As you plan your travels for 2009, make a New Year’s resolution to green up your accommodations. It’s easy, and you’ll be inspired by the wide range of ways the hospitality industry is seeking to lessen its impact on the planet while making your stay more comfortable than ever.
From large international chains to unique small inns in out-of-the-way places, proprietors are implementing innovative means to care for the environment that go far beyond simply re-using bath towels.
The 14-room Hotel Floyd , for instance, located in Blue Ridge Country along Virginia’s heritage music trail, the “Crooked Road,” features an impressive list of eco-conscious design elements. Renewable geothermal energy is used for heating and cooling. Floors are made of bamboo, which requires nominal fertilizers or pesticides to grow and is harvested in just three years, versus decades for hardwood trees. Paint is certified “GreenSure,” to maximize indoor air quality. Toilets and shower heads use low-flow technology to conserve water. Even the soaps are made from all-natural ingredients.
On a much larger scale, hotels like the Grand Hyatt in New York City are also minimizing their environmental impact through practices like gray-water recycling, composting organic disposables, using non-toxic cleaning products, and providing recycling bins for guests.
Several clearinghouse websites exist to locate and research green accommodations. Check these out, for starters. Some include travelers’ comments, too.
Best Green Hotels, which also features a ratings system that measures a property’s “greenness” according to a full slate of environmentally practices.
Stay tuned for a post later in January on Green Beach Getaways. For now, Happy New Year, at home or wherever your travels take you.