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Upping the sustainability bar through conscious actions

7 February 2022
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Say the word “sustainability” and it’s easy to fall down a slippery slope. Beyond banning single-use plastics, what does it mean to be not just an eco-conscious but an actively eco-friendly hotel? Whether an urban retreat or mountainous resort, these five properties are raising the bar for what sustainability means in hospitality, and they let their actions speak louder than words.

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Nestled among the towering peaks of the Swiss Alps in Zermatt, Cervo Mountain Resort’s ethos is centered on conscious travel and sustainable actions. Following the property’s recent renovation, nearly 95% of its energy requirements are covered by geothermal energy and the remaining 5% are sourced from natural gas. Cervo also repurposes all of its heat waste and solar panels line the balconies of contemporary lodge-style accommodations. Such efforts are consistently improving due in large part to the hotel’s partnerships with the local community and regional food suppliers as well as initiatives like SlowFood and myClimate.

Locality plays a key role in Minos Beach Art Hotel’s conscious actions, too. The Cretan property features locally sourced food and wines as well as environmentally oriented experiences and activities. Guests can volunteer to plant trees, to help clean the coastline and beaches, and to even support the local animal shelter. A robust recycling program has been implemented throughout the property, and pollution is controlled via monthly chemical and microbiological analyses. Similarly, the on-site restaurant at Baja Club in La Paz features a menu that changes daily according to what local producers have available and the seafood is sourced with sustainable fishing practices. Moreover, when restoring the 19th-century hacienda in which Baja Club is housed, a bioclimatic design—with elements like cantilevered reinforced concrete floor plates—was also used to reduce solar heat gain and thus guests’ dependency on air conditioning.

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Located in the idyllic Berkshires and at the junction of two major North American trails—the Appalachian and the Mohawk—Tourists reflect and preserve its surrounding natural environment. Raw organic wood is found throughout the New Adams, Massachusetts, property along with details like cozy daybed niches stuffed with pillows made from a mixture of new and upcycled textiles. Airport Rooms, the on-site bar and restaurant, serves fare made with seasonal ingredients sourced from regional farms, and activities on offer include guided hikes as well as botanical dyeing workshops to learn techniques that use commonly found plants instead of environmentally harmful chemicals.

At London’s Inhabit Hotel sustainability permeates every aspect of their wellness-centered approach. The restaurant’s menu is populated by local ingredients and each room has REN toiletries in packaging that is 100% recyclable and made from reclaimed ocean plastic. But even more significantly, the property has a Green Key certification, which represents a promise to adhere to the strict criteria set out by the Foundation of Environmental Education. This is in addition to partnerships with various consciously minded organizations, including Globechain, which connects businesses and charities with individuals to enable the redistribution of goods to social causes rather than landfills.