Sometimes when you’re traveling, just can’t help it – you need easy and fast when it comes to where you lay your head. And sometimes it isn’t even up to you where you stay. But when it is in your hands and you have a little time to do some research on the town you’re staying in and the options available to you, I’d encourage you (not that I need to!) to check out the more eco-friendly options available. Many of these may be locally-based, boutique-type hotels that will generally be more pricey (and I say, do it if you can!), but if you’re looking for something more fixed-price and standard, take a look at my roundup of the eight most green-friendly hotel chains in America.
Kimpton Hotels are a smaller chain but still offer many locations throughout the U.S. Budget-friendly, the boutique spots include rooms optimized for energy and water conservation and restaurants with locally sourced food and beverages. They also print everything on post-consumer recycled paper, and some of the locations also feature an on-site organic garden. (Read more here!)
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Hyatt started making big leaps a few years back, and have really stepped it up in their green efforts since then. Their shampoo bottles and lotion containers are made from 100% recycled plastics, while their North American key cards are 50% recycled. Their spot on the island of Kauai in Hawaii has an 18,500 square foot solar panel over the parking lot roof. Their location in Seattle was the first of the local hotels to be LEED-certified, sealing its leadership in energy and environmental design. It sports eco-friendly dining and an eco spa with yoga.
Photo Credit: Hyatt.com
We know what you’re thinking – how can one of the more discount hotel chains be providing top green benefits? Well, the Best Western located in the Spokane, WA airport is an environmentally conscious spot. It sports water-efficient toilets and showerheads, a linen reuse program, non-toxic cleaning chemicals and waste saving techniques.
Photo Credit: BestWestern.com
The Fairmont is pretty luxurious, and now that luxury comes with the Green Partnership Program, which functions as a plan in which guests can focus on energy and water conservation, waste management, and responsible purchasing. They have also developed a Climate Change Strategy that contains activity packages that help raise happy planet awareness.
Photo Credit: Cat Wendt
The Beacon Hotel (part of InterContinental) offers eco-friendly practices such as optional linen service (sheets and towels are changed at the end of the stay) and a program where guests can recycle. If you’re headed to NYC, check out the amenities at the Barclay branch!
Photo Credit: InterContinentalBarclay.com
It’s helpful to note that one of the most well-known hotel chains – the Marriott – is heavily participating in green-forward thinking. They have won many awards for becoming greener over the years (such as the EPA’s Sustained Excellence award) and offer an opportunity to purchase carbon offsets (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) every time you book a stay. Fun fact? Your Marriott pillow is probably made from recycled plastic bottles!
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Starwood, a relatively new hotel branch, is super green-friendly and has been right from their start. Designed eco from the ground up, they were the first chain to attempt getting LEED certification for all of their hotels. Element (Westin) has taken the lead here. Each space offers 100% recycled carpeting, saline pools, eco-friendly cleaners and recycling bins in all rooms. Best yet? All appliances are Energy Star certified.
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Our favorite thing about the Wyndham hotel chains is that the staff are provided with ecologically-friendly uniforms made with recycled plastics. They were also honored by the Lodging Hospitality magazine for environmental action, as their uniforms do not require professional laundering (a huge cost and energy saver). Unique, indeed!
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Another major hotel chain going green is the Hilton. The Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Town Center has adopted programs and procedures that have helped out with the green hotel growth by instating energy-efficient light bulbs, equipment and appliances for recycling and using recycled materials. They also serve eco-friendly foods and donate to charity.
Photo Credit: Hilton.com