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According to the International Ecotourism Society, more than two-thirds of U.S. travelers consider "active protection of the environment, including support of local communities," to be part of a hotel's responsibility, while 70% would pay a premium to stay at a hotel with "a responsible environmental attitude." With such consumer passions as their guide, luxury hotels and resorts are going green with programs and amenities that help protect the globe.

Here are examples of what the hospitality industry is doing to reduce their impact.

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has just become the FIRST "Green Certified" resort in Key West by the Florida Green Lodging Program, and has received "1 Palm" status. To achieve this designation, Hyatt Key West represents best management practices of water conservation, energy efficiency, and clean air. They also formed a "Green Team" and operate in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. The hotel's new Jala Spa, part of their resort-wide redesign, was a major aspect in the hotel's certification; designed with all-natural products, the Spa donates $5 to the Reef Relief Organization with each Signature "Jala Blue" treatment purchased.

Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons per year thanks to an innovative heat pump system. The ecologically sensitive heat pump is a cooperative effort between Badrutt's Palace Hotel and Zurich's "EWZ" power station. Water from Lake St. Moritz serves as the heat source for the hotel's heat pump system as well as that of a neighboring school, but the heat pump has no negative effect on the lake's flora and fauna. With the new energy-efficient heat pump, Badrutt's Palace Hotel saves 400,000 liters of heating oil per season -- a reduction of 80% annually over the previous heating system.

South Africa intends to hold the greenest World Cup ever, and to set a precedent for future events in terms of low-environmental impact and a positive social and economic legacy. This is the aim of Green Goal 2010, a joint business plan of the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town. Green Goal 2010 will involve assuring that the World Cup's impact on the environment is minimized, permanent infrastructure for the event leaves a positive legacy, and offsetting occurs through suitable carbon-savings projects around the country.

In a city that is growing exponentially, The Grand Hyatt Dubai is committed to growing responsibly. The hotel has converted its diesel oil-fired water heating system to an eco-friendly solar paneled system to reduce its own carbon emissions. The solar panels produce up to one kilowatt of energy per hour and the plant as a whole will produce 800 to 1,000 kilowatts of energy per hour. The entire project is projected to pay for itself in three years. In addition to installing the panels, the hotel has made a concerted effort to minimize water usage and has already cut their consumption by 120,000 gallons a day.

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, a private island off the coast of Antigua is taking strides to becoming a completely eco-friendly private island. With no cars, Jumby Bay's guests navigate the lush landscape on colorful Calloi Bicycles. Jumby Bay is also home to the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Program, the longest-running privately funded project of this kind, focused on the scientific study of the survival and recovery of Hawksbill Turtles. In addition to the island's renowned preservation program, including solar water heating systems and water purifying for plant irrigation, Jumby Bay has a redesigned power station to minimize fuel consumption, and the recycling of bottles, cans, and golf cart batteries.

Can Mongolia, Bhutan and Tibet benefit from an ecologically based and sustainable approach to tourism? Nomadic Expeditions thinks so. The pioneering purveyor of authentic cultural travel goes out of its way to minimize the impact on the environment it explores, to promote awareness of conservation and sustainable tourism, and to provide ongoing training for guides and drivers so that trip participants can receive the latest environmental information. Through arrangements with local farmers, Nomadic Expeditions' Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert ( was forged through a cooperative agreement with local authorities for sustainable development and conservation. The property utilizes renewable energy resources, including solar and wind power.

Eco-savvy travelers can now enjoy luxury, style and a commitment to sustainability when they visit two premier hotels. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Lexus are partnering to unveil two "Lexus Hybrid Living Suites" geared for eco-conscious visitors, with the first to launch at The Fairmont San Francisco, followed by The Fairmont Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Earth Day 2008.

Guests can sleep, eat and drink sustainably in these unique suites, with every aspect of the room meticulously planned for the eco-minded traveler, incorporating ideas and products from Lexus Hybrid Living partners ( Complimentary use of a Lexus LS 600h L awaits the Lexus Hybrid Living Suite visitor who wishes to explore the area in the comfort of a low-emission luxury car that spoils the driver, not the environment.

"Lexus has long been the leader in luxury hybrid vehicles, but we have extended our commitment to the sustainable lifestyle through Lexus Hybrid Living. It showcases people and products dedicated to minimizing their impact on the earth without sacrificing style and comfort," said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. "Our partnership with Fairmont helps Lexus bring that thought process to life with amazing eco-luxury suites in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C."

"Fairmont has truly been a pioneer in the responsible tourism arena, and it's now part of our DNA," said Jeff Senior, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. "Not only do we implement programs to reduce, reuse and recycle, but we look to be better neighbors in our communities through local initiatives. Partnerships with like-minded companies such as Lexus allow us to not only practice responsible operations but offer our guests stylish and sustainable experiences unique to our brand."

