Eco-Friendly Venues for Your Next Meeting

Who isn’t on board for an eco-friendly meeting these days? Attendees appreciate it, knowing their carbon footprint is kept to a minimum. And corporate bosses get to tick another box on their company’s CSR agenda, adding to their brand’s goodwill.

While the hospitality industry has become greener over the last 10 or so years, there are some venues that take their eco-dedication to a whole different level. It can run the gamut from a city hotel with LEED-certified buildings and processes, to a green resort that fully embraces its natural offerings.

Here are five options to consider for your next eco-friendly meeting.

Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina
The first hotel in the U.S. to receive LEED-Platinum status, the highest level possible, Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, is as green as they come. This elegant, four-star property boasts of over 70! sustainable practices, including a rooftop decked out with 100 solar panels, a geothermal-powered refrigeration system for its kitchen equipment, and a hybrid-like system in its elevators that captures kinetic energy and feeds it back in the building’s internal grid. On the hotel’s grounds, a stream was restored and floodplain created with native plants. Another reason to be a fan: It just become 100-percent employee-owned.

Bardessono, Yountville, California
Another LEED-Platinum hotel, this one set within the vineyards of Yountville in Napa Valley, Bardessono is as luxurious as it is green. The 62-room hotel/spa was constructed of salvaged stone and reclaimed wood, uses an underground geothermal system for heating and cooling, and is powered primarily by 900 on-site solar panels. Organic is the theme here, from the locally-grown foods served in Lucy Restaurant to the organic cleaning supplies and bed linens.

Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida
Located in Clearwater Beach on Florida’s gulf coast, Sandpearl Resort was the first hotel in the state to achieve LEED-Silver certification. The beachside resort’s state-of-the-art a/c system uses water instead of Freon for better air quality and energy savings, and captures that energy from the conditioned air with a heat recovery exhaust system. A vertical garden in the dining room provides fresh, organic herbs and leafy greens for the kitchen. Attendees can enjoy a sustainable swim in the geothermal-heated pool, which is cleaned using eco-friendly ozone instead of harsh chemicals like chlorine.

1 Hotel, New York, New York
New York City may seem like the least eco of places, but not for the effort of 229-room 1 Hotel Central Park, part of Starwood’s foray into sustainable boutique hotels. Reclaimed materials and wood from the city’s water towers were used throughout the property, while large windows are intended to bring in as much natural light as possible for greater energy efficiency. Mattresses are a custom hemp blend and sheets are all organic. Other 1 Hotels are located in Brooklyn and South Miami Beach.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico
Fairmont Mayakoba was designed to be sensitive to the pristine tropical nature that stretches throughout the Riviera Maya south of Cancun. The 401-room eco-retreat is set just off the beach along canals that wind through a mangrove forest, where fish, turtles and migratory birds abound among a development that seeks to minimize its impact. Groups can take advantage of a network of nature trails on foot or bike, and learn more about the region’s flora and fauna from the hotel’s ecology manager. And golfer’s take note: If your golf cart veers to close to the surrounding nature preserve, it automatically shuts off.

Photo credits:

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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