10 Fabulously American Eco-Hotels

How green is your home away from home?

The eco-hotel scene is exploding at the moment, with new “green” places to stay popping up everywhere all the time. But how can you judge if a hotel is really as environmentally virtuous as it claims to be?

In the U.S., the LEED certification program gives a clear indication of how clean and green a building is. Do they use renewable energy, sustainable building practices and recycled, locally or regionally-sourced materials? Or a careful conversion of an existing property? Low-consumption light-bulbs and other energy-saving devices? Water-efficiency systems? Green roofing? Grey water reuse? Recycling program?

And then there are other factors too. For example, upcycled furniture, non-toxic cleaning products, locally or (even better) home-grown and organic food, bikes or electric cars available for guests’ use or nearby public transport. The list goes on and on. The point is best summed up with this equation: fun+relaxation+eco-halo=happy holidays.

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 eco hotels in the U.S. to clear up your eco-conscience this summer. Some because they’re in big cities, others because they’re in small towns with a big draw (i.e., wine country), and others still simply for being pretty. What they all have in common is their desire to provide an excellent experience while leaving as little mark as possible on their surroundings.

Bardessono, California

With a LEED platinum certification, this design haven takes top place on the podium. Entirely energy self-sufficient (solar panels and geothermal pump) and built using recycled materials, it offers organic food and wine, with free wine tastings and yoga classes.

Crosby Street, New York

A rooftop garden and recycled materials make this LEED gold trailblazer in a converted SOHO warehouse a NYC must-visit.

Orchard Garden, San Francisco

One of the U.S.’s first LEED-certified hotels, this one has a central location, recycled building and furnishing materials (glass, steel, carpets), and a keycard system which turns on (and off) all lights and devices your room.

Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle

The first LEED-recognized hotel in Seattle, with a silver certification, this hotel has the city’s largest green rooftop, water-saving devices and electric car charging points. It also has an eco-friendly spa, using organic marine ingredients.

CityFlatsHotel, Michigan

Another LEED gold-certified hotel, the first to achieve this accolade in the Midwest, this green-built hotel (recycled glass and concrete) in the Dutch-themed town of Holland is designed to let you bask in natural light and has some clever energy-saving devices such as guest occupancy sensors.

Inn by the Sea, Maine

This LEED silver-certified seaside hotel has sustainable power (solar panels, biofuel heating), recycled materials (cork and rubber floors), local food, and a garden created to support local wildlife.

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid

This family-owned resort is the only one in the U.S. to receive the accolade of five Green Leaves from the Audubon Society. Its eco-features include a green roof with edible plants, an in-room recycling program for guests, a heat recovery system for hot water, and the restaurant serves organic food and wine.

Montage Deer Valley, Utah

This LEED silver-rated hotel, located in the stunning mountains of Park City ski resort, participates in a wind-generated power program, was constructed using 15% recycled content, has storm water runoff filtration, runs carpooling, and has an environmentally preferred purchasing plan.

Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Alaska

Hand built from locally-gathered driftwood, this lodge is 100% self-sustaining, running on hydro and wind power, and uses water from its own mountain spring. Small boats are recycled as raised garden beds for the organic vegetables.

Waldorf Towers, Miami Beach

This is Miami’s first LEED hotel (it’s a gold) in a restored Art Deco building. It has solar panels for hot water and electricity, LED lighting, water conservation, and an energy recovery systems for its air-conditioning.

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.

Photos: Lasse ChristensenBardessono, Firmdale Hotels, Orchard Garden, HotelChatter, Hyatt Hotels, CityFlatsHotel, Pacific Punch, Golden Arrow, Room Mate Hotels



Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.