Atmosphere Uses Earth Day to Launch Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites Brand

4/30/2010 By Glenn Hasek

What could be one of the biggest green hotel development stories this year is the launch of the new Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites brand. I included the article in my newsletter last week (click here for article). The brand was officially launched on Earth Day. I receive a lot of press releases on a daily basis but the one about Adoba made me stop and take a second look. As most of you know, our industry is lacking in green hotel brands—those that are truly green from the ground up. There are a few, and I have written about most of them, but they are still quite rare.

I spoke with Jim Henderson this past week to learn more about Adoba, which means “earth.” Henderson is the president and CEO of Atmosphere Hospitality Management, the company developing the new brand. Atmosphere is based in Denver and the company currently includes a development team of seven people. Jim is an experienced hotel developer who has worked for a number of large hotel companies, most recently the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Henderson told me Adoba will be an all-suites product that will include 125, 150, or 186 rooms. Of the three sizes, the 186-room property is expected to offer the most favorable return. “We can go larger or smaller [in terms of number of rooms],” Henderson says. According to Atmosphere, Adoba is a “mid-tier, full-service, energy-saving, independent hotel targeting the social, value-wise guest who is traveling with a modern lifestyle purpose.” All Adoba hotels will be built to either Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold or Platinum standards. Adobas will be new properties but Henderson said his company would consider a retrofit if the “building met amazing standards.”

Atmosphere will be developing hotels on its own but is also seeking interested developers. “The brand is very far along,” Henderson says. “There has been significant interest. There are a lot of large companies asking for information. We are in discussion with investment groups who love the idea. We envision 10 under construction in the next two years.” The brand’s growth strategy is focused on markets such as Denver; Tucson, Ariz.; San Francisco; Portland (Ore.); Washington, D.C.; Houston; Midland/Odessa (Texas); and Seattle.

Minimal Construction Cost Premium

Many of the first hotels built to LEED Gold or Platinum standards have had cost premiums of from 3 percent to more than 10 percent. Henderson says Adoba will cost just .5 percent more than a comparable, traditional full-service hotel. No franchise fees will be charged. Most rooms in a typical Adoba will be studio type suites offered at a rate around $119. Each hotel will also include larger, more luxurious suites.

What is different about Adoba from an environmental standpoint? At every stage in each hotel’s development, an effort will be made to minimize the property’s impact. Locations with older, existing hotels on the land will be prioritized. “Part of our business plan is to tear old hotels down and reuse the old materials,” Henderson says. Materials used in construction and throughout each hotel will include as much recycled content as possible. The hotels will be built with what Atmosphere calls a “Total Building Enclosure” to maximize energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and to ensure the building lasts for a long time. “It was very important to design a building that will be here for the next 200 years,” Henderson says.

Solar awnings outside each guestroom will supply some of the electricity for each room. Solar panels on each hotel’s roof will help generate the electricity needed to heat water. A key card-based guestroom energy management system will help control heating and cooling costs. Low-flow fixtures will reduce water consumption and each hotel will include an Atmosphere Bar and Grill restaurant that will offer organic food options. The hotel lobby will include a “Fountain of Energy” that incorporates nature concepts. Developers will be presented with sustainability standards to which they will have to adhere. An Emerald Pact Committee at each hotel—similar to a green team—will ensure that standards are met.

It is exciting to see another green brand emerging in our industry. I will look forward to reporting on the latest Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites developments.

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