8 Eco-Friendly Summer Vacation Getaways
Summer is slowly slipping away, so if you haven’t planned your vacation getaway yet – the eco-friendly hotels and other lodging listed below may help you take a step in the right direction. Doesn’t a bamboo hut situated in a tropical setting sound heavenly? What about staying in a hotel dedicated to a favorite late-night indulgence? Orchard Garden Hotel (San Francisco, California) When planning a trip to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge or enjoy a natural boost of energy at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco offers an array of attractions and activities to keep you busy. However, when it's time to recuperate, where will you lay your head? LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program, the Orchard Garden Hotel provides a relaxing. modern luxury stay for the eco-traveler. Embracing organic and recycled materials, the hotel foregoes toxic paints, glues and varnishes; uses energy-efficient lighting; and supports Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Hotelito Desconocido (Jalisco, Mexico) Instead of wasting electricity, Hotelito Desconocido chooses to light up your vacation stay with solar power and candles. Rooms offer distinct bamboo, palm leaf, and clay huts situated in a protected wetland estuary that provides gorgeous views of the Pacific. Outside of your room, take a stroll through the tropical gardens; enjoy a leisurely tour on horseback; or take advantage of surrounding waters with kayaking, fishing, rowing, and windsurfing. Habitat Suites (Austin, Texas) The BBQ isn’t the only thing attracting tourists to Austin, Texas. Habitat Suites have been a proud member of the Green Hotels Association since 1991. From using ladybugs as a natural pesticide to putting cooling shade trees to good use, this hotel has won over eco-minded guests for many years. Other highlights of Habitat Suites include courtyard swimming pool; hot breakfast buffet with vegan and vegetarian selections; and a luxurious garden filled with flowers, trees, and butterflies. Gaia Napa (American Canyon, California) The Gaia has been utilizing recycled materials and supporting low-energy options since it opened in 2007. Don't think that going green means that your luxury stay suffers. Guests often indulge in the spa, take a dip in the heated outdoor salt water pool, and freshen up in restrooms constructed with recycled tiles and granite. This hotel is certainly proud to hold the title as the 'First Fully Environmentally Sustainable Hotel and Spa' in Napa Valley. Additional highlights of the hotel include recycled carpet content and low-emission paint. Zion Lodge (Zion, Utah) Surrounded by 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, and endless plants and animals, the Zion Lodge is nestled inside the Zion National Park – the perfect summer vacation for nature lovers. Step into one of Zion's Green Suites and you're treated to luxury sustainable features that include bamboo floors, recycled carpet content, organic linens, and convenient key card lighting controls. It's no wonder that the Zion Lodge has won a Sustainable Hotel of the Year Award. Looking for an exciting winter getaway? Open year-round, don't forget to check out special winter rates and packages offered at Zion Lodge from December through mid-March. Other eco-friendly hotels to consider include:
- 70 Park Avenue (New York City) – With the EarthCare eco-program, kitchen oil is transformed into biodiesel, hybrid drivers enjoy discounts, and an eco-concierge is ready and willing to make your stay unforgettable.
- Hotel Triton (San Francisco, California) – What started as just one eco-floor in the 1990s has expanded to all floors since 2003. Designer celebrity suites include Haagen-Dazs "Sweet Suite" (shown above) Kathy Griffin's D-List, and the J. Garcia Suite by Jerry Garcia.
- Hilton (Vancouver, Washington) – Situated just over the bridge from Portland, Oregon, this Hilton recycles 75% construction waste, offers refueling stations for electric cars, supports water conservation, uses less energy, and provides eco-friendly dining at Gray's at the Park.