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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM—In taking responsibility for the local community and environment, the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton is embracing the spirit of sustainable development by initiating and supporting specially selected projects. In line with the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s newly launched “Think Planet” campaign—the international hotel group’s ambitious energy saving program which aims to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent over the next five years—the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton hotel in Johannesburg has dedicated itself to making a difference by changing all light bulbs within the hotel as well as actively participating in Earth Hour initiatives. This simple strategy has already resulted in a 5 percent energy consumption reduction in 2012 alone. The Radisson Blu Sandton hotel has initiated several socially responsible projects to aid local communities.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Westin Hotels & Resorts announced that it is applying its design-driven approach to its new public space design. Designed with guests’ well-being in mind, the new lobby incorporates natural design elements, flexible and functional zoning and conveniently-located retail and grab and go areas. Westin’s new public space concept is currently on display at Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego and will continue to roll out at participating properties worldwide throughout 2013. Five additional hotels are slated to feature the new concept this year including Westin Indianapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Birmingham, Westin Georgetown and Westin Bethesda. The Vertical Garden is a unique focal element of the new Westin lobby concept and was designed not only to improve indoor air quality, but also to create a calming, more natural environment.
CONCORD, CALIF.—CONCORD, CALIF.—It got official as it can get earlier this year on June 5. It was on that day that the Hilton Concord in Concord, Calif., was designated the Sustainability Flagship by Interstate Hotels & Resorts in a proclamation released by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Concord. The 329-key hotel was selected by Interstate to be the green prototype of what could be rolled out across the company’s other five wholly-owned and managed hotels. According to Charles Smith, CEO, Hotel Sustainability Solutions, Inc., lead consultant on the hotel’s sustainability project, the Hilton Concord was selected, among other reasons, as the test hotel because it is not only wholly owned by Interstate but also because it is located in a state where there are abundant incentives. The list of sustainability initiatives put into place so far is long.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—Costa Dorada Associates, Miami, is behind an effort to install six 40-foot, 4 kilowatt wind turbines on the roof of its 375-key Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. The turbines will be positioned on each corner and center of the hotel’s rooftop. Installation is expected to begin in September with completion by the end of the year. The estimated cost is $500,000, part of which Costa Dorada Associates hopes to pay through rebates from state and federal government. Andreas Ioannou, general manager, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, said the wind turbines are part of a larger effort to increase the percentage of electricity provided through renewable energy technologies. The six turbines, which Ioannou described as “pieces of art” because of their oval shape and intertwining blades, are the first step in a process that will also include rooftop solar panels in 2013.
BARAHONA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—What was once a family retreat for the Schiffino family, Casa Bonita Lodge is making its mark as one of the most sustainable destinations in the Caribbean. Set on 160 acres of unspoiled land in the Dominican Republic’s Barahuco Mountains, the lodge is partially powered by a 6.5-kilowatt hydroelectric generator situated on the Riosito River. The generator meets 30 percent of the 14-villa lodge’s electricity needs. According to Sandra Beltran, vice president of sales and marketing for Prohotel International, the company that manages the lodge, the goal is to upgrade the hydro plant so that it supplies 100 percent of the property’s electricity. It is only in the last five years that Casa Bonita Lodge has taken shape as a hotel destination. The hotel is owned and run by a brother and sister, third-generation members of the Schiffino family.
BOSTON—Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Hostelling International USA (HI-USA) officials, community leaders and travelers last week celebrated the grand opening of the new Boston hostel located in the heart of downtown Boston at the intersection of the Midtown Cultural District, Theater District, and Chinatown. The new 480-bed Boston hostel, which replaces the 208-bed hostel currently located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, has been built to LEED green building certification program standards and is expected to be the first LEED Certified hostel in the nation. “I congratulate Hostelling International on this great new facility and welcome the many new visitors it will attract,” said Governor Deval L. Patrick. Hostelling International Boston will welcome more than 46,000 guests annually, 60 percent of which will be international visitors.
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—Marriott International, Inc. announced the first hotel to open as part of its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) Volume Program—The Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River in Arizona. The hotel is also the first Marriott-branded property built on U.S. tribal land in cooperation with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, creating nearly 30 jobs. “This partnership is a symbol of Marriott’s commitment to working with diverse business partners,” said Eric Jacobs, chief development officer, North American Lodging, Marriott International. “Our business thrives on partnerships with organizations that share similar philosophies and values. We believe that we have found a great partner in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It’s a great example of Marriott’s diverse ownership program, which currently has nearly 600 diverse-owned hotels.”
DALLAS—The Omni Dallas Hotel, which opened its doors last November, has received LEED Gold New Construction (NC) certification, making it the first and only LEED Gold hotel in Texas and the largest LEED Gold hotel in the United States outside of Las Vegas. This designation was made possible by the development and execution of a highly disciplined plan that included the use of recycled and regionally-sourced materials, reduced construction pollution and water conservation initiatives. Upon opening, the hotel has also instituted practices to operate at LEED Gold standards. “The Omni Dallas Hotel is living up to its expectations in every way,” said Mayor Michael S. Rawlings.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced plans to open Element Harrison in summer of 2014. Owned and developed by Harrison Hotel 1, an entity of Ironstate Holdings, LLC, a Hoboken, N.J.-based developer, and managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, Element Harrison will join Element Ewing Princeton as the brand’s second hotel in New Jersey. The new Element will have 138 guestrooms and suites built green from the ground up. Element Harrison will be walking distance to a variety of shops and restaurants and within proximity to Newark’s business district. Less than 30 minutes from Manhattan’s financial district, the hotel is located right at the NJ PATH Harrison train station.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—Shore Hotel announced it has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is USGBC’s rating system for designing, constructing and maintaining the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high performing buildings and the Shore Hotel, designed by Gensler, is the first property in Santa Monica to receive this distinction. “Shore Hotel is honored to receive LEED Gold certification,” says Steve Farzam, COO of Shore Hotel. “We support ongoing efforts to be responsible and sustainable in every area of our business and through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment and dedication to environmental stewardship.”
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