Eco-Friendly Hotels We Want to Visit in 2020

At Coastal Solar, we not only specialize in solar power for hotels and resorts, but we’re seriously passionate about the hospitality industry. When we’re not installing new systems, you can find many of us patronizing our favorite hotel. And, of course, we’re slightly preferential to anything near the coast

We put together a list of some of the hotels we’re most excited about in 2020. Though the coronavirus has slowed things down and you may not be able to visit all of these right now, you can hit them all virtually. 

And the real excitement for us comes in knowing that we can make nearly any hotel or resort more eco-friendly while improving margins for financial stakeholders.

Hotels love being eco-friendly — it simply makes business sense. Co-owner of the Proximity Hotel, Dennis Quaintance, when asked about the costs associated with developing and running an eco-friendly hotel says, 

“It’s a myth, absolutely a myth, that it’s more expensive,” he says, noting that the couple recouped any higher upfront construction costs in about four years by what they saved in tax credits and lower energy costs. After all, they are business executives first. “It’s not sustainable to go broke.”

Here are a few of our favorite hotels in 2020:

Proximity Hotel — Greensboro, NC

The Washington Post called this, “The greenest hotel in America.” And for good reason — everything about this LEED Platinum certified property is done with two intentional purposes: minimize environmental impact and maximize guest experience.

While some eco-friendly efforts can leave guests feeling like they’re receiving “less”, there’s no sacrificing here. The amenities list goes on as far as the eye can see and includes everything you’d expect from a luxury lodging experience. 

The resort features a stunning two-story lobby with an abundance of natural light, vegetation, and comfortable locally-sourced furniture and refreshments. Floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms continue the natural lighting trend. Guests can order in-room dining from the popular Print Works Bistro or visit the venue in person to catch one of the many live musical performances.

Proximity hotel and Print Works Bistro

Beyond the music at Print Works Bistro and around the hotel itself, painter Chip Holton serves as an artist-in-residence. You can find hundreds of original artworks throughout the property. 

The Bluebell garden will remind you of the reason it’s so important to protect the environment. The hotel uses nearly 40% less energy than the average competitor and offsets additional energy consumption through 100 roof-mount solar panels. Nearly every piece of furniture, decor, and building material is recycled, repurposed, or sustainably sourced. 

With all of these efforts, there’s no wonder that, if you visit their site’s press section, you’ll scroll through a seemingly endless collection of local and national articles, films, radio interviews and more. From NPR to the Travel Channel, The Proximity has made a splash.

Al Natural Resort — Punta Veija, Panama

This intimate Panama resort gets you close to the water (we love the coast around here) and to nature. Each accomodation is one of only seven bungalows that vary in size and design. Every single one is powered by solar and features open-air walls to reduce the need for power to create a comfortable atmosphere. 

Guests won’t go hungry here. In fact, people rave about the meals prepared by the resident European chef at the two-story thatched-roof restaurant. With sustainably-sourced, local ingredients, the ecosystem is protected, too. 

When you’re not relaxing, you’ll never run out of activities. You can swim, snorkel, kayak, or paddle to the reefs (or wherever you want). And, there’s plenty of local wildlife to explore. Take yoga classes or learn to dive, surf, and fish. 

Best of all, be one with the community and environment during a getaway you can feel great about. 

gorgeous resort on the beach

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort  — Fiji

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include another coastal-minded property. This one’s a little further out, in Fiji. But this resort is the epitome of the faraway island paradise of your dreams. It’s not ultra-modern or chic, but simply stunning for its natural beauty. And the location does truly exude beauty — everything in the hotel was built with locally-sourced, natural materials. But don’t get us wrong, the property is in pristine condition and worthy of both the luxury paradise label and the five-star rating it holds.

Spread out over 17 acres, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort offers access to all of the activities you’d expect: hikes (even to waterfalls!), snorkeling, and more. But you also have the opportunity to participate in educational or service-oriented volunteer experiences that will fulfill you on a much deeper level. 

Freshly-curated, masterfully-crafted dining experiences are included as part of every stay in one of 25 available villas, many of which are oceanfront. Relax in a hot tub or spread out over the giant accommodations. 

Want to stay close to the kids and snag some distance? Ask about their included nanny services and Bula Club for Kids. 

Bardessono — Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley eco-friendly hotel

If you love wine, but want to stay stateside, you’ll love the spa resort Bardessono. It’s where “earth meets sky, people meet souls, and function meets form.” 

Each accommodation, from the sprawling villas to the suites, have extensive, private outdoor areas (included in their square foot measurements) as nature is truly integrated into every aspect of your stay. Villas have cocktail pools, outdoor seating, stacking glass doors, and gas fireplaces. And every room has complimentary refreshments re-stocked daily, and more. 

While you’re staying, take advantage of the complimentary hotel bicycles and tour Yountville. And don’t skip the rooftop pool or the included artisanal breakfast bites. Carefully-crafted cocktails and local wines greet you at every turn. 

What’s more, the initiatives undertaken by the resort to minimize environmental impact are breathtaking; no, breath-giving. Salvaged woods, non-toxic, non-allergenic construction materials, organic linens, and cleaning solutions, as well as recycling and composting programs abound. The resort claims that between the 940 roof-mounted solar panels and the geothermal system which heats and cools every guest room, the entire spa and water supply, the resort uses nearly no offsite energy. 

Everything about this hotel was designed for the LEED Platinum certification. You’ll be glad you stayed.

Aria — Las Vegas, Nevada

If you’re looking for something with a little more energy, go no further than the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. The entertainment, stunning nightlife, and famous dining experiences available in the city draw millions of travelers from around the world each year. Aria, part of the multi-billion dollar City Center expansion project, is one of the newest properties on the strip. Its prime location, set just off Las Vegas BLVD, provides a quiet oasis retreat that remains steps away from the wildest of all the action. 

The Aria in Las Vegas

But a visit to Las Vegas doesn’t have to leave you feeling guilty. The Aria is not only LEED Platinum certified, but earned a 5 Keys rating, which is given to less than 50 of over 2,500 properties that participate in the Green Keys program. 

The resort boasts suites with some of the best views of the strip and the floor to ceiling windows mean you don’t miss a thing. Control every aspect of your room with a tablet remote —  draw the shades, dim the lights or order dim-sum — you can do it all. Multiple pools, spa and fitness options, and some of the best shopping in the world all await below your room. This five-diamond resort ensures you’ll have the private, luxurious, unabated experience expected from royalty.

Enjoy some of the most exclusive cuts of beef in the entire world (Kobe A5, Wagyu Tomahawk, and more) at Jean Georges Steakhouse, experience upscale Italian unlike anything else at Carbone, dine at Sage (famous to every foodie in the world), or see what Julian Serrano Tapas is all about. Of course, if a Vegas buffet is in order, the Aria offers one of the best anywhere. 

A place for the truly discerning — fellow guests and helpful staff alike keep the calm, respectful luxury alive. Well, less calm, if you visit one of the late-night bars, MGM Resorts nightclubs, or the vast casino. 

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Next time you travel, choose a property that goes the extra mile to positively contribute to the environment and the local economic and natural ecosystems. If you’re in the hospitality industry, get in touch to help your property take their first steps. We’ll design a plan to improve your margins while minimizing environmental impact. 

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