Green Hotel Focus

In Green Hotel Focus, Green Lodging News features those properties that deserve just a little bit more attention than your typical green hotel—those properties that have invested in green building design and technologies, energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, and much more. Would you like to nominate a property for coverage? Contact Glenn Hasek, editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at:

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LEED Platinum Hotel at Oberlin Readies for May Soft Opening


OBERLIN, OHIO—One of the world’s most innovative green hotels—The Hotel at Oberlin—is just one month away from its soft opening in Oberlin, Ohio. The hotel is owned by Oberlin College and eventually will qualify for the rare LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 70-room Hotel at Oberlin is the first LEED Platinum hotel owned by a college and anchors the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, the cornerstone of Oberlin’s Green Arts District, an ongoing development conceived by the city and college to transform Oberlin into a model for environmentally aware economic development based on education and the arts. The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center also includes a conference center, commercial and office space, jazz club, and restaurant that features locally grown and sourced fare.

LEED Platinum Moon Resort Planned for Coachella Valley, California


LOS ANGELES—Moon World Resorts Inc. (MWR), a Canadian architectural design, intellectual property developer and licensor, has revealed its plans for MOON USA. The project will rise in the City of Coachella, situated in California’s desert region known as the Coachella Valley. Triangulated between Los Angeles and San Diego, the Coachella Valley already welcomes some 12 million annual visitors. “We are thrilled MWR chose the City of Coachella as the location for this truly amazing and highly imaginative project,” said Mark Weber, City of Coachella’s Economic Development Manager. “We look forward to assisting the MWR team as they proceed through the planning, approval and development stages.” MOON USA claims it will be the world’s “most innovative, inspiring and environmentally sensitive mega-resort destination.”

Red Frog Beach Island Resort Adds 193kW Solar Power System


BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA—Red Frog Beach Island Resort announced the installation and operation of a 193kW centralized solar power system in Bocasdel Toro, Panama. This system will provide over 332,000 kWh’s per year of sustainable, clean energy to Bocas Del Toro’s most upscale resort. Installed on the roofs of service buildings, these solar panels will provide over 22 percent of the resort’s current power needs and will be expanded as demand increases. Wiebke Krüge, a solar energy expert from SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH, said, “It was a privilege to implement a centralized solar source at Red Frog Beach in such a beautiful island environment. We are very confident that our modern solar technology will reduce the carbon footprint in Bocas del Toro. Our company has partnered with MGM to offer strategic ways to offer financing to resort developments looking to save on energy costs and help the environment.”

Hilton San Francisco Gaining Notoriety for Green Leadership


SAN FRANCISCO—The Hilton San Francisco Union Square has quite a win streak going. On February 17, the 1,919-room hotel hosted the Hotel Council of San Francisco’s first Stay Green Forum. The event drew 275 attendees. “Lieutenant Governor Newsom was the keynote speaker,” says Jo Licata, Community Projects Manager at the hotel. It was a great success. We had almost every hotel in San Francisco represented.” Also in February, the hotel garnered a lot of publicity for being the first hotel to participate in the Better Buildings Challege SWAP, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program that saw officials from Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market swap energy teams in order to uncover new energy efficiency strategies. In December, Hilton Worldwide announced that it was the first hospitality company to achieve Superior Energy Performance certification from the DOE.

Group Germain Announces First Property in Saskatchewan


MONTREAL—Group Germain Hotels is adding a new Alt Hotel to the dynamic River Landing area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2018. The stylish property will be a key feature of the city’s extensive River Landing development project, a new extension currently under construction in the south downtown business district. “We are pleased to be working closely with Greystone Managed Investments Inc., Victory Majors, Triovest and the City of Saskatoon on the opening of our newest Alt Hotel,” says Jean-Yves Germain, Co-President of Group Germain Hotels. “This new location, in the vibrant River Landing area of the city, represents our third Alt Hotel property in the western provinces. It’s an ideal location and an exciting marker of the steady progress towards our goal.”

