Way to Go

How to Pick Green (Not Greenwashed) Hotels

by Team Fathom
Post Photo courtesy of Post Ranch Inn.
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On the eve of Earth Day, we’re looking at ways the travel industry recognizes and promotes sustainable hotel practices and connects travelers with conscientious hotels around the world. 
We’ll help you make sense of: 

  • Criteria you should pay attention to
  • The best resources for discovering cool sustainable spots
  • Our recs for unique boutique stays
  • What the big chains are doing (for those who want to put their points to good use) 

You’re doing your bit to be a better citizen of Planet Earth. Maybe you switched to reef-safe SPF, or bring your own cup to the coffee shop, or, after a day of driving, you plug your electric car into an outlet. 

And because you don’t want to turn off your conscience on vacation, you like the idea of staying in a hotel that makes an effort to mitigate its impact, too. 

The good news is that many hotels and hotel companies share your sensibility and embrace sustainable practices in ways both big (building materials, water and energy consumption) and small (plants in the lobby, refillable bottles in rooms). 

The thing is, there’s green, and then there’s greenwashing — and it’s not always easy for travelers (and, ahem, even the experts) to tell the difference. There’s no real equivalent of a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or a Consumer Reports for the travel industry as a whole, and because there is no one authoritative, third-party global body that rates, ranks, and evaluates a hotel’s ecological claims, travelers have to do a little more research to differentiate between slick hype and noble fact. 

The Criteria

Before we get into the insanely gorgeous hotels that will have you booking flights tonight, let’s review the standards, credentials, and seals of approval that can help you choose a truly good hotel.

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We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.