By: Fiona Moriarty
Eco-friendly travel is becoming more consumer-friendly with each passing vacation. And thanks to a host of hotels built with sustainability in mind, finding low-impact rooms is easier than ever. We found four hotels leading the charge on environmentally conscious accommodations, great for veteran conservationists and newbies alike.
- El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa – Taos, NM
The natural beauty of the Rio Grande and the unique blend of Spanish, Anglo, and Native American cultures make Taos a favorite destination for artists and photographers. El Monte Sagrado resort was designed to provide luxury accommodations while employing sustainable materials and practices. The hotel sits on lush natural grounds, boasts an art gallery, and features a restaurant highlighting contemporary indigenous gastronomy. The spa even features treatments using all-natural and organic products made with native plants and flowers.
- Bardessono – Napa Valley, CA
With many of its older, more traditional wineries turning to solar power, water conservation, biodynamic growing philosophies, and other eco-friendly practices, Napa Valley has become committed to sustainability. Whether you just want to relax or ride your bike from vineyard to vineyard, the Bardessono is an excellent retreat. Located a half-mile from the Arts Center at Lincoln Theater, and a mile from the Napa Valley Museum, this LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified hotel was built with wood milled from salvaged trees and is partially powered by rooftop solar panels.
- Gustavus Inn, Glacier Bay, AK
Considered the Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, Gustavus has some of the world’s best spots to view humpback whales (with the occasional orca making an appearance). Backcountry hiking and kayaking are all done against a backdrop of eagles, bears, moose, seals, otters, and other wildlife, with trails and tours taking special care not to disturb their natural environment. The restaurant at the Gustavus Inn serves ocean-inspired meals with an eye toward sustainability, and seafood is brought in daily by local fishing boats. The kitchen also makes heavy use of ingredients grown on the inn’s grounds or foraged locally.
- Stonehurst Place – Atlanta, GA
A mansion built in 1896 (and renovated with reclaimed materials in 2008), the Stonehurst Place is Atlanta’s only EarthCraft House™ certified Bed & Breakfast, and on-site sustainability practices include rainwater reclamation and purification, recycling, and solar power. Stonehurst is a quick four-block walk to MARTA, Atlanta’s public transportation system, which provides direct access to Piedmont Park, the Convention Center, AmericasMart, the Arboretum, and downtown Atlanta.