Hotels We Love: Green is the New Black

Sure, pretty much every hotel now alleges that it's some shade of green, but it takes more than a politely worded optional towel exchange and a low-flow shower to qualify as truly eco-friendly. Today's hip traveler doesn't just want to pack light; he or she wants to leave the lightest footprint.

BY

March 26 2008 11:00 PM ET

Hotel Companies That Deserve Your Greenbacks

Kimpton Hotels (www.kimptonhotels.com)
go way beyond optional linen replenishments and a
couple of token compact fluorescent bulbs in their 42
boutique properties. The properties feature in-room
recycling bins, LED lighting, non-toxic housekeeping
cleaning products, organic, shade-grown coffee in
rooms, and the bulk of their hotels offer discounts if
you arrive driving a hybrid. Kimpton's EarthCare
standards, which involve admirable efforts such as printing
every paper -- from menus to brochures -- on recycled paper
with soy-based ink, allow all Kimpton hotels to adhere
to standard environmentally friendly products and
practices.

At Fairmont
Hotels
(www.fairmont.com), the
pioneer of optional daily linen replenishment, front
desk computers run on wind-produced power and all
their California properties offer complimentary
parking for hybrid vehicles. Fairmont is on a third edition
of its publication The Green Partnership Guide and, as part
of its Eco-Friendly Cuisine commitment, offers
sustainable, locally sourced and organic products,
wherever possible. Fairmont Hotels really go out of
their way to be green: They offset carbon emissions, use
energy-efficient lighting and donate unused amenities
to local charities.

Whether a
building qualifies as green is judged by the U.S. Green
Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental
Design program (LEED). While just a handful of hotels
have full LEED-certified status, according to
GreenLodgingNews.com, more than 200 hotel projects are
now registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Marriott Hotels (www.marriott.com) has
been recognized for its IT energy conservation, IT
recycling and reductions of carbon emissions. Their
Inn and Conference Center at Bethseda, Md., was the
first hotel and conference center in the United States to
win LEED certification. In February 2008, Sofitel
Hotels (www.sofitel.com) became the first wind-powered
hotel chain in the United States.

A New Crop of Luxurious Accommodations with Consciences

Look out for the
sleek, new eco-chic Greenhouse 26 due to rise
and shine over New York City's Chelsea in spring 2008.
The 19-story, 28-room sliver of eco-conscious luxury will be
geothermally heated and cooled. Starwood's 1 Hotel
+ Residences
, the first of the luxury
eco-friendly global hotel brand, is due to open in
Seattle in late 2008, with properties in Mammoth Lakes,
Scottsdale, Ariz., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., scheduled to
follow.

Until they're
ready, you can still make everyone green with envy by
checking into one of The Out Traveler's Top
10 eco-friendly hotels
.

Tags: Travel

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