earth day hotel

Earth Day: These Hotels & Travel Planners are All-In on Protecting Our Planet

Written by Kimberley Lovato
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You’ve likely heard of Earth Day, the annual worldwide check mark on the calendar (April 22) that highlights the need for environmental protection. First held in 1970, Earth Day is now a global zeitgeist, whose awareness and initiatives are essential to communities and countries around the globe.

According to the UN, climate change is a planet-wide emergency and travel is a leading contributor. In a recent American Express global trend report, travel consumers cited sustainability and the environment as top priorities for 2024. Needless to say, everyone is in on it too—hotels and trip planners too , and are quickly making travel-for-good the most essential item to pack before hitting the road.

Everyone has a choice in how, where, and with whom they travel, but you don’t need to wait for vacation to lean into being green at home. Here are 12 Easy Ways You Can Help Protect The Environment right now.

Below are just a few companies encouraging travellers to see the beauty of the world while helping to keep the world beautiful on Earth Day, April 22, and beyond.

Earth Day Hotels
The 26-room Hotel Belmar has been committed to the planet for nearly four decades (photo copyright Andres Garcia Lachner – www.garcialachner.com )

 

Hotel Belmar: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Reducing the plastic footprint is at the core of 26-room carbon-neutral Hotel Belmar’s commitment to the planet. The luxury boutique lodge has implemented eco-conscious procurement policies that prioritize eco-packaging and bulk purchases, significantly minimizing their use of plastic.
 
Coupled with the hotel’s robust recycling and reuse programs, Hotel Belmar has made remarkable strides in minimizing plastic waste. Nearly four decades since its opening, and way ahead of its time, Hotel Belmar is a world-class example of eco-tourism that has protected and regenerated the Monteverde cloud forest and its biodiversity while providing educational and professional opportunities to the local community. Among other noteworthy initiatives:
 
  • The family-owned and operated property celebrates eight years without plastic bottled water and the hotel bar is virtually plastic free.
  • An in-house seltzer machine produces plastic-free house made sodas flavored with amaranth and hibiscus.
  • It uses an eco-farming approach called the Biointensive Agriculture (Agrarian) Method to maximize crop variety on small-scale plots through water conservation, natural pest controls, and organic soil enrichment.
  • Its Finca Madre Tierra farm is the first agricultural project of its kind in Costa Rica to earn a carbon-neutral farm certification.
Earth Day Hotels
The world-renowned Ananda wellness retreat has a zero waste-water policy, among other planet-friendly initiatives (photo courtesy of the resort)
 

Ananda in the Himalayas: Rishikesh, India

Located in a Maharaja’s palace estate surrounded by a 100-acre forest, Ananda in the Himalayas is nurtured by the nature that surrounds it.
 
The world-renowned wellness retreat has a zero waste-water policy. Recycled water from the sewage treatment plant is used for gardening and food waste is delivered to a nearby pig farm.
 
The property installed a water bottling plant at the property with reusable glass bottles, which has reduced 99 percent of the plastic waste created by single use plastic water bottles at the hotel.
 
Among other noteworthy initiatives:
 
  • Heat pumps help reduce 1200 kg of carbon dioxide emission per day.
  • Ananda invites guests to make monetary contributions and then matches each contribution to train underprivileged girls in spa therapy.
  • The hotel supports local farmers and uses 80 percent organic produce.
  • Cooking classes focus on the nutritional aspects of less-processed plant-based ingredients to help guests adopt Ayurveda cooking practices.
Earth Day Hotel
Calabash Cove on Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Sea is a popular all-inclusive resort and one of the only vegan resorts on the island (photo courtesy of the resort)

 

Calabash Cove Resort and Spa: Saint Lucia

A popular all-inclusive, adults-only, plastic-free boutique hotel in Saint Lucia, Calabash Cove Resort and Spa is a Caribbean escape offering one of the only vegan menus on the island.
 
