With Earth Day (April 22) right around the corner and sustainable travel a major trend of 2018, here is a roundup of the best eco-friendly hotels and resorts to visit this year. Whether it’s a luxury tropical island resort, a wine country getaway, a Western Colorado discovery resort, a mountain lodge in a U.S. National Park, or a hotel in one of America’s most environmentally-friendly cities, traveling sustainably has no geographic boundaries and should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list for 2018.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
A pioneer in eco-tourism, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji was one of the world’s first eco-luxury hotels. All of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort’s operations and management practices are guided first and foremost by consideration for the environment, and the resort creates an incredible opportunity for travelers to visit, experience and support the region’s efforts to preserve its beauty for generations to come, while enjoying it for themselves.
Sustainability and preservation are at the heart of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, which – along with Jean-Michel Cousteau himself – has taken a leadership role in sustainable initiatives in the South Pacific. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort was the first resort in Fiji to recycle paper and plastic and in the process, set up a recycling program for the entire town of Savusavu. It uses a water reclamation plant to service the resort (masquerading as attractive lagoons festooned with flowers), and relies on traditional Fijian construction of its bures to reduce environmental impact and eliminate the need for air-conditioning. The resort strictly abides by sustainable fishing and agricultural practices, and all herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables the resort uses are locally-sourced. The resort has also developed a coral farm to aid reef regeneration, utilizing local corals that have been broken naturally from the parent colony.
Fiji is one of the few places in the world to still have a pristine underwater ecosystem, which plays an important role in the globe’s overall adaptability to climate change as a blue carbon sink. This also makes it one of the most stunning, untouched island destinations for global travelers to experience.
h2hotel offers the perfect setting for a rejuvenating and eco-friendly getaway. The hotel meshes a top-shelf wine country experience with LEED-Gold certified hotel enhancements and amenities including a living roof planted with succulents and guestrooms outfitted with eco-friendly furnishings like sustainable bamboo floors and organic cotton bed linens. All rooms feature garden or town views, king beds that convert to two twin beds, balconies or patios, glass walk-in showers, flat-panel HD televisions, all-natural bath products made from local, organic ingredients and luxurious organic linens and robes.
In addition, guests of h2hotel enjoy a solar-heated Creekside pool and complimentary Dutch cruising bicycles with an on-site bike storage cube and service station. Spa treatments include seasonally-themed massages, facials or body treatments that combine biodynamic and organically grown herbs and flowers with local ingredients. Guests won’t need a car during their stay, as the hotel is within walking distance to world-class restaurants, cafes, wine tasting rooms, locally-owned shops and art galleries around the historic Healdsburg Plaza.
Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa
Edging the Colorado/Utah border and cradled in the shadow of the Palisade rock formation, Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is the world’s first and only discovery resort, created to nourish guests’ curiosity through the art of discovery and adventure within a naturally intriguing environment. Paying tribute to the native architecture that is indigenous to the area, the resort was designed with both Anasazi architectural influences and sustainability in mind, aiming to have as little impact on the environment as possible.
The Kiva Lodge, one of the property’s luxury accommodation options, is heated and cooled via geothermal heat pumps that produce their heating and cooling through heat exchangers located in the irrigation pond nearby. The domestic hot water is heated by solar tubes located above the lobby. Capable of hosting large meetings, events and weddings, the resort’s Palisade Event Center is a LEED Certified Building, and the structure’s fascia stone was quarried, cut and fitted into place on-site, eliminating production and trucking of the material.
Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is proud of its many eco-friendly maintenance initiatives, including a recycling program, automatic lighting controls, daylight sensors and occupancy sensors, instant water heaters, smart irrigation controls, keycard master switches, battery, lamp and electronic recycling, and more.
Taking advantage of its location, the resort offers a wide variety of excursions such as mountain biking, fly fishing, helicopter air tours, UTV rides, laser tag, archery, skeet shooting, hiking, climbing and rappelling, horseback riding, off-road tours, and luxury automobile rentals through its Driven Experiences program.
Hotel Terra Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole, WY
With an ideal slope-side location in the heart of Teton Village and nestled against the base of Grand Teton National Park and a short 60-mile drive to Yellowstone National Park, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is the perfect setting for skiing/snowboarding Jackson Hole’s famed terrain and exploring the nearby national parks. Voted Jackson’s “Best Hotel” three years in a row by Planet Jackson Hole, Hotel Terra offers boutique luxury accommodations with 132 rooms and suites, 4,500 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, and rooftop spa with an infinity pool, hot tub and breathtaking views, as well as gourmet dining from celebrated local chefs.
