GULF SHORES, ALA.—The Lodge at Gulf State Park, A Hilton Hotel opened its doors after a much-anticipated return to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Guests of the 350-room, beachfront hotel, located within Alabama’s Gulf State Park, will enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Shelby with direct access to the emerald green waters of the Gulf and over 6,150 acres of trails and activities within the Park.
The Lodge at Gulf State Park is the first full service hotel to open in the area in 20 years. It is a premier meetings and events destination, offering a wide array of indoor and outdoor event space. Under the management of Valor Hospitality Partners, the new Lodge operates with a focused commitment to the sustainability and preservation of the coastline, environment, wildlife and fauna of the Park and the region.
“At Hilton Hotels & Resorts, we are redefining sustainable travel, and we are proud to welcome this responsibly designed and operated hotel to our portfolio,” said Vera Manoukian, Senior Vice president and Global Head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “With its vibrant location in one of the nation’s top state parks and its wide variety of offerings, this new hotel is well poised to set the standard for accommodations in the region.”
In Pursuit of Multiple Certifications
This new, re-imagined hotel was designed by LakeFlato and Rabun Architects with a native landscape by Sasaki Associates. The building footprint was reduced by nearly one-third and set back by 200 to 225 feet from the Gulf to allow for greater dune restoration and natural dune movement. The buildings are positioned to take advantage of gulf breezes for natural ventilation and to maximize natural lighting of the interior. This design reduces energy use by 32 percent and interior water use by 35 percent. To demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment, this facility has targeted some of the most rigorous sustainability goals in the hospitality industry: LEED Gold, SITES Platinum, and FORTIFIED Commercial certifications.
The interior design is focused around a contemporary coastal aesthetic and was inspired by the hotel’s surrounding environment and the history of the former Lodge. This concept was brought to life by Dallas based interior design firm, Looney & Associates. Their design incorporates color, texture, and contrast to create comforting spaces that seamlessly transition from outdoor to indoor space while maintaining high levels of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
“From our unprecedented sustainability initiatives, and unbeatable beachfront location to Hilton’s legacy of exceptional service, The Lodge at Gulf State Park addresses and exceeds the expectations of today’s travelers,” said Bill Bennett, General Manager, The Lodge at Gulf State Park, A Hilton Hotel. “We look forward to welcoming guests to our unique property where nature is at your doorstep at every turn.”
Some of the hotel’s sustainability initiatives include:
- Eco-friendly construction: The hotel was constructed to meet the elevated standards of LEED Gold, SITES Platinum, and FORTIFIED Commercial certifications. Fifteen percent of building materials are recycled materials and 70 to 75 percent of construction waste was recycled.
- Responsible Water Sourcing and Routing: Condensation from the HVAC system is collected and recycled to replace water in the pool. Additionally, rainwater is collected and directed to a restored wetland on site rather than being diverted to storm sewers. The hotel also features a permeable parking lot using TrueGrid technology that allows rainwater to drain into the ground.
- Wildlife Conscious Features: Lighting is designed with local wildlife in mind. All lighting is shielded away from turtle nesting areas and pointed away from the beach. Lights on the beachside of the property are warmer to be less confusing to wildlife and floor to ceiling glass windows in the main lobby have bird friendly safety measures.
- Energy Conservation: Guest room air-conditioning units were installed with sensors that cut off the unit if balcony doors or windows are left open or ajar, and the entire hotel is equipped with energy efficient lighting with motion sensors to reduce waste.
- Restorative Landscaping: Approximately 75 percent of the site is dedicated to landscaping using native species that can thrive without irrigation, chemical pesticides or fertilizers. By planting native species, the coastal landscape is restored, and habitats have been created for native birds, nesting sea turtles and the Alabama Beach Mouse.
- Food and Waste Reduction: The hotel team recycles all cooking oil and sorts trash into separate bins for composting, animal feed, recycling and more. The hotel also uses plant-based water bottles, Hay Straws and straws made from reusable bamboo shoots, all of which are biodegradable and made from abundant resources.
- Conscientious Menus: The Lodge participates in the Zero Single Serve Initiative, which promotes discontinuing single serve items to guests and practices local sourcing and invasive species fish harvesting to help eliminate non-indigenous saltwater species from the Gulf.