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With so many travelers’ eco consciousness at an all time high I had been contemplating a post on green travel and hotels that strive to give back to their communities, a topic near and dear to my heart. So I was quite inspired the other day when I participated in an online twitterchat that revolved around this topic, where I got many recommendations straight from the travelers’ mouths (or tweets, to be exact.)

This recent Travel Talk on Twitter (#TTOT) session centered on “Environmental Initiatives.” So here, in no particular order, are some suggestions for eco-friendly hotels that cultivate (no pun intended) green travel, all from people who’ve been there and loved that (including me).

(Note: If you don’t yet know about this twitterchat yet, it’s a fast-paced exchange between lovers of good chat and great travel that runs every Tuesday at 9:30 AM/PM GMT and is hosted by a fun group of globetrotters from all walks of life.)

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (via @MalloryOnTravel) Fairmont Hotels has “some pretty impressive green credentials,” which include herb gardens and, believe it or not, beekeeping. In fact, their commitment even has a name—the eco-focused Green Partnership Program—and they’ve transformed their concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder in North American honeybees by placing hives on some hotels’ rooftop gardens. I have to mention that at the Fairmont Mayakoba in the Riviera Maya they’ve extended their aid to the rare Mayan stingless bee, the melipona—one of their colonies happily resides in a hollow log outside the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa.

Reykjavik City Hostel (via @aworldtotravel1) Modern, award winning and very central, the Reykjavik City Hostel prides itself on its eco-conscience, as in, “zero carbon print.” It doesn’t hurt that it’s located in one of the world’s foremost countries with a green heart. To wit, Iceland is a global leader in renewable energy with 72% of its total energy consumption from hydro- and geothermal sources, among many other things.

Solmar Hotels & Resorts (via @TravelCulture) Los Cabos’ Solmar Hotels & Resorts “offers guests the opportunity to ‘give back’” while on vacation. How? By asking for an optional $10 USD donation to the Solmar Foundation at checkout—money that goes straight to the less fortunate communities in and around Cabo. According to Travel Culture Mag, they’ve also launched a weekly “Helping Hands” tour allowing guests of the resort (children included) to visit the three main focuses of the foundation—a shelter, nursing home and orphanage—and lend a much needed helping hand in each of these locations for a short time.

The Atheneum (via @Tripatini) “How about a London hotel so green it photosynthesizes?” I say, “absolutely!” After a recent $10.8 million refurbishment, this London gem is riding high on today’s eco-chic wave. Tops on the eco-list is the “living wall” it started growing in 2010, covering 2,800 square feet of vertical verdant joy up its entire ten stories. (I also ❤ the resident teddy bear in every room.)

Jaipur Inn (via @ZahidBari) This Jaipur, India, hotel may be modest, but its reviews on TripAdvisor and its desire to involve “guests 2 b a part of community programs & 2 save water” make it a 10 in our eyes. The rooms are decorated with beautiful local textiles, the gardens are gorgeously lush and the rooftop terrace (with free WiFi) offers spectacular views.

 Parador Resort & Spa (via @GetSkyMed) Surrounded by rainforest, the award-winning Parador Resort & Spa bills itself as Costa Rica’s premier eco-luxury resort—and with good reason. They follow strict environmentally friendly initiatives while maintaining a high level of service and, yes, luxury, and are very involved with their community. They recently partnered with Pack for a Purpose, a program that allows travelers to fill a space in their suitcase with needed supplies for local schools and clinics.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts (via @suectravel) Aruba’s only boutique resorts that cater exclusively to couples/adults, they were “green far before it was fashionable!” This upscale island paradise invites guests to adopt some of their environmental best practices by encouraging them with programs such as reducing their carbon footprint, joining the hotel team in beach clean-ups, adopting an island dog or cat and even judging a recycled crafts contest.

City Shout Outs

“I think Vancouver’s ‘Greenest City’ initiative is big, bold & brilliant.” (via @MalloryOnTravel) Vancouver is currently implementing the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan to become the “greenest city in the world.” The plan involves the Council, residents, businesses, other organizations and all levels of government, all of whom are working on short- and long-term plans to make it happen.

“It may sound like an oxymoron, but Las Vegas has some futuristic green initiatives.” (via @Marilyn_Res) As featured in National Geographic Traveler, Las Vegas retains its image as “Sin City” while sidling up to the green movement in a big way. In true Vegas fashion, the CityCenter opened a few years ago with six U.S. Green Building Council LEED certifications, effectively making it the single largest concentration of eco-rated buildings in North America. Meanwhile, other MGM projects (think Bellagio, Mirage and Mandalay Bay), are currently working on reducing the “huge environmental impact of welcoming millions of guests annually” under the watchful eye of Cindy Ortega, MGM Resort International’s chief sustainability officer.


Headed on your own #RTW (Round The World) or even just round the North American continent? Consider taking emergency travel insurance from Global Emergency Travel Services for the former, or SkyMed TAKES YOU HOME for the latter. It’s inexpensive peace of mind that’s priceless when you need it!


Photo credit: Maja Gotti via photopin cc

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