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Hotels We Love:
Green is the New Black

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.

Hotel Companies That Deserve Your Greenbacks

Kimpton Hotels ( 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 (, 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, more than 200 hotel projects are now registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Marriott Hotels ( 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 ( 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'sTop 10 eco-friendly hotels.

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