8 Signs You're Staying at an Eco-Conscious Hotel


The James Chicago

Hotels are meant to be havens of relaxation for travelers, but for the eco-conscious traveler, it’s hard to ignore how much environmental waste a hotel produces in every room, from the little plastic toiletry bottles to the constant blast of the air-conditioner, and the loads of linen laundry that are done each time a guest checks-in and checks-out. 

Fortunately, the hospitality industry has become more mindful of its environmental footprint in recent years and because of that, they’ve started to roll out environmentally focused initiatives and eco-friendly amenities in their guest rooms. Here are 8 signs that you’re staying in a hotel that’s doing its part to help the environment, while helping you to relax.

Calistoga Ranch

1. Recycling Bins. You may feel guilty about having raided the minibar late at night but at least you can properly dispose of those little glass bottles of vodka in a dedicated recycling bin underneath the desk.

2. Toiletry Dispensers. Ditching the plastic toiletries in favor of a dispenser system in the shower saves a ton of waste and they are way easier to use than squeezing those tough little bottles. Sadly, you can’t take these home, but you could probably fill up your own travel toiletry bottles if you find yourself enamored with a lotion or body wash.

3. Optional Housekeeping: Hotels have long been using notes placed on the nightstand that encourage guests to “think about the environment” by declining to have their sheets and towels changed during their stay. Recently, a few hotels have even upped their efforts by offering guests tangible incentives, such as a $5 credit on room service (which we saw at the Hotel Vintage Portland) or extra loyalty points (which the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program does.)

4. Refillable Water Bottles: Instead of plastic bottled water on the nightstands, some hotels choose to provide guests with refillable bottles, which can be topped up at filtered hydration stations located throughout the hotel. Bardessono, a green luxury property in Napa Valley, is a great example of this.


Two Bunch Palms

Montage Laguna Beach

5. Energy-Efficient Lighting: How many times have you left a hotel room and forgotten to turn off the lights? Hotels that install energy-efficient light systems--such as motion sensor lights that switch off after a guest leaves the room--will save you from your guilt. Eco-conscious hotels are also switching out old light bulbs for LED ones which consume far less energy.

6. Paperless Check-In, Check-Out and Everything Else: Thanks to technology, the entire world has decreased their dependence on paper, yet many hotels still hand over a paper checkout folio or brochures at check-in about the property. Some even still offer those little paper jackets, which the room keys are tucked into. But a hotel that’s opting for paperless services, whether via email or an in-room tablet or mobile app, is one that’s really mindful of its paper waste.

7. Local Ingredients and Purveyors: By using local ingredients and purveyors in their restaurants and bars, hotels reduce the environmental impact of shipping their food from other places.

8. LEED Certification: LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. For a hotel to be LEED certified it needs to meet certain environmental impact and sustainability standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. There are various stages of LEED Certification with “Platinum” being the highest level and a simple “Certified” as the entry level. Most hotels that are already doing the practices mentioned above have some level of LEED status but looking for this designation when you book will give you peace of mind that a hotel is really looking out for the environment.

You can now explore how a hotel is benefitting individual wellness, sustainability, and community impact by checking out its 'Kind Factors' when you use Kind Traveler to book your next hotel. 

1 Hotel South Beach

Check in on the regular with our resident hotel guru, Juliana Shallcross.