High-end hotels with a green conscience.
The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
—New York City
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy all but destroyed the partially completed structure of the original 1 Hotel situated along the East River waterfront. A blessing in disguise, perhaps, as the subsequent redesign pays homage to the power of nature, embracing all things “earth-friendly.” As much as 54 percent of all building materials used were reclaimed from local sources. The 10-story outpost runs entirely on wind power and also boasts a rainwater reclamation system that helps irrigate Brooklyn Bridge Park during the summer months. Filtered water flows from the bathroom taps with five-minute timers in the showers, reminding guests to conserve water. As the concept of eco-luxury travel gains ground, this pillar of sustainability meets all the needs of the green-conscious guest.
Though the Masaai Mara plays host to more than 100 camps and lodges within and around its borders, Olarro stands out for providing luxury accommodation while also emphasizing environmental preservation. Set in the Loita Hills, northeast of the Mara, the cluster of seven secluded cottages houses just 18 people at maximum capacity. Wind turbines and 150 solar panels provide renewable energy for the facility, which received a gold rating by Eco-Tourism Kenya. In addition, water conservation measures such as rainwater catchments, the use of bio-friendly cleaning products, and recycling help to preserve this precious resource. The lodge also remains committed to empowering local communities, including the development of eco-villages providing homes, schools, healthcare and sustainable businesses.
The Green House Hotel
As the name suggests, environmentally friendly considerations are front and center at this Victorian boutique hotel. Virtually every part of the interior was locally sourced — from the paint and wallpaper to the wool carpet and organic fair-trade cotton towels and linens. Most of the furniture is either recycled or made from trees that had fallen or been cut by tree surgeons. The hotel even generates its own electricity, exporting any surplus to the national grid. Seasonal menus in the restaurant use only locally grown and sustainable produce while much of the booze is also brewed regionally. Four-star luxury with a low carbon footprint; what’s not to love?
The Fairmont chain of luxury establishments launched its Green Partnership program in 1990, aiming to reduce its impact on the environment. In the 22 countries where the group now operates, the philosophy of sustainability remains the same, although tailored to address the specific needs of each location. In Dubai, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world — where water conservation is a particular issue — all taps in the hotel are fitted with flow restrictors which have reduced water consumption by nearly 40 percent. Computerized systems also save energy by controlling all lighting and air conditioning. Almost everything from kitchen grease to glass is recycled, and guests can even donate unwanted clothes to local charities. With 394 rooms and penthouses, plus 11 dining rooms and two nightclubs, the Fairmont Dubai is virtually an eco-friendly city all under one roof.