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CHICAGO—United Airlines announced the launch of United Eco-Skies Vacations, a new travel program that provides United customers with vacation options that incorporate sustainability and environmental responsibility into their getaways. The airline is working with The Mark Travel Corp., exclusive tour operator for United Vacations, and long-time partner and global nonprofit organization Sustainable Travel International to launch the vacation program.
NAPLES, FLA.—Lemon Tree Inn of Naples, Florida celebrated its new landscaping by releasing thousands of ladybugs on January 17. The boutique hotel has also sprouted a new “Pollination Package”, which offers a three-night stay with two tickets to the Naples Botanical Garden and a packet of flower seeds. Lemon Tree Inn, which has a butterfly garden in its courtyard garden, releases ladybugs as needed to rid the plants of pests. The hotel will release another group of ladybugs this June in celebration of National Pollinator Week. “The butterfly garden that Hunter Reno helped us create in 2010 was exquisite,” said Sid Kalmans, owner of Lemon Tree Inn. “All the plants she selected thrived and Lemon Tree Inn’s garden became a desired destination for butterflies as well as our guests. With the new landscaping, we added bamboos, more native plants and further increased the number of plants butterflies love.” Master Gardener Hunter Reno, a mother of two, former travel journalist and supermodel, has built organic vegetable gardens for five-star restaurants and developed edible school gardens for public schools in Miami.
DANA POINT, CALIF.—The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has joined with marine life artist Wyland for “Whales, Wonders, and Wyland.” The collaboration includes an overnight experience, a display of more than 25 Wyland original paintings, limited editions, and sculptures throughout the resort, as well as an exclusive reception for guests to meet Wyland and enjoy a special multi-media retrospective of Wyland’s Whaling Wall public mural project. Wyland is also the Grand Marshal for the 2015 Festival of Whales, taking place in Dana Point the first two weekends in March. The Wonders of Wyland Reception will be held Friday, March 6, 2015. The evening will include film highlights from Wyland’s 30-year campaign to create 100 life size marine life murals in more than 12 countries around the world. Spanning the sides of skyscrapers, sports arenas, and structures, these landmark public murals have captured the imagination of millions and helped inspire a new generation to become better stewards of the environment. The evening presentation will share the story of Wyland’s epic campaign.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide announced Meet with Purpose, a concept designed to make it easier for meeting professionals to reduce waste and incorporate health and wellness into meetings and events. Meet with Purpose provides meeting professionals with sustainable choices to incorporate into events that not only enhance the experiences of attendees, but also align with many customers’ corporate responsibility goals. Inspired by Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose, Hilton gathered feedback from customers and sales Team Members to identify the most pressing sustainability issues for meetings and events. To meet these needs, Hilton created Meet with Purpose, supported by two focus areas. The first, Mindful Eating, encourages meeting professionals to reexamine event dining to minimize food waste and encourage healthy choices. Hilton offers solutions such as portion control, sourcing locally, pre-plating salads and establishing central water stations with reusable containers. • Mindful Meeting inspires meeting professionals to host more sustainable events by considering practices that are less resource-intensive. The solutions range from using paperless registration and placing notepads in a central location to turning off climate control when a meeting room isn’t in use.
DALLAS—Guests of The Highland Dallas can now take advantage of the newly-available PURE guestrooms. Specially-treated to provide the highest purity in air quality, PURE rooms, with hypoallergenic elements, ensure ultimate comfort for health-conscious guests and their families.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Geographic Society announced its newest foray in world-class travel experiences: National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places around the world with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity and excellence. Selected through a rigorous evaluation process, these lodges offer an outstanding guest experience while supporting the protection of cultural and natural heritage and embracing sustainable tourism practices. The initial collection—numbering 24 properties on six continents—further builds National Geographic’s travel portfolio, which includes National Geographic Expeditions, Traveler magazine, travel books, photography courses and the @NatGeoTravel digital and photography community. National Geographic deployed experts to each site to evaluate operations, meet staff at all levels, scrutinize the lodge’s impact on the local environment and community and ensure that these criteria were met. The Unique Lodges collection ranges from thatched bungalows nestled in the coastal jungles of Costa Rica’s pristine OsaPeninsula to luxury tented suites overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Australian Outback. Many have devised their own renewable energy solutions.
MCLEAN, VA.—From bushes applauding recyclers and street performers tipping their audience, to a revolving door offering compliments and an unexpected makeover at the DMV, everyday experiences can be made a bit better with an unexpected twist. Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hilton Worldwide’s award-winning mid-tier, all-suite hotel brand, is celebrating this mindset and inviting travelers to think about extended stay travel in a “fresh, new way” with the launch of a new surprise and delight campaign in conjunction with the brand’s 50th hotel opening. The “fresh, new way” campaign, filmed in Atlanta, includes four videos showcasing how challenging the status quo of ordinary, everyday experiences can be made better with an original approach. This concept is reflected by Home2 Suites. “Life on the road can be monotonous, but at Home2 Suites we want to exceed guest expectations, taking the familiar and delivering more than expected,” said Christian Kuhn, Vice President of Marketing, Home2 Suites by Hilton.
MURFREESBORO, TENN.—The Hilton Garden Inn Murfreesboro, a new hotel located 30 minutes outside Nashville, has added 10 hypoallergenic PURE Rooms to provide an allergy travel alternative for its guests. “PURE Rooms will offer a more comfortable stay to our guests with allergies,” said David Allison, General Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn Murfreesboro. “As a new hotel, we strive to meet the latest standards for health and wellness, which PURE Rooms help enable us to do.”
ST. JOHN, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—As Chief Visionary Officer and owner of the eight-suite Eco Serendib Villa and Spa on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Harith Wickrema is adamant about providing luxury experiences for guests that “excite, educate, and entertain.” “Eco Serendib Villa and Spa is proof that you do not necessarily have to sacrifice luxury and modern conveniences to live a greener existence,” Wickrema says. Wickrema, who grew up in Sri Lanka where “eco” efforts were standard out of necessity, readily admits that his property is not perfect when it comes to sustainability but he has gone far beyond what is standard to reduce the property’s environmental footprint. The list is very long and can be seen on Eco Serendib’s website but some of the property’s most significant initiatives include: 69 rooftop solar panels, kitchen appliances that use less energy than a 100-watt bulb and are made from as much as 75 percent recycled materials, a gray water system for irrigation, and three separate 20,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater.
PORTLAND, ORE.—Provenance Hotels, with six locations in Washington and Oregon, is raising the bar on sustainable travel by partnering with the experts in car sharing services and electric vehicle technology—Zipcar and Tesla Motors—to make it even easier and more affordable for guests to use alternative transportation when visiting the eco-conscious cities of Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. Provenance Hotels’ art-filled hotels are conveniently located downtown within steps of each city’s light rail routes, making them the perfect getaways for those who want to go car free. When guests who are Zipcar members need or want to venture further, Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, is a cost-effective and sustainable membership based option for exploring with plenty of vehicles conveniently parked close to hotels. To incentivize guests to try car sharing by becoming new Zipcar members, Zipcar and Provenance Hotels have partnered to offer $50 in free driving credit when travelers sign up for Zipcar’s Occasional Driving Plan or a Monthly Rate Plan of $6/month.
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