Monday, August 17, 2009

Four Star Hotels Become Luxury Green Travel Choices

Who says the words green luxury hotels can't be used in the in the same sentence? Not me, and not the four-star hotel group RockResorts.

Their green lodging program extends the same top green environmental standard to all rooms in upscale hotels such as the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado, and the Snake River Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
RockResorts calls it the "Green Room". Yes, yes, of course it starts with energy efficient lighting and electronics, a towel and linen reuse program, low flow bath fixtures and a recycling bin under the desk. That is now the absolute minimum standard across the hotel industry worldwide. Little bits of green that are great for starters. RockResorts does more. Lots more.
  • Bath amenities -- These are custom formulated, all natural, essential oils, free from preservatives and other artificial ingredients such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate derivates and artificial or synthetic colors and fragrances, in recyclable bottles.

  • Cleaning products -- Housekeeping staff uses Green Seal and EPA certified products. That means they are formulated without chemicals such as chlorine bleach and are less toxic to you and to the environment.

  • Paints and finishes -- These are low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds), also less toxic to you and to the environment. Plus, all rooms and facilities are entirely smoke free.

There's also a voluntary guest program for guests to donate $1 a night to the National Forest Foundation in Colorado, or other non-profit environmental group. For every dollar contributed by guests, the NFF will match at $.50. Since 2006, this program has raised more than $1.2 million for conservation efforts in the national forests that surround RockResorts hotels.

RockResorts has a long history of concern for the environment. Company founder Laurance Rockefeller started the company in 1956 based on the premise that all his hotels and resorts would embrace and nurture their locations.

The luxury hotel group also has its own Director of Environmental Affairs, Julie Klein, who describes these Green Room standards as minimum requirements. "We plan to continue to grow this program to further demonstrate our commitment to the iconic locations in which we operate our resort hotels, and to the overall guest experience."

RockResorts is owned by Vail Resorts, which has a corporate wide mandate to reduce the overall energy use by 10 percent at the end of 2010.

  • Hotels include --
  • The Arrabelle at Vail Square
  • The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colorado
  • Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado
  • The Osprey at Beaver Creek The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado
  • La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Snake River Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • The Landings St. Lucia, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

New hotels are Tempo Miami in Miami, Fla. (scheduled to open in 2009); One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, Colo. (2010); The Mansfield Inn at Stowe in Stowe, Vt. (winter 2010/2011); Rum Cay Resort Marina, The Bahamas (2011); and the Third Turtle Club & Spa, Turks and Caicos (2011).

So, absolutely yes, luxury travel can be green travel.

Read more green hotel news and reviews from Green Travel guru Evelyn Kanter.