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NAPLES, FLORIDA—The air outside may be a balmy 95 degrees but the temperature inside The Grow House (a.k.a. CropBox) at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples is an ideal 65 to 72 degrees—perfect for growing lettuce and other micro-greens. Since July, Executive Chef George Fistrovich has been growing the equivalent of an acre of vegetables in a repurposed shipping container that sits in the parking lot of the hotel. Measuring 40 feet by 8 feet in size, the container is equipped with everything one needs to grow crops—lights, planting racks, HVAC system, all of the necessary hydroponic components, and a system of sensors to monitor just about every environmental condition. On the day Green Lodging News interviewed Fistrovich, he expected to be harvesting 1,400 heads of lettuce in the following five or six days. He and his colleagues were on their third lettuce growing cycle.
SAN DIEGO—Paradise Point, A Destination Hotel on San Diego’s Mission Bay, has partnered with San Diego International Airport on a new sustainable travel program. The Good Traveler program, piloted by San Diego International Airport, seeks to offset environmental impacts of travel by encouraging guests to purchase carbon offsets in the form of merchandise or add-ons to hotel reservations. For just $1, a traveler can effectively offset 500 miles of air travel or 200 miles of driving. All of program funds will go directly towards conservation projects counteracting the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. Paradise Point is the first hotel to participate in The Good Traveler program, encouraging and inspiring sustainable travel by resort guests. Seeking to make conservation approachable and inclusive for all travelers, The Good Traveler provides participants with a collectible sticker that can be proudly displayed.
EAGLE BEACH, ARUBA—Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort continues to expand its green initiatives with its new LEED Silver certification. Known as the Caribbean property with the most sustainability certifications, Bucuti’s new LEED designation is from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the world’s foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), January through July 2015 was the warmest seven months in recordkeeping history and 2015 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded. Even a fraction of a degree average temperature change creates warmer oceans and rising sea levels that can be devastating for sea-level Caribbean islands like Aruba.
PACIFIC GROVE, CALIF.—Domaine Hospitality Partners, LLC, and representatives from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Foursome Development Co., and the City of Pacific Grove, Calif., announced the launch of Project Bella at a press conference in Pacific Grove. Developed by Domaine Hospitality Partners, Project Bella will be located across the street from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station at the site of the American Tin Cannery, at the end of historic Cannery Row. Now in planning with world-renowned architect Mark Hornberger of Hornberger+Worstell, Project Bella aims to be one of the leading luxury hotels in the United States.
COLLEGE PARK, MD.—College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center announces that it has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council—LEED’s highest level of certification. The designation makes College Park Marriott one of just four LEED Platinum U.S. hotels. The hotel’s Platinum certification follows the completion of an extensive multi-year renovation of meeting and event space, guestrooms and public areas that emphasized green building techniques and enhanced eco-friendly practices in daily operations. This new designation highlights College Park Marriott’s longstanding commitment to preserving the environment. In 2004, the hotel was North America’s first LEED-certified hotel.
NEW YORK—SH Group, the hotel brand management arm of Starwood Capital Group, announced the opening of 1 Hotel Central Park. This is the second property for the recently launched 1 Hotels, and the first in New York City. Known for his innovations, Sternlicht developed the brand with goals of truly upending the world of hospitality through a socially and environmentally conscious platform in celebration of the beauty and preservation of nature. A natural haven in the middle of Manhattan, 1 Hotel Central Park stands one block south from New York City’s largest green space, at the corner of 58th Street and Sixth Avenue. A true homage to Central Park with its ivy-covered facade, the hotel offers respite from busy New York life for visitors and the community. “1 Hotels started from a simple belief: those who travel the world, care about it,” said SH Group CEO and Chairman Barry Sternlicht.
BROOME, AUSTRALIA—Wyndham Hotel Group has announced the signing of a franchise agreement for the 55-key Ramada Resort Eco Beach Broome, an eco-friendly property in Australia that adds to the company’s growing Ramada brand portfolio in the South Pacific. The four-and-a-half-star resort, located just over an hour’s drive south of Broome in Australia’s Kimberley region, provides guests with a beachfront location boasting outstanding views of the Indian Ocean. With a strong focus on conservation, Ramada Resort Eco Beach Broome practices sustainable energy and water use throughout the property, including the use of solar power, fluorescent lighting and recycled water to maintain the property’s expansive landscaped grounds.
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIF.—Having achieved its initial goal of reinvigorating a historic property, the ownership group of Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort has retained Maxim Hotel Brokerage, Inc. to represent them in the sale of the asset. The iconic Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort located in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., is 15 minutes from the Palm Springs International Airport. Two Bunch Palms, the oldest hot mineral spa resort, is celebrating its 75-year anniversary by commissioning a 3.5-acre solar farm. The resort recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation to update and expand its rooms, restaurant, yoga, meeting facilities and IT infrastructure. The first phase of improvements was part of a major rebranding designed to highlight the 600 year old waters, award winning spa therapies, healthier gourmet cuisine and robust movement and enrichment programs with over 35 classes weekly.
MINNEAPOLIS—Radisson Blu Mall of America announced that it has officially become the first hotel in the metro Twin Cities area to house honey bee colonies from the University of Minnesota Bee Squad. As the first LEED certified hotel in the greater Twin Cities area, this further enhances the hotel’s commitment to the environment and sustainable programs. Without the pollinating services bees provide, there would be serious challenges in the production of many common foods as 35 percent of global food supply and more than 80 percent of flowering plants are dependent on animal pollination. Inspired by Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, the Bee Squad helps beekeepers and the community in the Twin Cities area foster healthy bee populations and pollinate landscapes through education and hands-on mentorship. The Bee Squad delivered two honey bee colonies to Radisson Blu Mall of America—each with about 10,000 honey bees per colony.
ANDERSON, CALIF.—G6 Hospitality, known for its economy lodging brands, Motel 6 and Studio 6 in the United States and Canada, announced another of its Motel 6 properties is now drawing power from the sun. The Motel 6 franchise located in Anderson, Calif., has installed more than 350 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that are expected to generate 100 percent of energy used by the property. “We are very proud to see our franchise partner’s committed to finding innovative ways to improve our environment,” says Dean Savas, EVP Franchise and International Development at G6 Hospitality. “This solar initiative aligns with our intention to embed sustainability into every part of the G6 Hospitality business operations.” NC Lodging Inc. opened its first Motel 6 in 2010 and has been a member of the G6 Hospitality family for nearly five years.
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