night. For more information, visit setai.com.

Travelers looking for green-friendly accommodations in the Caribbean can check out The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas in Grenada. Earlier this year, the property’s environmental practices were recognized by EarthCheck, one of the world’s leading sustainable travel and tourism certification organizations.

To achieve EarthCheck certification, the property had to meet several requirements in energy and water consumption, total waste production and commitment to the local community.

Situated on the southern end of Grand Anse Beach, the property features 61 guestrooms, The Beachside Terrace restaurant, a sports bar, gym, pool and wedding gazebo. For more information, including nightly rates, visit flamboyant.com.