PENSACOLA, FLA.—The eight-room Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel, with its geothermal heating and cooling system throughout the property, becomes the 28th U.S. lodging establishment to be listed in the “Geothermal Powered” section of Green Lodging News under “Renewable Energy All Stars”. The hotel opened in late April of this year and was previously the Lee House, a B&B completed in 2008. After being sold last year to the current owners, the Studer Family of Companies¸ $2 million was invested in renovations. The geothermal system came with the property but it, along with new investments in efficiency, has made Oyster Bay a leader in sustainability and wellness in Pensacola.
“Business has been wonderful thanks to our guests and the weddings,” says Jessica Berry, Hospitality Manager. “The weekends are filled with weddings. We have also had a lot of wellness retreats.”
The property was updated to be versatile for any type of event. The exterior of the property underwent extensive landscaping updates to create three unique outdoor venue spaces for weddings and events. The Fountain Courtyard, a New Orleans-style courtyard features a carved stone fountain flanked by oversized gas lanterns that provides a blend of architecture and natural drama; The Pearl Plaza features modern hedged walls and a manicured turf lawn; The Oval Veranda is located off the properties front porch and features a slate patio offering a panoramic view overlooking Pensacola Bay.
Emphasis on Local Authenticity
Each step of the way, there has been an emphasis on local authenticity. “Most of the artwork and pottery was done by local artists,” Berry said. “We used all local contractors and designers,” adding that each guestroom includes a reusable tote to use in the local market.
During the renovation, any equipment was either repaired or replaced. All lighting is now LED. Recycling is practiced—from plastic to aluminum cans to batteries—and there are recycling bins in each guestroom. Plastic is avoided if possible.
“We review information on all the products we purchase,” Berry says. “We use a green product for cleaning and do not use bleach.”
Low-flow fixtures keep water consumption low, 100 percent recycled bamboo toilet paper from a company called “Who Gives a Crap?” is purchased, and guests are asked every two days if they wish to have linens and towels refreshed.
No Plastic in Minibars
There are two water filtration stations on property, minibars only include products in aluminum or glass, and dispensers in the bathrooms eliminate the waste that the smaller single-use amenities create.
Oyster Bay offers an electric bike rental program through Electric Bikes of Florida. “It has done very well,” Berry says. “The bikes are delivered right to our door. They are usually rented every weekend.
Berry says the property’s emphasis on sustainability has made it more unique and stand out. “The bike rental is such a unique experience. We are also in a historic district and have an on-site retail store where we sell locally made products.”
Berry says she is in the process of applying for the Florida Green Lodging program for the Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.