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ST MARTIN, CARIBBEAN—Carlson Hotels Worldwide has opened the 1,000th hotel in its worldwide portfolio, the Radisson St Martin Resort, Marina & Spa, dedicating the achievement of this growth landmark to a global initiative of environmental sustainability and responsible business. At opening ceremonies, top company officials joined with representatives of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign and The Carbon Neutral Company to officially dedicate this $80 million resort. The company is planting 1,000 trees worldwide and making a financial donation to the UNEP program plus partnering with The CarbonNeutral Company to offset the carbon equivalent of 10,000 room nights.
GAITHERSBURG, MD.—The Holiday Inn Gaithersburg last week celebrated the completion of its extensive, environment-based renovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the hotel’s new main entrance. In doing so, the hotel became one of the first Holiday Inns in the D.C.-Metro area to be renovated with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. Renewable, environmentally responsible and recycled materials were all utilized during the construction; drought-resistant landscaping will be installed in the spring. The featured speaker at the event was Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz. Members of the U.S. Marine Corps also attended the ceremony and received the toys donated by hotel staff and guests to the annual Toys for Tots campaign.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new National Restaurant Association survey of more than 1,600 professional chefs—members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF)—reveals that nutrition and philosophy-driven food choices will be the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2009. Local produce, bite-size desserts, organics, healthful kids’ meals, and new cuts of meat top the list of nearly 210 culinary items in the third annual “What’s Hot” chef survey. Rounding out the top 10 trends are kids’ vegetable/fruit side dishes, super fruits (including acai and mangosteen), small plates/tapas/mezze/dim sum, artisan liquor and sustainable seafood.
YOUNTVILLE, CALIF.—The Napa Valley community of Yountville, Calif., with a population of a little more than 3,000 people, is now home to one of the greenest lodging establishments in the United States—the 62-room luxury Bardessono hotel, restaurant and spa. Set to open the first week of February, the development should earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification later in 2009. If it does reach that goal, it will be only the second hotel in the United States to do so. The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., is the other. The owner and developer of the property is Seattle-based Phil Sherburne. His previous lodging developments include the 86-room Willows Lodge located just outside Seattle in Woodinville, Wash., and the 23-room luxury Inn of the Spanish Garden in Santa Barbara, Calif.
BETHESDA, MD.—Marriott International has found the “key” to a greener planet. Effective immediately, the company will begin replacing the 24 million plastic key cards that it purchases annually in the United States with those made of 50 percent recycled material, thereby saving 66 tons of plastic from being dumped in a landfill. The new key card is just one of many advances the company has made to “green” its $10 billion supply chain and reduce its global environmental footprint. As hotels deplete their inventory of existing supplies, they’ll be replaced with new, greener products, preferably developed by the company’s current vendors for the same or lower price.
DALLAS—Motel 6 held groundbreaking ceremonies on Monday in Northlake, Texas, for the first corporately-built and owned property to feature the newly-redesigned Motel 6 building and room design. The property, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, will showcase the “Phoenix” prototype, named after the mythical birth of rebirth and renewal.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) members can now apply for the 2009 Stars of the Industry Awards online. The deadline for applications is February 16, 2009, and awards will be announced during the Stars of the Industry Luncheon on June 24 at AH&LA’s Summer Summit in Chicago. A new category in 2009 is the Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year award, created in memory of Stevan Porter, former president of the Americas for the InterContinental Hotels Group, and organized in conjunction with the association’s launch of the Under 30 Gateway, AH&LA’s new membership category exclusively for hospitality professionals under age 30. This is the first Stars of the Industry award open to all AH&LA member companies, and preference will be given to AH&LA Gateway members.
CHICAGO—The Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) announced a strategic online partnership with PlannerWire, the news, information and community website for meeting and event professionals, to promote awareness of the global importance of green meetings, provide social networking opportunities for members, and a platform for sharing information about the GMIC annual conferences. PlannerWire will feature GMIC within the association section of PlannerWire.com. This section will allow for important information for prospective members and links to GMIC’s membership page will be included. GMIC will have the opportunity to provide editorial and video content in the coming months along with featured webinars on PlannerWire.com.
NAPLES, FLA.—In order to further its green lodging endeavors, the Hilton Naples has begun the implementation of a Confederate Jasmine vine garden on the section of the hotel’s roof over the ballroom area. Confederate Jasmine is indigenous to the Naples area and is generally described as a perennial vine with dark green foliage and orange flowers. The hotel has covered the roof of the hotel’s ballroom area in order to eliminate direct exposure to the sun, thereby decreasing the amount of energy necessary to cool the ballroom area. The vine garden will also present an enhanced view from the guestrooms that overlook that area. At maturity, the typical Confederate Jasmine will reach up to two feet high.
SAN FRANCISCO—Joie de Vivre’s eco-friendly efforts continue to receive statewide accolades—the most recent from the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA) and the City of Berkeley. CH&LA awarded the Hotel Carlton the 2008 Lodging Property Achievement Award for “Good Earthkeeping” and the City of Berkeley gave Hotel Durant the “Expanding Sustainability Award.” The Hotel Carlton, the first Joie de Vivre property to be green certified, was recognized by the CH&LA for “Good Earthkeeping” in a large-sized property.
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