As Wyoming’s first LEED Silver-certified property, Hotel Terra is committed to creating a luxury experience within an eco-friendly environment. A couple of ways Hotel Terra maintains a green atmosphere is by using recycled steel, natural and organic mattresses and aluminum water bottles. Hotel Terra also reduces greenhouse gases by using fluorescent light bulbs in a majority of fixtures, which use 75 percent less energy, and all power at the hotel is offset with the purchase of solar, hydro and wind energy. Windows are Energy Star approved and extremely efficient in keeping the heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer, reducing the need for excessive and supplemental heating and cooling.
San Francisco, CA
The Argonaut Hotel, an award-winning boutique hotel in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, recently announced it has been named an SF Green Business by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, as a result of its efforts to implement comprehensive eco-friendly initiatives at the hotel and its popular Blue Mermaid Restaurant & Bar. As one of San Francisco’s most historic hotels, the Argonaut is one of San Francisco most iconic hotels leading the charge on ‘going green’.
Over the past year, the hotel implemented extensive eco-friendly practices throughout the property, including completing a 100% retrofit to LED lighting, converting and is also employs a committed recycling champion dedicated to ensuring that all garbage is recycled properly, switching to water-saving systems and refillable bathroom amenities and using environmentally-friendly cleaning products. The restaurant’s signature dishes are all prepared in an Earth-friendly fashion according to sustainable fisheries guidelines, and grease is recycled from the kitchen to create biofuel and compost.
W San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
W San Francisco, the quintessential urban luxury hotel in the heart of the city’s cultural SOMA district, is a leader of sustainable initiatives and the first LEED-EB Platinum certified building in North America., and the first Starwood and W property to secure this highly coveted distinction. Significant initiatives have been implemented over the years in managing energy, conserving water, recycling and waste reduction, and improving air quality, while a continued dedication to the Whatever/Whenever® service provides a luxurious experience for hotel guests.
Among the sustainability steps taken at W San Francisco – which are designed to never hinder the sensory experience or chic atmosphere of the hotel – more than 70-percent of guestroom lighting and 90-percent of back-of-house lighting is energy efficient, using CFLs, LEDs, motion sensors, and other key technologies; the hotel’s HVAC cooling towers are energy-efficient models, saving 300 KWH a year; motion sensors power off HVAC in unoccupied guestrooms; and each computer within the hotel powers off automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Additionally, W San Francisco harvests beehives and an Aquaponics system, an enclosed eco-system that has fish on the bottom and hydroponically grown plants/flowers on top, on the hotel’s rooftop. The honey produced from the hives (and flowers grown from the Aquaponics) are used in several dishes and cocktails at the hotel.
Hotel Zoe Fisherman’s Wharf
San Francisco, CA
Following a multi-million dollar re-imagination by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust inspired by the luxurious yachts found in exotic ports across the globe, Hotel Zoe debuts as San Francisco’s newest sophisticated Fisherman’s Wharf hotel, offering guests a whimsical and authentic hospitality experience for the wanderlust globetrotter. The comprehensive hotel redevelopment includes a full-service lobby bar named Bar Zoe, room refurbishments and upgrades and redesigned meeting and event spaces. Additionally, Hotel Zoe boasts 221 guestrooms – including 10 suites and two specialty suites. Pescatore, a modern Italian trattoria adjoining the hotel, is also a 1,950 square feet of usable meeting space. Zoe is the traveler you are, want to be and one day will hopefully become.
Hotel Zoe sustainability program details:
- Hotel Zoe has a “chose to conserve” program that allows our guests to opt-out of housekeeping service for a $5 a day hotel credit towards their bill at check out
- Our staff hand sorts all trash that comes through the hotel to ensure that recycling measures are being followed
- All printed supplies are printed on 50 percent recycled paper
- Energy STAR appliances and equipment are used throughout the hotel and restaurant
- Sensors are put on vending machines and other lighting fixtures to reduce energy
- The hotel utilizes sink aerators that do not exceed 0.5 gpm (gallons per mile) flow in all guest rooms, toilets flushing greater than 1.6 gallons with toilets that use 1.28 gallons or less and showerheads that meet federal EPA WaterSense criteria of 2.0 gpm or less, or up to 2.5 gpm
- The hotel participates in the spare the air program and are also a part the emergency ride home program
- EPEAT certified computers, laptops and monitors are used throughout the property
- All chemicals used in the hotel are eco-friendly