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ATLANTA—It is no coincidence that big projects and accolades seem to gravitate toward Wes Shirley. The Director of Engineering at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead is always looking for something new to elevate the guest experience, cut costs and reduce environmental impact at the same time. Shirley, who fell in love with building and operating buildings at an early age, has been the driver behind projects such as a 50,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system and a 20-panel solar thermal system. This past week he accepted an award for the hotel as part of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Participants in the Challenge pledge to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. As Director of Engineering at the 439-room hotel, Shirley oversees a team of 12 engineers. He and the hotel’s controller act as coaches of the green team which consists of one manager from every department. Ongoing education of hotel staff is key to the success of the property’s green initiatives. “As hotel staff changes we are continually training our staff,” Shirley says. “We actually start with the new hires but we do training consistently with all our employees. It’s a way of life in our hotel. We also give them best practices for their home.”
GALENA, ILL.—The City of Galena, Ill., already a leader in green practices as a municipality, now features lodging properties that are earning green badges by meeting criteria set forth by the Galena Area Green Designation Committee. Since the program was launched two weeks ago, eight Galena hotels and bed and breakfasts have completed applications indicating their desire to reduce waste, improve efficiencies and meet certain requirements to earn the designation. Once officially approved, those eight will be able to market themselves as green lodging properties to help visitors seeking green destinations while improving the environment and enjoying the cost savings of green practices. “This committee first gathered one year ago to begin creating a program that was achievable but meaningful,” said VisitGalena President & CEO Chris Hamilton while recognizing the first eight applicants last week. “Having so many jump at the chance to join the movement so quickly indicates a desire in our hospitality industry to provide not only great service to our visitors but also to provide that service with a conscience.”
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced Element Hotels, its stylish eco-incubator brand, will debut in Detroit in July of 2018, following an adaptive re-use project that will transform the historic Metropolitan Building into an upscale mixed-use development. Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building will be owned and developed by Metropolitan Hotel Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Roxbury Group, and will feature 110 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to fuel a life in balance and on the move. “We look forward to introducing Element to Detroit with this exciting adaptive re-use project that will retain the historic charm of the Metropolitan Building, while turning it into a sleek and stylish destination for travelers visiting the Motor City,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “On track to more than double its global portfolio in the next three years, Element offers travelers bright modern design, an energizing atmosphere, and everything they need for smart, sustainable living.”
BANGKOK—For over 15 years the team at Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has been committed to protecting the local environment, communities and culture around each of its hotels and resorts while creating authentic, luxury travel experiences and indigenous adventures for modern travelers. With four luxury resorts in the Maldives—Anantara Kihavah Villas, Anantara Dhigu Resort, Anantara Veli Resort and Naladhu Maldives—guests can take their pick from some of the best locations and experiences in the Indian Ocean, including getting up close and personal with the local marine life and vibrant coral reefs, snorkeling with manta rays in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, free diving with whale sharks or cruising the house reef 18 meters below the surface, just a few strokes out from the shoreline. In line with the luxury hospitality brand’s philosophy that environmental responsibility begins at home, the Anantara team in the Maldives joined forces with marine biologists from Coral Reef CPR—conservationists, biologists and ecologists whose mission is to reduce threats and promote sustainable management and rehabilitation of reef ecosystems—in October 2015.
NEW YORK—HX: The Hotel Experience, now in its second year of a multimillion dollar rebrand, and the New York City Hospitality Alliance have formed a partnership, through which the Alliance will produce restaurant and foodservice content for the show, November 13 to 15, 2016 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Alliance will create and present sessions for both HX: ONSTAGE-RESTAURANT, the show’s on-floor center for foodservice education, and chef demos at the new HX: COOKS, the show’s culinary theater.
