Archive for April, 2014

Top 5 Cities with Hotels that are Saving the Earth

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Going green is a justified trend that is steadily being embraced by hotels across the world.  It’s a necessary environmental movement, and we’re seeing hotels work to engage guests and the community in eco-friendly efforts. Hotels are getting creative with the implementation of organic food and spa products, the use of recycled materials, and activities like bike-share programs – making it easy and fun to go green.

If you’re thinking about planning a green getaway, we have compiled five of author Tim Beatley’s Biophilic Cities (urban areas that are abundant with nature), along with each destination’s average paid price according to the Hotels.com® Hotel Price Index™ and some top hotel recommendations, if you’re thinking about visiting.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – (2013 HPI: $122/night)

This Midwestern city has a vision of green for the next 10 years. Published in 2013, “Refresh Milwaukee,” is a road map to a more sustainable community that includes a Green Team, restoration projects and massive ecological initiatives focused on its three rivers and Lake Michigan. The Brewhouse Inn & Suites is one hotel embodying Milwaukee’s mission. Now a beautiful LEED Platinum certified building, complete with a wall made of recycled bottles and an expansive collection of artifacts, the hotel was once the former Pabst Blue Ribbon beer brewery. Through extensive eco-friendly development, this extended-stay hotel is also an extension of the city’s growing sustainable community.

Oslo, Norway – (2013 HPI: $188/night)

“The Blue and the Green and the City in Between” is the motto of this Nordic city, where 94 percent of its residents live near a park or a green space. Two thirds of Oslo is in protected forest, encouraging residents to embrace the environment around them. Scandic Byporten is one of Oslo’s modern eco-friendly hotels with a focus on sustainable practices for its guests. Eco-friendly foodies rejoice – the breakfast menu includes organic products to support agriculture and reduce the use of pesticides. Likewise, the hotel’s passion for sustainable action continues by deriving electricity from wind and hydro power, decreasing pollution and helping to fight climate change.

San Francisco, California – (2013 HPI: $198/night)

San Francisco is an eco-innovator with the goal to become waste free by 2030. “Renew, Reuse, Relax” is the motto used by the eco-friendly Good Hotel in San Francisco located in the heart of the stylish SoMa district. The hotel is constructed of almost all recyclable materials and is making going green trendy by maintaining its motto through fun activities for guests such as a digital photo booth in the lobby, in-room chalkboards and complimentary bicycles.

Phoenix, Arizona – (2013 HPI: $103/night)

Despite being a large metropolitan area, Phoenix, Arizona is home to an abundance of nature. Preservation efforts in and around the city allow residents and visitors to enjoy the regions’ beautiful deserts, mountains and parks. The Arizona Grand Resort is an official LEED certified hotel equipped with a Green Task Force that implements sustainable practices, along with a completely organic spa and beautiful golf course that was awarded “Best Places to Play” by Golf Digest. The panoramic views of the breathtaking Sonoran Desert and surrounding mountain vistas allow visitors to step right into the beauty of Phoenix.

Singapore – (HPI 2013: $212/night)

Singapore has risen to the challenge of creating a natural space within a highly dense metropolitan area. With community gardens and rooftop greenery, Singapore has achieved the 47 percent green area mark. While Singapore is known as a “city in a garden,” the PARKROYAL on Pickering Hotel is known as the “hotel in a garden.” The hotel uses state-of-the-art methods to go green, including the installation of lush sky gardens, light, rain and motion sensors and other techniques to reduce the wasting of natural resources. The light, airy and refreshing architecture makes guests feel they are in a relaxing natural paradise and far from a busy city.

*The price listed beside each city represents the average hotel price paid by American travelers per night in 2013 (excluding taxes and fees), according to the latest Hotel Price Index.

Visit us at www.hotels.com to plan your next vacation and if you’re looking to save more “green”, make hotel bookings through our mobile app to unlock special savings.

 
 

 

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Do I need to make compromises in terms of comfort and luxury when I stay at an Eco lodge or Sustainable Hotel or Resort?

Monday, April 21st, 2014

In light of Earth Month, we spoke to Hans Pfister, the President and co-owner of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality

For many years, the concept of responsible travel and ecotourism had the image of tree huggers and backpackers in Birkenstock sandals going for days without a shower or a decent meal.  Many of us were probably backpackers (maybe even tree huggers) in our college days, but enjoy the “creature comforts” of luxury or five star hotels and resorts on our travels today.  We think that adventure and comfort as well as sustainability and luxury can mix quite well in a vacation experience.  Here is some help on how to find hotels, resorts and lodges that offer a five start service experience combined with a sense of place, protection of the environment and support for local communities and its people.
Hans1

Choosing a luxury or five star destination or hotel can be challenging.  The definition of luxury has changed quite a bit over the years.  Traditionally, it was about golden faucets, Italian marble bathrooms and exotic items from around the world on the restaurant’s menu.   For the more experienced traveler this has changed.  Authenticity and sense of place, remote and pristine locations, locally harvested and produced food and drink, unique wildlife and nature experiences and connections with people have become today’s new luxuries.