Famed eco-designer Kelly LaPlante, of LA's Kelly LaPlante Organic Interior Design (, is responsible for the design. Organic materials and rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo, have been used in the creation of the suite. Highlights of the décor include furniture by Kelly LaPlante and the Kenneth Cobonpue collection, eco-friendly fabrics by Q Collection, an organic mattress system by Suite Sleep, bedding by Coyuchi Organic, organic towels and robes by Nandina, environmentally friendly paint provided by Benjamin Moore Aura, and pillows and comforters by Sleep & Beyond. Lexus has installed a custom coffee table, designed by LaPlante, utilizing pieces of leather recycled from Lexus vehicles. Additionally, the designer worked with local antique dealers to secure select pieces of furniture that are both unique and sustainable by nature of their re-use.

The Lexus Hybrid Living Suite at The Fairmont San Francisco features wrap around windows offering guests postcard-worthy views of the city including the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Chinatown. The windows of the corner suite have been designed to allow natural light to stream in, reducing the need for artificial lighting and marrying sumptuous eco-friendly quarters with the beauty of the outdoor environment. All fixtures in the room utilize compact fluorescent lights, also found throughout the hotel's 591 newly renovated guestrooms and suites.

Guests in San Francisco and Washington will enjoy a Green Guide, as well as an audio podcast, during their stay. The guides recommend environmentally friendly activities in the destination, including suggested highlights found on the Lexus Hybrid Living website. From eco-friendly bath amenities to mini-bars stocked with local biodynamic wines, organic farmstead cheeses and other delicious treats from each region, the Lexus Hybrid Living Suite will provide an unforgettable taste of the "green life."

Now through December 30, 2008, guests at The Fairmont San Francisco can enjoy the Eco is the New Chic package featuring luxurious accommodations in the Lexus Hybrid Living Suite, use of the Lexus LS 600h L, complimentary parking and a bottle of organic wine upon arrival. The exclusive package is available for $869 plus tax per night. For more information, visit To book the Lexus Hybrid Living suite, please call 415-772-5147.

Hotel Indigo will celebrate Earth Day 2008 by announcing its partnership with Earth Share, a nationwide network of the country's most respected environmental and conservation organizations. It is the first partnership of this kind for the brand and will serve as the foundation of Hotel Indigo's commitment to the environment through implementation of sustainable building practices, hotel operating procedures, guest-engagement activities and community-related and charitable giving events.

"Hotel Indigo is beginning its journey of environmental commitment and is proud to have Earth Share's support in this first of many steps for the brand. Earth Share's member groups represent the most respected and responsible environmental and conservation organizations in the country - including the National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance and World Wildlife Fund," said Gayle Jett, Director, Brand Management, Hotel Indigo. "Hotel Indigo is proud to join this illustrious group as Earth Share's lodging partner."

The brand has made a 21-month commitment to help Earth Share raise money to support the organization's mission of environmental stewardship, and Earth Share will also assist in cultivating and amplifying Hotel Indigo's sustainability efforts through consumer and employee education.

Hotel Indigo's sustainability efforts include:

Developing forward-thinking environmental business practices such as a water and waste reduction programs, use of eco-friendly cleaning products, on-property recycling programs and the use of 100 percent biodegradable food-service containers

Increased involvement in community environmental initiatives through individual hotel activities

Expanding menu selections to include more natural and organic ingredients, partnering with suppliers who use natural ingredients with no additives or phosphates and encouraging hotels to buy locally when it makes sense

Enhancing the brand Web site to include information on Hotel Indigo's sustainability efforts and consumer action programs

"We were impressed by Hotel Indigo's mission to seek ways to give back to the communities where its properties reside," said Renny Perdue, Executive Vice President, Earth Share." "We are excited to support them in their journey of education and action to reduce the brand's impact on the environment."

The Hotel Indigo brand is expanding throughout North America, with 14 locations open and more than 60 under development, either in the pipeline or in final negotiation. For more information on Hotel Indigo, or to make reservations, please visit

About Hotel Indigo

The newest member of the IHG family, Hotel Indigo is the industry's first branded boutique hotel experience. Hotel Indigo artfully combines the conveniences and consistencies of a brand hotel with the design cache and service personality of a boutique at an affordable price. It is uniquely designed to appeal to guests who desire affordable luxury, personal service and an alternative to traditional hotels without sacrificing any of the business amenities they have come to expect. Renewal is the soul of Hotel Indigo's retail-inspired design concept - thoughtful changes that are made throughout the year to keep the hotel fresh. Guestrooms feature signature murals, area rugs, fluffy duvets and slipcovers that will change periodically, while public spaces will be transformed seasonally through changing aromas, music, artwork, murals and directional signage. From relaxed café dining to high-style rooms - Hotel Indigo creates an intriguing, warm and inviting environment for guests (

More about Earth Share

Earth Share supports a nationwide network of the country's most respected environmental and conservation organizations and offers a simple way to care for our health, water, air, land and wildlife. Earth Share's mission is to engage individuals and organizations in creating a healthy and sustainable environment. Earth Share is dedicated to supporting the vital state, national and international organizations working to protect the environment and our well-being every day. For more information, visit or send email to

One Environment. One Simple Way To Care For It.