NEW YORK—The Light Human Hotel, a new eco-friendly brand and concept created by two France-based entrepreneurs—Jean-Pierre Bandeira, CEO of Light Human Hotel and Julien Veyron, Architect and CEO of atelier arcau—will make its first appearance in the United States later this year in Miami. That 80-room hotel on Collins Ave. will be the first of now eight Light Human Hotel properties to open. Additional hotels are planned in the next few years for Miami, San Antonio, Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo, Antibes, Rio de Janeiro and London. Bandeira says Light Human Hotels will go beyond LEED in regard to building health and efficiency. Designed for both new construction and retrofits, Light Human Hotels will offer electric vehicle charging stations, optional housekeeping in some cases, farm to table restaurants, fitness centers with bicycles that generate electricity, and the integration of “live” plants into exterior building features. “Light Human Hotel is not a generic brand of hotel,” Veyron says. “Our vision is that Light Human Hotels are shaped for people to live, to share, to work and to have fun together.”
BONAIRE, DUTCH CARIBBEAN—In observation of World Oceans Day, Harbour Village Beach Club, Bonaire’s only luxury resort, announces a partnership with noted filmmaker, explorer and ocean preservationist Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau, in an effort to raise awareness for ocean conservation efforts among discerning Caribbean travelers. “This partnership perfectly complements Harbour Village’s ongoing conservation efforts,” said Frank J. Gonzalez, Managing Director of Harbour Village Beach Club. “As recipients of the PADI Green Star Award and proud members of Project Aware, we’re excited to supplement our legacy as an environmentally-conscious resort by working with Fabien Cousteau, ultimately achieving our mission to enhance the conservation, education and exploration of our world’s oceans, while exceeding guests’ expectations.” As the resort’s environmental ambassador, Cousteau will collaborate with the resort on a wide range of issues including ocean preservation and climate change topics through a series of high-level Global Ocean Summits held on Bonaire at Harbour Village. Continuing their shared commitment of researching and exploring the world’s oceans, Harbour Village will also host “Fabien Cousteau Voyages.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Hilton Prize Coalition, an independent alliance of the 20 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, announced the release of its short documentary film, “On Shifting Ground,” about the disaster relief efforts of development organizations in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake. The film premiered at Devex World 2016 in Washington, D.C. on June 14. On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The earthquake and aftershocks killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. Among those who mobilized staff and resources in the world’s response to this disaster were six Hilton Prize Coalition member organizations that were embedded in Nepal—BRAC, Handicap International, Heifer International, HelpAge, Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages. Operating in Nepal before, during and after the earthquake, these organizations bridge the humanitarian divide between first responders and development agencies. The staff leveraged their longstanding history and roles in the impacted communities to achieve uniquely localized relief efforts, which helped to mitigate the long-term damage and loss of life.
CANCÚN, QUINTANA ROO—The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) awarded Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort, Spa & Nature Park, in the Riviera Maya with the prestigious ARDY award in the Green Sustainable Program within a Resort category. As part of the 2016 ARDA World Convention, held in early May in Hollywood, Fla., the eco-tourism property, part of Sunset World Resorts & Vacation Experiences received the coveted award as the hotel with the best sustainable practices internationally and was also a finalist in the Special Events and Interior Design categories among the top contenders in the vacation club industry. “The ARDY awards honor those who have reached the highest levels of excellence and those whose achievements and dedication stimulate the industry to reach greater heights,” said Annie Arroyo, Corporate Director for Branding and Communication at Sunset World Resorts & Vacation Experiences. “The sustainability and environmental care program presented by Hacienda Tres Ríos surpassed the proposals by important tourist industry groups such as Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham Vacation and Sheraton Vistana Resort.”
ITHACA, N.Y.—Even though growth in China has eased, the nation’s hotel industry continues to expand at a rate far exceeding other parts of the world. However, many of the new hotels in China do not meet international sustainability standards, according to a new analysis published by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. The report, “Environmental Implications of Hotel Growth in China: Integrating Sustainability with Hotel Development,” by Gert Noordzy, Eric Ricaurte, Georgette James, and Meng Wu is available at no charge from CHR.
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