green is good

Since the first celebration of Earth Day in 1970, the travel industry has made enormous strides in greening their practices, from recycling efforts and carbon offsets to rainwater collection systems and green roofs.  With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day coming up this week – April 22nd – green travelers can get rewarded for their efforts with special perks and programs at eco-conscious hotels and resorts around the country.  Here are just a handful.

Kimpton’s new Hotel Palomar Chicago features a green roof, joining a city-wide eco-friendly initiation.  A first for the Kimpton brand, the roof is covered with grass and vegetation to improve air quality, clean and retain rainwater, and add beauty to the urban landscape.  The Hotel Palomar Chicago was built with sustainability in mind, and operates with more than 70 eco-friendly practices as part of Kimpton’s brand-wide EarthCare program.

Located in Santa Fe, a city committed to a greener way of life, Eldorado Hotel & Spa is rewarding green-minded travelers who book “Go Green, Save Your Green” with a 15 percent room discount, complimentary overnight parking for hybrid vehicles and 20 percent savings on organic products at Nidah Spa.  For anyone staying multiple nights, sheets and towels are only changed upon request – another green touch.  Within walking distance to Santa Fe Plaza, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Canyon Road, guests of Eldorado Hotel & Spa can easily explore the city without use of a car.  Plus, the nearby Santa Fe Farmers Market is the largest in the state, with locally grown products from vendors across New Mexico.

The New Orleans Marriott is in the process of implementing a hotel-wide recycling program, the first large hotel in the city to do so.  Partnering with the stars of TLC’s “Trashmen,” the hotel will be able to recycle all paper, plastic and cans using their new recycling center.  At the hotel’s 5 Fifty 5 restaurant, the majority of menu items feature local ingredients such as dairy products from Smith’s Creamery, a family-owned and operated dairy in Louisiana.  For those looking to give back to the environment while in the Big Easy, the property’s Big Easy Spirit to Serve package helps volun-tourists connect with organizations such as Bayou Rebirth which works to restore coastal Louisiana’s wetlands.

St. Petersburg was the first city in Florida to receive the “Green City” distinction by the Florida Green Building Coalition for its renowned environmental initiatives.  During the month of April, guests staying at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, a historic hotel celebrating its 85th anniversary, will receive free parking for hybrid vehicles and complimentary bike rentals to explore the city’s 50 miles of bicycle trails.  The Resort’s Vinoy Day Spa also offers organic treatments such as the Rejuvenating Eye Treatment using HollyBeth’s all-natural products.

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort will be offering complimentary eco-education for kids and families April 10-24.  The Tiki Tribe kids’ club attendants will host a daily free 30-60 minute activity focused on unique aspects of Marco Island’s native eco-system, like Dolphin Mondays and Sea Turtle Tuesdays.  For instance: When sea turtles lay eggs – up to 100 at a time – the air temperature determines whether the turtles are male or female.  Within the nest, all eggs will hatch either male or female.  The majority of the Earth Day program will take place on the beach so that participants will be surrounded by the local environment as they learn.

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