Eco-friendly hotels are one of the hottest trends in the travel world. Not too long ago when one thought of eco-friendly lodgings, mud huts and outhouses came to mind. That’s not the case anymore. In addition to hotels in beautiful bucolic settings, a growing number of urban hotels are getting in on the act, reusing water, incorporating solar power or reducing carbon missions. Although these hotels are exceptional and should be lauded for their commitment to the environment, the Bardessono in Napa, California, is undoubtedly the most luxurious and eco-friendly hotel of them all. It’s garnered the first Greenlux Award for Greenest Hotel.
Located in the culinary mecca of Yountville, this LEED Platinum–certified hotel takes its commitment to sustainability very seriously. Tufa limestone as well as other reclaimed materials were used to build the 62-room structure. Salvaged Monterey cypress, walnut and other local woods can be found inside the complex. All paints, carpets and fabrics used meet low volatile organic compounds (VOC) standards. The entire property is solar powered and heated and cooled via geothermal springs. Organic linens and cleaning supplies are utilized throughout. Water is recycled for irrigation and drinking water is filtered onsite. Vegetable waste is composted on premises and reused on the land. The hotel’s restaurant utilizes fresh produce and herbs from two organic gardens, one onsite the other a short distance away. LED, halogen or fluorescent bulbs are used. Even the waste from the initial construction was recycled, more than 93 percent of it.
One would think these initiatives would detract from the luxury and beauty of the hotel but that’s not the case. The Bardessono is extremely luxurious and high-end. The lofty, neutral rooms are expansive—starting at 550 square feet—and are outfitted with wall-mounted HD TVs, jetted, self-regulating soaking tubs, sensored light switches (to reduce energy use), private stone patios with views of the mountains and fluffy king beds enveloped in organic cotton that you can sink yourself into.
Honorable Mention: Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Situated near Grand Teton National Park, this five-year old, six-story hotel has already garnered LEED-Silver certification for its many eco-friendly elements, from food-waste composting to radiant heat flooring to natural runoff mitigation to reduced particle pollution to recycled roof shingles to purchasing alternative energy. The 132 room and suites take European chic to a new level. All rooms have flatscreen TVs, deep-soaking Zuma tubs, gas fireplaces and 100 percent organic bedding and linens.