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PHILIPSBURG, ST MAARTEN—The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten made its mark as a game-changer in the hospitality industry by completing a landmark solar installation earlier this year that allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times. The resort has harnessed the power of the Caribbean sun for more than a year and reached an environmental milestone by generating one gigawatt hour of solar power, or one billion watt-hours. The resort also just installed a completely oil-free Smardt Chiller to further conserve energy; the Chiller is used in the air-conditioning and refrigeration systems throughout the resort. One gigawatt hour of power is enough to provide annual power to 92 American households.
DENVER—The piece-of-pie shaped Brown Palace Hotel, a fixture in the heart of Denver since 1892, has been undergoing a green transformation the last couple of years that has caught the eye of many. The 241-room property won the Good Earthkeeping Award in 2013 from the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Assn. and the Good Earthkeeping Award in 2014 from the American Hotel and Lodging Assn. While dabbling in sustainability for a number of years—bee hives have been on the hotel roof as part of the hotel’s Bee Royalty Initiative since 2009—it was in October 2012 when good things really started to happen. That is when Brenna St. Onge was hired as Executive Housekeeper. She brought a passion for sustainability to her job and it was a year ago that she was promoted to Assistant Director of Rooms and Chair of Sustainability.
BANGKOK—Green tourism has become an important trend in recent years, with travelers and hospitality operators alike all doing their best to minimize the impact that tourism can have on the environment. Centara Grand Beach Resort &Villas Krabi, which is set directly on the beach in a small bay that can only be reached by boat or along a pathway through the national park that surrounds the resort is especially aware of its environmental responsibilities. Last year it was awarded EarthCheck Silver Certification for its environmental management programs. As part of the resort’s ongoing commitment towards environmental responsibilities, Centara Grand Krabi has launched its own water bottling plant using a reverse osmosis system. Also known as hyper filtration, this process allows the removal of particles as small as ions from a solution.
LOS ANGELES—Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, recently announced a $30 million rennovation—which includes all new guestroom interiors as well as upgrades in the hotel’s meeting areas and its famous pools with a completion date set for early 2015. Known for reflecting a stunning blend of Hawaii’s culture and natural beauty, the upgrades are designed to further enhance the guest experience with a fresh, contemporary island look. Room design updates are being headed by interior architect Robert Barry of the Los Angeles based Barry Design Associates (BDA) who won the account via a design competition. The firm was behind the luxuriously iconic look of the resort’s Spa Grande and has worked on hotels and spas including: the One & Only, Bahamas, the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico, and the Mauna Kea on the Big Island in Hawaii.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Officials of the Sheraton Stamford Hotel recently announced the completion of the hotel’s next step to achieving its sustainable goals to improve environmental efficiencies that help the hotel as well as its community. The Sheraton Stamford Hotel just completed a $200,000 project, in which they upgraded their lighting to LED throughout the hotel. According to a study from the Connecticut Energy Efficient Fund, over the life of the fixtures, the hotel’s increase in LED usage will have saved an estimated 7,412,770.00 kWh. This is equivalent to 3,755,988 pounds of coal not burned, 308,755 gallons of oil not burned, or 882 homes supplied with electricity for one year. “Savings add up fairly quickly,” said Mike Bennett, General Manager, Sheraton Stamford Hotel. “When we use less energy, there’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings.”
OAHU, HAWAII—Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii, has completed the installation of an innovative green roof that covers a total of approximately 60,000 square feet as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability. “We are dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s delicate and natural resources as stewards of the land,” said Scott McCormack, Vice President of Real Estate for Turtle Bay Resort. “We have received positive feedback from our resort guests who appreciate the project’s eco-friendly benefits and are enjoying enhanced guestroom views of the ocean and landscape art atop the newly designed roofs.” The lower flat roofs of Turtle Bay Hotel were completely transformed and “roof-scaped” with intricate, contemporary patterns using river rocks and native Hawaiian plants. The combination of this conservation project’s size and detailed design makes the green roof unique to Hawaii and beyond.
DEATH VALLEY, CALIF.—In keeping with its “pillars of sustainability,” the AAA Four Diamond Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park has enacted a series of initiatives designed to minimize the impact of its operations and of its guests. The resort has put in place programs to reduce waste and water usage, generate electricity and offer sustainable choices to its guests. Those efforts are working as the resort reports solid waste has been reduced by 44 percent, water usage has dropped 19 percent and electricity use is down 18 percent since 2010. In that same time period sustainably sourced food is up 19 percent and recycling is up 100 percent. The single-biggest development undertaken by Furnace Creek operator Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been the installation of a five-acre, one megawatt solar photovoltaic system.
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—Bees can bring to mind sci-fi like headlines, and thoughts of painful stings. In reality honeybees are important contributors to the many fruits and vegetables that we eat. Earlier this summer, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa added two colonies containing 20,000 bees each to its grounds, furthering Tamaya’s mission of being an environmentally friendly resort. Honeybees are the major pollinators of the resort’s many flower beds and its on-site orchard, vegetable and herb gardens. It’s estimated that in the first year, these bees will produce 70 to 80 pounds of honey as well as beeswax. While the bees will need much of this honey for the winter months, as much as 25 to 30 pounds will be harvested by the resort and used in the Tamaya Mist Spa and Salon and in the resort’s kitchens.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK—The large structures arriving in Yellowstone National Park’s Canyon Village are tangible indications that the Canyon Lodge & Cabins redevelopment project is truly taking shape. Constructed in Boise, Idaho by Guerdon Enterprises, the modules will eventually comprise five multi-story lodges featuring stone and wood that blend into the surrounding area. The first three lodges will open in 2015 and the remaining two the following year. The modules are being created in a controlled environment that allows for year-round work while minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency. As part of its concessions contract with the National Park Service (NPS), lodge operator Xanterra Parks & Resorts is overseeing the $70 million project that will replace more than 300 cabins with five modern lodge buildings.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced plans for a dual-branded hotel development in Columbus, Ohio, featuring its Aloft and Element brands. Owned by Indus Hotels, the 136-room Aloft Columbus and 123-room Element Columbus will be located adjacent to The Ohio State University, minutes from downtown Columbus. Marking the debut of both the Aloft and Element brands in Columbus, the hotels are slated to open in early 2017. “Our fast-growing Aloft and Element brands are a perfect fit for the lively city of Columbus and will help meet the demand for high-caliber lodging generated by The Ohio State University and the city’s thriving business community,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.
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