These socially and environmentally minded hotels from the Canadian Rockies to the beaches of Hawaii—each offer on-property classes and activities which help preserve the land and local culture. And empower guests to bring the message back home.
Lake Louise, Alberta
Located next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s no surprise that the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has implemented one of the most ambitious sustainability programs in the hospitality industry, with its “No Net Negative Environmental Impact,” program. Within the walls of the 540-room property, the attention to environmental-mindedness is not always visible to guests, but reported annually to Parks Canada. Beyond the walls, and right into the Rocky Mountains, guests immediately see why such aggressive efforts are underway. The property wants to keep the landscape pristine and there’s no better way to educate than to get guests right out there into it, via an array of activities. In the warm months, local guides lead canoeing expeditions around Lake Louise, horseback riding through Banff National Park, and hikes among more than 1000 miles of trails. In winter, it’s skiing, skating, and snowshoeing. For the guest whose adventuresome spirit perhaps leans more inward, the hotel offers an acclaimed series of mindfulness retreats. International yoga instructors lead three and four-day retreats focusing on meditation practice—ohm-ing to a spectacular view of the Canadian Rockies.
Built by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to show off his country’s artisanal expertise, the Royal Mansour is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. The 53-riad property is within Marrakech’s old-city medina. The attention to (and preservation of) traditional handcrafts – from doorknobs to tile to the hidden hallways— is sublime. (Should a guest want to support local handcrafts, the market is just outside the walls.) But it’s the forward-thinking environmental practices which are also gaining the attention of the conscious travelers. Recycling, water reduction, organic farming , and dedication to preserving Morocco’s native species are all underway at the Royal Mansour. On property there are four gardens, each spotlighting native species. And with the Atlas Mountains always within view, new activities organized by the hotel include educational and conservation focused day trips to internationally important reserves in the area. The ArganForest Biosphere Reserve (the last barrier between the desert and Morocco and threatened by the market value of the Argan trees) and the Souss Massa NationalPark, known for its birdlife—in particular the last remaining wild breeding colonies for the Bald Ibis, are two local reserves the hotel provides trips to for the guests to see first-hand efforts to protect them.
The pink palace, as it’s known colloquially in Waikiki, has been a Hawaiian stalwart since its opening in 1927. The 528-room beachfront property has a unique history in the South Pacific state’s culture—one of the first luxury properties in Hawaii. The original Moorish architecture was inspired by Rudolph Valentino’s Middle Eastern set movies in the 20s and later a pivotal episode of Mad Men was filmed at the hotel. The hotel has made a major investment in sustainable practices through a $60 million renovation project that included energy, water, and ocean conservation efforts. (“Pink is the new green,” the staff likes to say at the LEED Gold certified hotel.) At the property, a relationship with Hawaiian farmers has always been a priority, with most of the ingredients used on property coming from local sources. But the emphasis on locality and tradition doesn’t stop at the plate. Among the activities offered at the hotel include lei making with flowers from the property, lauhala bracelets using the leaves of the hala tree, and a workshop with Hawaiian artists focused on what has become a cult home item stateside: Hawaiian quilt making, a Hawaiian-American tradition which dates to the 1820s.
Just a quick walk from Oxford Circus, the Langham London is a very English hotel. Which is to say, it looks Dickensian—charming, very mid 19th century, and luxurious without being stifling. But most surprisingly, the 333-room, five-star property with fine dining, emerald walls in the restaurant, and parquet floors throughout, has instituted some of the most stringent environmental practices in Europe. Using the third-party certification program EarthCheck (they are the first luxury hotel in Europe to attain a Gold Certification), the hotel currently has a zero waste-to-landfill commitment. Part of how it accomplishes that is with state of the art composting. The property, a favorite for events in London, brings guests and event planners on board through education and innovative programs which help the city. Recycling bins are placed alongside charitable donation bins onsite. Diners at the rose garden—the largest in West London—become educated on urban gardening. And patrons of the Roux restaurant or afternoon tea-ers at the Palm Court may not even know they’re helping. Unused food each day is distributed to those in need through local organization Plan Zheroes. (Guests who want to get their hands a little dirty can sign up for a cooking class taught by resident celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr.)
See other hotels with Environmental Certifications.