Host Hotels & Resorts Opens New Axiom Hotel


SAN FRANCISCO—Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. announces the opening of the new Axiom Hotel in San Francisco. Opening at the famed Cable Car turnaround at the nexus of historic Union Square and innovative Mid-Market, the boutique hotel offers 152 rooms and tech-forward amenities. Axiom Hotel is managed by Kokua Hospitality with design from New York City-based Stonehill & Taylor. As a LEED certified boutique hotel, Axiom has sustainability efforts that coincide with the green city of San Francisco. Convenient filtered ice and water stations on every guest floor are not only eco-friendly, but also allow guests unlimited and complimentary fresh water in lieu of purchasing bottled water. To limit paper waste, in-room dining can be ordered through the television, and every room features a recycling bin. The hotel’s guestrooms also feature a whisper quiet, high efficiency HVAC system.

Virgin Hotels Chicago Achieves LEED Gold from U.S. Green Building Council


CHICAGO—Virgin Hotels announced that Virgin Hotels Chicago, the brand’s first property, has achieved LEED Gold certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The hotel and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) celebrated the achievement with a hosted panel discussion surrounding reducing carbon, reaching net zero and greening supply chains in the hospitality industry. “Our goal as a company is to have all our properties achieve LEED Silver, so we are ecstatic to have exceeded that benchmark in Chicago,” said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. “As we continue to open additional properties, we have aspirational goals of moving towards a net zero carbon footprint across the board.”

Largest Hilton Garden Inn Outside U.S. Opens in Dubai


DUBAI, U.A.E.—Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide’s brand of midscale hotels, and Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, announced the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of the Emirates—the second largest Hilton Garden Inn in the world and the largest outside of America and the first LEED Gold hotel by Majid Al Futtaim in Dubai. The new hotel, owned by Majid Al Futtaim and managed by Hilton Worldwide, is located just steps away from the Middle East’s iconic premier shopping, leisure and entertainment award-winning destination “The Mall of the Emirates.” Boasting 370 guestrooms—132 of which are interconnecting—Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of the Emirates provides access to Dubai’s major attractions and destinations including the beaches on the Arabian Gulf.

Casa Marina Resort, Waste Management Collaborate on Zero Waste Event


KEY WEST, FLA.—Waste Management and Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, teamed up to make the Seventh Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit a successful, first-ever Zero Waste Event in Florida. At the Summit held in Key West which concluded December 3, Waste Management and hotel personnel worked together to recycle 90.3 percent (1,713 pounds) of all waste generated by the more than 400 attendees at the summit. The remaining 9.7 percent of waste was processed at a waste-to-energy facility and produced renewable energy in the form of electricity. Traditional recyclables (431 pounds)—including cardboard, paper, and plastic items and aluminum and steel cans—were processed at Waste Management’s Reuter Recycling Facility in Pembroke Pines. Organic material, or food scraps (1,282 pounds), were recycled at the company’s Okeechobee Organics Recycling Facility.

Hyatt Regency Austin’s Green Initiatives Lead to Success in Waste Diversion, Energy Conservation


AUSTIN, TEXAS—The expansion of the Hyatt Regency Austin’s already progressive green initiatives and forward-leaning sustainability practices have led to increased amounts of waste diversion, new conservation measures throughout the hotel and designation of GreenLeader status by the popular travel site, TripAdvisor. For years, Hyatt Regency Austin has been a green leader in the Austin hospitality industry, from its daily hotel operations, to its restaurant, Southwest Bistro, Marker 10 bar and coffee shop. The hotel was the very first in Austin to have its own compost pulper, and has regularly donated barely used shampoos and soaps to charity since 2011, a practice that is now standard in the industry. In 2013, the hotel proactively went even further with its green efforts across the board, with single stream recycling and an eco-friendly laundry cleaning process that conserves both water and energy.

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