With its ability to accommodate most dietary restrictions, the culinary team is constantly upgrading its vegan and vegetarian offerings with new items. The resort also now only serves sparking and drinking water in glass bottles—cutting plastics—and much of the restaurant’s food and beverage is sourced locally focusing on local farmers and fishermen. Among other noteworthy initiatives:
 
  • All hot water is generated by solar energy and there are no oil or gas heaters.
  • An on-site water treatment plant recycles irrigation water.
  • The resort sources from local farmers whenever possible and sends used kitchen oil to a commercial laundry and Saint Lucia Distillers to be used as fuel.
Earth Day Planet
Lodge at the Presidio is one of may historic buildings inside San Francisco’s stunning national park and certified LEED Gold

 

Inn at the Presidio & Lodge at the Presidio, San Francisco, California

The buildings that house the Inn (c. 1903) and Lodge (c. 1897) originally served as accommodations for enlisted men in the U.S. Army. Opening in 2012 and 2018 respectively, the hotels underwent an environmentally sensitive restoration adhering to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the treatment of historic properties and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards.

Both were rehabilitated under the principles of adaptive reuse, the most sustainable way to build, while taking care to preserve both the natural and historical aspects that make the properties so extraordinary. The majority of the buildings’ original features were preserved including the hardwood floors, doors, light fixtures, and staircases. Inn at the Presidio and Lodge at the Presidio are both LEED Gold and there are many interesting touches such as using blue jean scraps in the walls for insulation.

  • These two historic boutique hotels are 100% committed to the highest standards of sustainability and are an integral part of the Presidio, a national park site in San Francisco that is one of the largest historic preservation projects in the United States.
  • Both properties are certified LEED Gold ® by the U.S. Green Building Council and have received many coveted sustainability awards including the 2022 Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion, the Award of Recognition for Adaptive Reuse from the California Heritage Council, and Trip Advisor’s “GreenLeaders” Platinum Award for Sustainability.
  • In addition to historic preservation, innovative green initiatives such as utilizing recycled jean scraps for insulation in the roof and walls are incorporated throughout the hotels’ operational practices. The properties integrated energy efficient heating, plumbing, electrical systems and appliances, natural ventilation, and lighting.
  • The Inn and Lodge also follow green housekeeping practices and has a rigorous recycling and composting programs that divert the majority of its waste from landfills.
  • Water is conserved both inside the hotels and in the exterior landscaping.
 

Bettoja Hotels: Rome, Italy

Rome’s family owned Bettoja Hotels removed all plastic bottles from its hotels on Earth Day in 2019. Spanning five generations with 495 rooms among the three hotels, this sustainability initiative marks the first achievement in the brand’s commitment to the environment. But not its last. Bettoja Hotels has reduced plastic consumption by the elimination of all plastic bottles from the hotels’ restaurants and mini bars, a reduction of 40.000 to 60.000 plastic bottles per year. Instead, they use glass bottles that are returned to the bottle company. Among other noteworthy initiatives:
 
  • The hotel has efficient insulation and uses thermal testing and double-glazing to ensure minimum waste.
  • Bettoja Hotels plans to continue to reduce plastic consumption by using natural substitutes such as bamboo for straws and cutlery and eliminate single use plastic jam containers.
  • The hotels reduce carbon emissions by utilizing local produce and reduce microplastics by using natural fibers for carpeting and linens
earth day planet
Tabacón is 100 percent LED and has installed more than 800 photovoltaic solar panels

 

Tabacón Thermal Resort and Spa, Costa Rica

Set against the backdrop of the Arenal Volcano, Tabacón Thermal Resort and Spa is a sanctuary for those seeking natural rejuvenation.Set amidst more than 900 acres of a pristine rainforest reserve, the 105-room property is blessed with the largest network of naturally flowing thermal hot springs, complemented by cascading waterfalls and serene river pools.

