Earth Day Travel: Visit 4 of the World’s “Greenest” Hotels

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Just a few years ago, “green” was little more than a marketing buzzword for the hotel industry. But it’s no longer enough to simply ask guests to reuse their bath towels and put out a recycle bin. Travelers now expect much more from hotels claiming to be “eco-conscious”. Here are four of the world’s most stunning green hotels — all with the credentials to prove it.

Hotel Tierra Patagonia (Chile)


South America’s Patagonia region is one of the last remaining truly wild outposts. So it’s no surprise that hotels there have a keen interest in keeping it that way. Situated on a remote bluff overlooking Lake Sarmiento, Hotel Tierra Patagonia seamlessly blends into the surrounding landscape. Along with low-energy lighting, the structure consists largely of reclaimed wood, which both help keep the interior cool without the use of air conditioning. Much of the furniture is also handcrafted from fallen deadwood by local artisans. Beyond the property, the hotel has committed to reforesting Patagonia with no less than 1,000,000 trees in the coming years.

Related: Sleeping Under the Stars: Treehouse Hotels Around the World

Lapa Rios Eco Lodge (Costa Rica)


Few countries in the world are as serious about preserving their lush, natural landscape as Costa Rica. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge has been leading the country’s charge for more than two decades — long before “green” was an industry buzzword. Its mission has been to prove that the surrounding 1,000-acre rainforest is more valuable standing than cut-down. Thanks to a long list of sustainability practices, it became the country’s first five-leaf certified property (courtesy of Costa Rica Tourism Board’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism). The hotel makes excellent use of passive design, renewable resources, and hyper-minimal use of chemicals in water and sewage treatment.

Jetwing Vil Uyana Luxury Eco Resort (Sri Lanka)


Asia continues to suffer from some of the world’s most destructive farming and environmental practices. The construction of Jetwing’s Vil Uyana Luxury Eco Resort stopped slash-and-burn agricultural practices on one of Sri Lanka’s newest manmade lakes. Its long list of sustainability practices includes rooms constructed of more than 70% renewable materials, clever use of rainwater, and 100% of its wastewater is treated on-site and used in the hotel’s gardens. All of these practices have helped more than 200 wildlife species to flourish on the previously devastated land.

Proximity Hotel (Greensboro, North Carolina)


Of course, going green doesn’t have to mean “glamping”. Even full-featured downtown hotels in the United States have devised solid, environmentally sound business plans. Greensboro, North Carolina’s Proximity Hotel was the country’s first to receive the exclusive LEED Platinum Certification with more than 70 sustainable practices. Its 100 solar panels provide electricity and heat 60% of the water used in the rooms and on-site restaurant. Geothermal energy provides cooling for the property’s refrigeration units and is substantially more eco-conscious than standard water-based systems. A planned vegetated (literally green) restaurant rooftop will also help maintain the building’s interior temperature and minimize electricity usage.

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