How to choose an eco friendly hotel

Choosing a hotel is easier than ever, but it's not always that easy to find one that's consciously eco friendly. Of course, sometimes simply going small, local and independent will do the trick, but for those of us wanting more solid proof of a hotel's ethics, here are some tips to point you in the right direction...

Arthur Hotels: the first carbon neutral hotel group

Having launched with a five point climate action plan that it has followed since 2008, Arthur Hotels is a family run boutique hotel group. They pay attention to everything from using low energy light bulbs, locally-sourced menus, linen reuse programmes and a fleet of bicycles, to a well building project they have in Africa.

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LEED Certification: hotels in eco friendly buildings

This is most widely used green building rating system in the world. To become an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building it needs to be mindful of waste management, design, construction and operations. It's not just hotels that can be LEED accredited, it's all kinds of companies, but you can search their directory for hotels that make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet. The information's a bit basic, but it's a good starting point.

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Oyster.com: been there, seen it, checked it out for you

The hotel booking site whose USP is that their team has personally been to each destination, has taken the LEED certification one step further and done the hard work for you in this handy list. They caveat that an LEED certification can cost hotels a lot of money to apply for, so you're generally only going to find those who can afford it listed, but useful nonetheless.

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Greenkey Global: eco friendly partnerships

Working with hotels to help them be more eco friendly, Greenkey Global is predominantly North America focused. They have been in the business of evaluating, certifying and working with hotels to improve their eco credentials for more than 20 years. The information on the site is, once again, limited for each hotel, but you can search and find a destination on their member's page for a helpful starting point.

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Green Globe - California standards

For an international reach, Green Globe has members in over 90 countries worldwide, and a really easily navigable site. They provide certification and training for hotels from their base in California.  Again, while it doesn't give much information about what each hotel does by way of ecotourism, to be a member they have to adhere to certain criteria - more of that on their website.

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Pick up the phone

While it might surprise us given the amount of general PR that brands do, not all big businesses shout that loudly about their eco credentials. Starwood and Wyndham hotels for example, don't shout loudly about their sustainable approach to food practices where smaller hotels are generally better at publicising their own veg gardens or farm to fork approaches.  

Others you might find interesting include:

  • Marriott Hotels have a number of LEED certified properties.
  • Hyatt Regency properties around the world including Sarasota, Perth, Kathmandu and Sharm El Sheikh, offer free shuttles to the airport and around town so you can go car free.
  • The Langham in Auckland has its own rooftop beehive.
  • The Talbott Hotel in Chicago and the Lenox Hotel in Boston both invite travellers to offset their trip by purchasing carbon credits which deliver funding to wind farms and reforestation projects.

So once you have an inkling of where you want to go it's a good idea to pick up the phone and ask a few questions.



Harry Williams

Harry Williams

Product person, design devotee, travel lover.