Setting the standard and paving the way for sustainability in the region, over the last 30 years Tabacón has led initiatives including:

  • Environmental species tagging
  • Use of all organic and biodegradable products
  • Integral water management program
  • Reforestation efforts
  • Plant-a-tree program

With 11 open-air bungalows for treatments and local female-owned products, The Spa at Tabacón is continuously recognized as one of the best eco-spas in Latin America.

Each year, the property releases its Annual Sustainability Report, which summarizes key accomplishments while outlining goals for the future. Tabacón has a full-time in-house sustainability team that guides and executes a robust Strategic Sustainability Plan each year.

Additionally, the property recently became the first hotel in Costa Rica to simultaneously achieve Elite Level Certification for Sustainable Tourism in the categories of Lodging, Gastronomy and Hot Springs & Spa, as awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

 
 
Earth Day Hotels
Scenset’s partner lodges and tour operators in Botswana and South Africa adhere to strict eco-friendly standards (photo courtesy of Scenset)

 

Travel Advisors

Scenset: South Africa and Botswana

It’s not just hotels that are doing better this Earth Day. Travel companies are bringing travelers face to face with sustainable practices around the world. Scenset is a luxury travel-tech company based in San Francisco, California, that specializes in designing personalized itineraries featuring exclusive experiences, vetted guides, and luxury accommodations. Scenset trips are expertly tailored to clients’ preferences. Take a look at Scenset’s 10-Day Botswana Journey prepared by Christian Gibney, Senior Travel Curator.
 
  • Scenset brings its eco-conscious ethos to Botswana and South Africa to help travelers contribute to the preservation of fragile ecosystems and support local communities. By promoting ecotourism in Botswana and South Africa, Scenset aims to raise awareness about the importance of conservation while providing travelers with unforgettable experiences that leave a positive impact on the environment and local economies.
  • Partner lodges and tour operators in Botswana and South Africa adhere to strict eco-friendly standards, ensuring that every aspect of your journey aligns with sustainable travel principles. Travelers engage with local communities and learn about their conservation efforts firsthand through experienced local guides who are passionate about conservation and environmental education.
  • By choosing eco-conscious operators and participating in conservation-focused experiences, travelers can directly contribute to wildlife conservation, habitat restoration, and community development efforts.

 

Earth Day Hotels
Ciao Bambino’s contributions to One Tree Planted have resulted in the planting of more than 19,500 trees (photo courtesy of One Tree Planted)

 

Ciao Bambino

Luxury family travel planning company Ciao Bambino implemented Travel for Good, a social impact and sustainability charitable giving program.

Thanks to trips planned with Ciao Bambino’s Family Travel Advisor team, money is donated regularly to vetted non-profit organizations whose work helps offset the carbon footprint caused by travel while supporting communities and ecosystems around the world.

Ciao Bambino’s contributions to One Tree Planted, for example, have to date have resulted in the planting of more than 19,500 trees in Montana, California and British Columbia, which directly supported forest fire recovery; and in Peru, Brazil and Indonesia, where pristine tropical rainforests are on the frontline of habitat loss.

Trips planned with Ciao Bambino have also helped feed more than 30,000 food-insecure families through donations to Feeding America, the USA’s largest hunger relief organization.

Read more about their program here

***

Author bio: Kimberley Lovato

Find more travel inspiration at BeSeeingYou

Kimberley Lovato
Kimberley Lovato writes about food, lifestyle, hotels, and adventure from California, but loves to hit the road in search of a good story. Her bylines have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, AARP, Virtuoso: The Magazine, Robb Report, HemispheresShondaland, Ciao BambinoCN Traveler and many other print and online publications. A lifelong Francophile, Kimberley spent several months a year sipping champagne and exploring  "l’Hexagone from her pied-a-terre on the Cote d'Azur. She’s also the author of a culinary travel book about the Dordogne region of France, which received a Gold Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.  When she’s not booking plane tickets or practicing French verb conjugation, she’s writing children’s books, sailing, hiking, cooking, and forever contemplating why it’s so hard to keep her basil plant alive. www.kimberleylovato.com Instagram: @KimberleyLovato

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