Green Getaways

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Guestrooms at Element New York Times Square West feature a sleek and contemporary design.


Planning a trip for the eco-conscious traveler? Here are a few “green” hotel digs they might enjoy.

New York
Travelers headed to New York City can add some eco-friendliness to their vacation with a stay at Element New York Times Square West. Located just a short walk from the theater district, this property by Element—a relatively new brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts—is all about helping the environment and is LEED certified, with recycled materials being used on the floors, carpets and even the artwork and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints for improved air quality.

The property—opened in November 2010—features 411 guestrooms boasting fully-equipped kitchenettes, ergonomic desks and chairs and complimentary Internet. Custom rain showerheads and The Westin Heavenly Bed add to the comforts.  A complimentary hot breakfast bar, hors d’oeuvres and beverages during a welcome reception held  four evenings each week are included in the nightly rate, while an impressive fitness center and a rooftop deck make the hotel a home-away-from-home for visitors. Guestrooms feature only king beds, but there are 71 guestrooms that connect to another room for families. Nightly rates start at $174. For more information, visit

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
has introduced its own take on farm-to-table dining, allowing hotel guests to pick fruit from one of the 42 citrus trees found throughout the property’s fruit orchard, which a chef then uses to prepare a seasonal fresh juice for the morning’s breakfast. The new opportunity will be available this fall, when the hotel’s budding orchard is set to produce Arizona oranges.

In its commitment to using foods grown on site, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is also home to a year-round chef’s garden producing dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary and fresh sage. The property also features its own spa herb garden, offering mint, lemongrass, rosemary and lavender plants. For more information, visit

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
has teamed up with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to offer a new electric vehicle (EV) rental program and charging station to be hosted by a hotel, for the Nissan Leaf EV. The program and charging station are located on property and are available exclusively for property guests.

“This is a chance for our customers to experience EV technology, whether it is for a quick test drive, a fuel-efficient rental or just to learn more about the new technology,” says Leonard Almalech, San Francisco v.p. and general manager of Enterprise.

EVs use no gasoline, and most can travel about 100 miles on a single charge, accommodating the travel habits of the daily commuter who drives an average of approximately 40 miles a day. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco guests are able to rent a Nissan Leaf for $90 per day.

The EV rental program is one of many environmental sustainability efforts implemented by Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.  Through the creation of the hotel’s Green Team, a collective of employees and managers across several departments, the hotel consistently maintains and expands a list of actionable green practices. To date, the property has implemented energy conservation practices, such as purchasing local and sustainable food, donating surplus food, and operating an in-room and property-wide recycling program. For more information, visit

South of the border, recommend a “green” getaway to Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort and Spa in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, which recently introduced 99 ecological rooms that feature both a modern design and ecologically conscious elements.

Designed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent, the rooms contribute to the preservation of the environment though functions such as ultra-efficient low energy air conditioning systems, solar water heating systems in place of gas water heaters, water recycling systems, internal LED lighting and furniture made of wood from certified forests

The all-inclusive resort offers environmentally focused activities including natural Mayan spa treatments, swimming in cenotes, eco-tours of the property and Magic Planet, a NASA-developed interactive program on climate change.

Nightly rates start at $572 dbl per night through October. For more information, visit