Wedding Bells & Green Hotels

May 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

by Corey

Two weeks ago the downstair’s toilet in our one month old house overflowed with enough unmentionable sludge to fill a family-sized Jacuzzi forcing us to re-seal the boxes we had yet to unpack and move to a nearby hotel. The problem? The genius who plumbed our home forgot to remove something important from the pipes before he packed up and sent our builder the bill.

So sad, you agree, but my time is precious and I’m reading your blog for a reason. What has this got to do with Earth-friendly celebrating?

Lots.

We’ve been living in a hotel.

… The connection, you see, is that hotels are commonly associated with and utilized widely during celebrations from Valentines getaways to family reunions to corporate offsite events; not to mention weddings (and honeymoons) – which happen to occur most often during this time of year.

So while my husband and I are living in the hotel out of necessity rather than for fun (although my 7 and 3-year-olds would beg to differ), I’ve decided to make lemonade from the lemons (AKA raw sewage), and to share with you what we’ve learned about hotel-life in case you’re planning on celebrating in one any time soon.

Here it is: Going green in a hotel can be challenging. Do what you can.

While tossing your towels on the floor or letting the kids jump on the bed are hotel perks we wouldn’t dare deny you, trying to be consistent with your every-day Earth-friendly habits such as recycling and using CFL’s or LEDs can be hard or darned near impossible if your hotel isn’t eco-savvy or even eco-interested. If this is the situation (as in our case), do what you can by turning off (and, whenever possible, unplugging) lights, your coffee maker, electronics and the heater/ AC when they’re not needed, by avoiding the bottled water (using it will just encourage them to bring you more), asking that a newspaper not be delivered to your room and of course, by not having your linens and towels changed daily. Remember, you can still ask the cleaning crew to make the bed, hang the towels and clean the room (sans cleaning sprays, thank you), while enjoying the same “Ahhhhhh’s” you deserve to feel on your vacation.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Take short showers. If you’re on your honeymoon, babymoon or anniversary retreat, and you need to cool off (or warm up) try doing so outside the shower first. If you’re near the coast, take a dip in the ocean. Remember that tubs may use more water than showers so if you’re hotel room has a spa-style tub, don’t fill it all the way. If you bathe with your partner, the water inside will be greatly displaced and will fill in all around you.
  • If your hotel doesn’t seem to offer recycling, ask for it. It may be available but not promoted.
  • Avoid using the “samples” and ask that they not be delivered to your room. Instead, bring your own safe/healthy and environmentally sound products with you. Check out www.cosmeticdatabase.com for ideas.
  • Ask for (and use) reusables such as coffee mugs and utensils instead of disposable ones.
  • If you’re eating in the restaurant or ordering room service, avoid ordering more food then you can eat. Most likely, the hotel is not composting leftovers (as you surely are at home, right?) and by ordering less, you’re bound to eat less, which is healthier for you and your bank account.
  • Choose a hotel that’s located in walking distance of the locations and attractions you’re planning to visit. If walking is not an option, look for hotels accessible to public transportation. If a taxi or rental is required, ask for companies that use hybrid or electric fleets. Some hotels even give discounts for choosing hybrids or other alternative fuel rides, so be sure to plan ahead or ask once you’re there.

While there are many independent “EcoLodges” and green hotels available worldwide, if you’re staying the US and Canada check out www.greenhotelsonline.com or look for Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton’s boutique-style, green-savvy, forward-thinking mission is to bridge luxury with sustainability and social responsibility while setting the bar for what the hospitality industry can and should do to promote ecological consciousness. For hotels outside of the US, check out www.eco-indextourism.org, www.greenglobe.org, and www.eco-label-tourism.com.

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Entry filed under: Travel & getaways. Tags: , , , .

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