Hotel of the Week: Earth Day and How Resorts are Getting Green

Portland, Maine

I was in Portland Maine recently …cute little town…progressive…still lots of mom and pop establishments surviving and very few chains downtown. That strong-willed spirit carried over to the nearby resort where I stayed: Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth.

Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

I was impressed by the care the hotel went to in it’s recent renovation to be eco-friendly.

Perhaps it is the beautiful environment that motivated the green growth…. it is set right near the water, walking distance from a cute private beach.

But here are some of the advancements made by the hotel:

Solar panels, recycled sheet rock walls, recycled cork floors, recycled rubber floors, dual flush toilets, heating with bio fuels, preferred hybrid parking, sheet and towel reuse programs & purchasing renewable electricity are just a few of the green initiatives and design features which helped the Inn by the Sea achieve a SILVER LEED® and Maine’s Green Lodging certifications.

And I loved the fact that when I ate in the beautiful dining room or on the deck, I knew the seafood on my plate was locally caught…the produce was from local farms..and even some cheese I tasted at an event in the lobby was made by a local farm. You could tell – it was all fresh and delicious, and sustainable.

I am starting to see a lot of hotels offering linen re-use options, local and organic cooking, green lighting and construction. The one EASY thing I don’t see often is in-room recycling, But the hotels below go above the bare minimum to be green:

Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, Teton Village, Wyoming – Average Nightly Rate: $371

Eco-friendly elements abound in the Hotel Terra, literally from floor (environmentally-friendly carpets) to ceiling (recycled roof shingles). And the design is still fantastic.

Organic linens, low-flow toilets and solar-powered faucets can also be found in guest rooms, and even relaxation is green here, with organic spa products, and 100 percent natural mattresses made from recycled and organic materials.

Green doesn’t have to mean roughing it – this is an example of eco-luxury.

The Ambrose Hotel, Santa Monica, California – Average Nightly Rate: $242

Ambrose Hotel, Santa Monica

The first hotel in the U.S. to receive the United States Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification, the Ambrose Hotel has put green practices in place all over the property, including composting, cleaning guest rooms with eco-friendly products, and recycling.

Ambrose Hotel

Alaska’s Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Homer, Alaska – Average Nightly Rate: $300

Sadie Cove WIlderness Lodge, Alaska

If you go to Alaska, try to stay in a wilderness lodge – cruises aren’t the only way to see the splendors of the Last Frontier. Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge is only accessible by boat, floatplane, or helicopter. It is  built from local and reused materials.  Water to the lodge comes from a mountain stream, and along with the usual  recycling and energy-efficient lighting, the lodge gets cute and creative by planting a tree for each guest to offset carbon emissions.

Trust me when I say you will be up close and personal with the Alaska wilderness here.

Hotel Monaco Seattle – a Kimpton Hotel, Seattle, Washington – Average Nightly Rate: $344

Hotel Monaco, Seattle

The Hotel Monaco brings green to an urban setting with a variety of eco-friendly programs, such as donating unused toiletry bottles to local charities rather than throwing them away, and using recycled paper at the hotel. In your guest room you will find  recycling bins,which is refreshing – that is so easy to do – why  don’t more hotels do it?? There are also  low-flow toilets, faucets and showers, and organic coffee and snacks.

Like most Kimpton hotels, there are special touches  – Great design …and travelers can feel closer to nature with a pet goldfish available for free from the hotel for the duration of their stay.

You might also like:

Hotel of the Week: Laid Back, Old Fashioned, Family Retreat where Lighthouses and Lobster Abound.

Earthweek 2010: How one hotel took great strides to go green.

A Quintessential East Coast Outing Fantastic For Kids This Labor Day

Hotel of the Week: Scooooore with a novel hotel in South Africa…
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  • Rauni Kew

    Hi Tracey
    Thanks for thinking of Inn by the Sea on Earth Day! A lot has gone on since you were here (just as Irene came through-!) In November we cleared over 2 acres of invasive plants including bamboo and bittersweet from the bird sanctuary and re planted with local plants suitable for habitat restoration for the endangered New England cottontail rabbit. We worked with the Parks Department , the Crescent Beach State Park and the Department of Conservation- We have replanted now and in a year or two we hope to have habitat perfect for the survival of these endangered bunnies- there are close to 100 living in the woods near us, (we have gone out and tracked them with wardens, and rangers have collected dna for over 89 differnt bunnies) but they are rapidly disapearing due to lack of suitable habitat. Hopefully this new “rabitat” will help bring them back to healthy numbers.

    Re your question on recycling in room- Inn by the Sea does have blue recycling bins in every room- but many green hotels have single stream waste management systems so the room materials may be separated for recycling down the line.

    You’ll have to return to see how the bunnies are doing in a year or so! Many thanks for the great round up of green hotels!
    Best wishes, rauni

    Rauni Kew- Inn by the Sea