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MONTEREY, CALIF.—The Portola Hotel & Spa partnered with the Monterey Regional Airport to celebrate Earth Day. Today, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Portola Hotel & Spa staff were stationed at the Monterey Regional Airport Baggage Claim area to give away reusable bags made of 100 percent recycled materials. The phrase “I used to be a plastic bottle” was printed across the reusable bags as a friendly reminder of the utility that comes with recycling. Portola Hotel & Spa will also be giving out reusable bags to guests checking into the property on Earth Day while supplies last.
NATIONAL REPORT—Two years after the final standard of the nine APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings Standards—the one focusing on accommodations—was published, and more than three years after the first eight standards were released, adoption of the standards has been mixed. At press time, just one accommodation—the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.—had achieved certification to standard E2772, the Specification for Evaluation and Selection of Accommodations for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences. The resort also achieved certification to the ASTM Standard pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Venues for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences (E2774). Three of the standards have yet to see a certification—ones pertaining to exhibits, transportation and on-site offices. According to the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), which publishes a registry of suppliers that have achieved APEX/ASTM third party certification, about 30 organizations have achieved or will soon achieve some level of certification. The majority of those—at least 13—have been certified to E2774.
NEW YORK—W Hotels Worldwide, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., announced a new partnership with global music artist and entrepreneur will.i.am and The Coca-Cola Co. to shake up the hotel industry, one guestroom at a time. Together, they are bringing the EKOCYCLE brand to W Hotel rooms around the world, changing sheets and changing minds. W Hotels will soon begin re-making their beds with new EKOCYCLE branded sheets, which are made in part with rPET (polyester partially made using recycled plastic). Rolling out into W Hotels in North America first with global properties to follow, each king size sheet set utilizes approximately 31 recycled 20 oz. plastic bottles—which equates to more than 268,000 plastic bottles across all W Hotel beds in North America. The result is bedding that is as luxurious as it is environmentally conscious, ensuring that guests continue to have the same comfortable sleep they have come to expect from a night in a W Hotel bed. The more sustainable sheets are made using the same high quality process as the W brand’s current bedding.
ATLANTA—Taking green meetings to the next level, The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, the largest Green Seal Silver Level certified convention hotel in the Southeast, is launching the Green Tour. This new on-site specialty event for meeting attendees provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sustainability, conservation and environmental efficiency efforts in the John Portman-designed AAA Four Diamond hotel. From event serveware made of leaves to the Go Green Racing teambuilding activity and single-stream recycling system, The Westin Peachtree Plaza is redefining what it means to be green. “Environmental stewardship is increasingly important to meeting planners and attendees when selecting a venue for their event,” said Ron Tarson, General Manager of The Westin Peachtree Plaza. “While many hotels say they offer green features, they frequently fall short. Our new Green Tour provides guests with a firsthand look at true sustainability and gives them a rare opportunity to view these efforts in action.”
OAKLAND, CALIF.—Green Venue Report, a leading group of event industry professionals committed to the advancement of venue sustainability, announces the launch of the second annual survey to compare sustainability practices and performance across convention and exhibition centers worldwide. Venues are invited to participate in the multi-question survey at no cost beginning April 1 at www.greenvenuereport.com. The 2015 Green Venue Report will offer these results in a comprehensive overview of convention centers around the world, building on the participation and momentum of the 2014 report. The report compares green performance over a wide range of areas, including: energy efficiency, waste management, water usage, food and beverage services, cleaning practices, staff involvement, communications and certifications. The report, to be published September 2015, will compile information from more than 30 participating convention and exhibition centers around the world. The 2014 report compiled data from 16 centers in North America, representing over 4,000 events, 12 million attendees and 28.5 million square feet of venue space.
SAN FRANCISCO—For the eighth consecutive year, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts of the Western U.S. and Hawaii will participate in Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF,) to raise awareness about climate change. On Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. (local time) Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the planet will participate by turning off their lights for one hour. “Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for Fairmont colleagues and guests to participate in the world’s largest global climate change initiative,” says Thomas Klein, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, Fairmont San Francisco. “Earth Hour is on its way to becoming the largest display for climate change action ever. With your help, we can get everyone to join us—invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join and take action for a healthy, thriving environment today. The annual event furthers Fairmont’s ongoing support of environmental awareness and demonstrates the hotels’ ongoing energy conservation stewardship.” In California Wine Country, guests of The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa will be swooned by the lobby fireplace and twinkling candles during Earth Hour.
TAMPA, FLA.—Hasek Communications, the Tampa, Fla.-based publisher of Green Lodging News, welcomes GreenEarth Cleaning as an advertising partner. The GreenEarth dry cleaning process uses liquid silicone in place of petrochemicals. Essentially liquified sand, silicone is non-hazardous and non-toxic to the environment. When released to the environment, it safely breaks down into the three natural elements it is made from: sand (SiO2) and trace amounts of water and carbon dioxide.
AMSTERDAM—BookDifferent has begun to publicize the carbon emission figures for 591,000 hotels. According to BookDifferent, it is the first OTA to do this. The carbon footprint of each accommodation is shown by a footprint icon containing the number of kilos CO2 emission per night stayed. Hotels with a green footprint have a low carbon footprint and are therefore a better choice than the hotels with a red one.
MIAMI—Virgin Hotels is now offering guests car service seven days a week to select areas in Chicago in a top-of-the-line red Tesla Model S, a premium electric vehicle. The new all-wheel-drive Model S P85D is not only electric; it’s also the quickest-accelerating four door vehicle ever built. For guests wishing to arrive in style, they simply need to ring the concierge and a Virgin Hotels representative will drive them to their destination.
BERLIN—More than 500 hotels and B&Bs that serve exclusively vegetarian or vegan food are now listed on the VeggieHotels web portal. VeggieHotels makes it easy to find purely vegetarian hotels, guest houses and conference centers. Over 500 accommodations in 60 countries with purely vegetarian kitchens are already listed. From the simple guest house to the five star hotel, the whole range of the hotel business is represented. More and more people are choosing the health related, ecological and ethical advantages of a vegetarian or vegan life style. Millions of vegetarian and vegan tourists constitute a significant target group and VeggieHotels offers them an easy way to find their ideal holiday destination. The criteria for a VeggieHotel are clear and simple. Neither fish nor meat is served. Many of the purely vegetarian hotels and guest houses also offer organic food and accommodate specific diets, such as vegan and raw food diets. More than 60 accommodations are purely vegan. For the first time a hotel corporation has chosen the topic “a climate-friendly, ethical and ecological diet” as the focus of their brand.
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