Double Tree Teaching Kids

The ultimate game of environmental tag is spreading from state to state today as students kick-off a game of "Tree Tag" to celebrate the world's
oldest environmental holiday. Equipped with forest-green ribbons and eco-friendly tree tags in hand, 10,000 students in more than 150 communities will take part in a month-long initiative to raise awareness about the importance of trees through Doubletree Hotels' Teaching Kids to CARE(R) environmental education program. This spring initiative, created in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation(R), is appropriately themed Get to Know the Tree Next Door.

The tree-focused movement is taking root in the home state where Arbor Day began. Students from Grace Abbott Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska - the state where Arbor Day began - will participate in the first of many Great Community Tree Tag events. Students and teachers will work with team members from the Doubletree Hotel Omaha Downtown and Doubletree Guest Suites Omaha to "tag" the prominent trees on their school grounds and nearby neighborhood - tying on an eco-friendly tree tag that outlines unique facts behind each particular tree. This celebration is just a sample of the many community events that will take place as part of this nationwide environmental education campaign.

Now in its sixth year, the Teaching Kids to CARE spring initiative will help educate 10,000 elementary school students across the U.S. and Canada during the months of April and May about the important role trees play in our everyday lives and the many benefits they provide.

"There are so many children and adults today who simply pass by the natural beauty of trees that populate their communities every day, without understanding how important trees are to our everyday survival. Our Teaching Kids to CARE spring initiative not only immerses kids in nature, it teaches them how to creatively express their appreciation for trees and their role in the environment every day," said Dave Horton, senior vice president, brand management for Doubletree Hotels. "Everyone can identify with a game of tag... Doubletree just decided to have a little fun with it. By educating and instilling a caring attitude about the environment in children at a young age, we hope to make a positive impact for years to come."

Doubletree Hotels and the Arbor Day Foundation have worked together to develop lesson plans and education resources for participating schools and youth organizations to teach children about the various types of trees that live in their very own backyards and neighborhood parks. Using an official Tree Identification Guide from the Arbor Day Foundation, students will learn about a variety of local tree species and the methods and techniques that arborists use to identify trees across North America. In addition, they'll explore the importance of trees in the environment, functions of each part of a tree and fun facts surrounding some of the most unique trees in the world.

With tree lessons learned, creative imaginations and Tree Identification Guides in hand, kids will be appointed as "Official Arbor Ambassadors" to write their own "My Tree and Me" story to express why they care about trees and share their stories and learnings with their fellow students.

"The Doubletree Teaching Kids to CARE program will help thousands of kids learn about the value of trees - by actually identifying the ones that are important to them," said Kevin Sander, corporate marketing director for the Arbor Day Foundation. "As a result of this initiative, a whole new generation of children will truly understand their important role in enhancing and improving the sustainability of our earth's resources for years to come."

For more information about the unique commitment Doubletree is making towards environmental education and awareness programs, including the Doubletree Teaching Kids to CARE spring initiative

Green Stays

“Green” hotels are sprouting up all over, using their green-ness, eco-friendliness, and assorted varieties of organic shade grown coffees as a new way to lure visitors. Their sincerity to be kind to the Earth is often as thin as the newspaper slid under the door each morning. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, on the other hand, is not one to follow trends, but to make conscientious changes. I found their efforts to be more than sincere.

Fairmont is no “enviro-poseur.” Its “Green Teams” have been at work since 1990, when its Canadian resorts began the "Green Partnership," a chain-wide commitment to minimize environmental impact. Since the inception, the program has stretched to all of the hotel's locations worldwide, focusing on waste reduction, resource conservation, habitat and species protection and community connections.

Here are some amazing things I learned. Did you know that, on average, a typical hotel guest produces more than 2 lbs. of waste each day? Or, how about the fact that a single hotel room soaks up 218 gallons of water every day? Fairmont has written the book on sustainable practices in the lodging industry…literally. Their Green Partnership handbook is used today by hospitality companies around the world, who are trying to implement sustainable practices.

But with all of this “greening,” what has remained consistent is luxury of all the hotels and resorts. Most of the changes are not even visible to the guests. So, when you are brushing your teeth, know that the bathroom has been cleaned with biodegradable non-toxic cleaning products, the lights are shining via compact florescent bulbs and the toilets are low-flow. You can even choose to reuse those wet towels you left on the floor, if you wish. And, not all the changes are inside the hotels. The Fairmont's golf courses participate in the "Greening our Greens” program. Through this, the resorts have been able to minimize pesticide use and encourage local wildlife to roam freely on the greens. Just imagine lining up your putt as an elk struts on by!

Fairmont’s philosophy and mission is that luxury and eco-consciousness can co-exist beautifully. And co-exist they do in each and every one of its hotels and resorts all over the world. So play golf at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, wine taste at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, ski at the Fairmont Banff Springs, go on safari at the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club or lay on the beach at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. Or, just stay at a Fairmont hotel in any major city. Fairmont is doing its part for the environment in a huge way and we should too. Let’s see…supporting the environment by staying in a five star luxury hotel…hmmm…tough, but someone’s got to do it!

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