When checking a hotel or resort for their sustainability practices, take a look at their website and look for information on sustainability, conservation of flora and fauna and practices that enhance the development of local communities.  But dig deeper.  Ask the reservations agent about some of the things you read on the website to make sure they are not just PR or even green washing.  And when at the hotel or resort, try to take a look behind the scenes of the hotel operation and visit local schools or projects that are supported by the hotel.  This could be a life changing experience.

When you made your decision on where to stay and chose a green lodging operation or eco destination, these are some of the “compromises” that you might encounter in sustainable hotels and resorts and eco lodges:

  1. Not all the seafood in the world and not even all the seafood in the country might be found on the menu.  Certain endangered species are banned.  Tuna, for example, should be caught the traditional way and consumed in moderation. Certain times of the year, certain species should not be offered.
  2. Air conditioning is not always available.  But usually, the cross ventilation and location of the guest rooms in eco lodges does not require A/C.  In many sustainable Hotels that offer air conditioning, it might be a more enjoyable to open the windows, turn on the ceiling fans, let the breeze come in and listen to the ocean waves and rain forest sounds.
  3.  If your idea of luxury is many free plastic bottles of water all over your room, then you might be disappointed.  They are banned from many eco lodges and instead reusable water bottles are provided to drink the locally sourced water.  This might cost the lodge serious money, but it is the right thing to do.
  4. When staying at an eco lodge or sustainable resort, they are most likely located in pristine nature locations. That means that there are animals in all forms and shapes.  Usually nothing really dangerous, but it is a different experience from the sterile environment of a city apartment.  A certain level of enthusiasm and tolerance for nature is recommended.
  5. Things might not always be perfect.  Truly sustainable hotels, resorts and lodges hire and train local staff.  Many all-inclusive and branded resorts bring in expats to take care of guests.  That might ensure a bit better service efficiency and language skills, but can lack authenticity and “heart”.

If you enjoy freshly prepared, local seafood, can trade in A/C a couple of days for Ocean breezes, are ok with drinking water from a rainforest well, and don’t mind monkeys and iguanas hanging out on your balcony, you should take a look at the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges all listed on Hotels.com.  And the “sacrifices” that you make will be more than compensated by the authenticity of the experience and especially the warmth and friendliness of the lodge and hotel staff that will take care of you.

Tell us if you would stay at an eco-lodge via @hotelsdotcom and @CayugaSH

 

 
 

 

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Most Valuable Hotel Amenities

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Long gone are the days when price was the only factor when choosing a hotel. Today, amenities are strongly taking its place in the decision making process. But which amenities make travelers choose one hotel over another? The Hotels.com Amenities Survey brought some light to the matter by revealing travelers’ top 10 property and in-room hotel amenities.

The survey asked 1,000 travelers which hotel amenities are most important outside of the room. Their answer? Complimentary breakfast. Wi-Fi availability in shared spaces of the hotel was also one of the top amenities. However, this perk only made the top of the list in the favorite in-room features section.

Hotels.com_Breakfast_infographic_RGB

Below is the full list of property and in-room amenities:

Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities

Rank

Hotel Amenity

1

Complimentary Breakfast

2

Restaurant

3

Internet / Free Wi-Fi

4

Parking

5

24 hours Front Desk Service

6

Smoke Free Hotel

7

Swimming Pool

8

Bar

9

Air Conditioning

10

Coffee/Tea in Lobby


Top 10 Most Important In-Room Amenities

Rank

Hotel Room Amenity

1

Internet / Free Wi-Fi

2

Bathroom Shower

3

Room Size

4

TV Facilities

5

Air Conditioning

6

Coffee/Tea

7

Non-Smoking Rooms

8

Premium Bedding

9

Daily Housekeeping

10

Mattress Type

Which one is your favorite hotel amenity?

 
 

 

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The Best of Travel Smart Blog

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Travel Smart Blog has been offering travel tips and advice for five travel-tastic years thanks to the sponsorship of world’s most obvious choice for hotels, Hotels.com.

It has been my pleasure to write each week about destinations, hotels, how-to’s, don’t dos, and the must do’s.  There are thousands of articles on Travel Smart Blog with advice for the single, the newly coupled, the families with small children or even expecting children, and tips on how to handle most any travel scenario.

And remember, you can get more tips and tales by following me on Facebook and Twitter (@travelnicole).

nicole TSB

Below are just a few of my favorite posts over the years:

  • Over the years, we’ve had some great holiday travel tips, this post catches the top tips for surviving a vacation during the some of the busiest times of the year.
  • Traveling with the in-laws is an obvious sticky situation, but here were some of TSB’s top tips for making it a family fun-cation for all.
  • An educational getaway: why stop learning? Check out this video interview sharing tips on visiting historic destinations.
  • A few years ago, we asked our readers to share their best road trip tips. This post had some great advice for saving your sanity in the family car.
  • This infographic about lost and found luggage is super helpful. Here’s hoping that you never need to use it.

And remember no matter where your travels take you, travel smart.

 
 

 

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