Guide to know if the hotel where you stay is sustainable.

Surely you know that sustainability has become an added value in any type of trip. You should also know that there are hotels that, in an effort not to be left behind, are described as 'green' when they are not. But do you know how to detect if the hotel you visit passes the basic standards to be sustainable?

If you want to determine how responsible you are when it comes to environmental responsibility, here are some criteria to determine your credibility.

Its construction is sustainable

Look at the architecture of the place. Many of the new hotels use recycled materials for their construction, such as wood or cotton for interior decoration. Others concentrate on not damaging the space in which they stand, transplanting trees or creating protected spaces. In addition, there are increasingly more structures to absorb natural energy evident in the properties, from solar panels to rainwater collection systems.

It has a system of saving resources
Maintaining the consumption of resources to a minimum is a decisive step in the search for sustainability. For this, hotels often install lights with sensor controls that turn off completely when there is no one in the room. Another tool is to install showers with little pressure to reduce water consumption.

Help the community or the surrounding environment

A sustainable hotel will do everything possible to return something to the environment in which it is located. Some support the local community with jobs or financial assistance to an organization, while others support environmental conservation initiatives. This information is something that you can easily find on the website, or else, of any staff member.

Use ethical products

Another indicator that you should look for is the supply chain that the products used in the hotel follow, from the room amenities to the food. The vast majority of sustainable hotels have adopted the 'farm to table' philosophy, with seasonal menus based on local farming, organic farms and sustainable fishing cycles.

It has an eco-friendly certification

The last indicator, and perhaps the most forceful, is the certification of sustainability, validated by experts in the field who have studied all aspects of the space to evaluate it. Symbol of pride, this is usually announced on the website, as well as at the hotel reception. Look for stamps like Green Key, LEED, Green Leaf or Earth Check among many others.

Sustainable hotels: trends and experiences

Several WorldHotels establishments are working in the line of sustainability and energy efficiency. With their good practices, they contribute to creating unique, locally relevant experiences that are capable of generating benefits in the environment in which they operate.

Sustainable tourism experiences, friendly to the environment, are already part of travelers' expectations, and hotels are no strangers to this reality. In addition, travelers understand sustainability from a more global perspective, which not only covers energy efficiency, respectful practices with the environment, but also integration with the community and the local environment, capable of enhancing the character and authenticity of a destination.

The high-end hotels have been working in this line for years, including the establishments that form part of the WorldHotels network, they have developed innovative ideas and strategies to increase their sustainable practices and to add this commitment to the guests with an original, relevant and memorable approach. .

Urban beekeeping

Beekeeping is finding spaces in urban environments to grow. Bees are more comfortable in cities since higher temperatures ensure a longer flowering period than in the field, which lengthens the feeding period and the production of honey by each bee.

In cities with low levels of pollution, the bees of the city have several alternatives for feeding and are healthier than the colonies in the countryside, weakened by monocultures. For this reason, several hotels recreate natural environments in the city, also getting local products that incorporate the experience of the guests.

The Atrium Hotel Mainz, in Mainz, Germany is home to two colonies of "dark bees", a species declared extinct in Germany in 1975. In this way they not only contribute to the conservation of this species, they also produce homegrown honey that It is part of the culinary offer of the hotel and, in addition, the surrounding farmers are delighted with the pollination of their fruit trees.

Le Plaza Brussels, in Brussels, Belgium has installed three hives on its terrace. The first crop of the hotel weighed 20 kilograms and, since then, it is offered to the clients and members of the hotel team; similar proposal to Hotel Daniel Vienna, in Vienna, Austria, which also has beehives on the seventh floor.

On the roof of the Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn, Estonia, there are six beehives of more than 60,000 bees that guests can visit virtually through the web camera that shows the hidden life of bees.

Local and proximity products

The demand for local foods and fresh products continues to rise and hotels are no strangers to this trend: many opt for urban gardens or gardens dedicated to vegetables and herbs that are used in the kitchen of the hotel, or agreements with farms or nearby crops for other raw materials, which allows to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the purchase and distribution of raw materials for the kitchen, using fresher products, and in many cases organic and ecological.

Practices of this type are standardized and recognized through entities such as Green Chefs, to which the head chef of the Hotel Atrium Mainz belongs. This organization is dedicated to promoting the respectful use of food, good management of waste, local purchases and products of proximity. They also defend environmental awareness, low energy consumption, reduction in CO2 emissions and fair working conditions.

Environmentally friendly materials and design

Integrating exteriors and interiors through the design of spaces and the use of local materials is the response of hotel interior architecture to sustainability. The panoramic views, interior waterfalls, vertical gardens and natural light techniques are just some examples that allow guests to get close to nature from the comfort of an interior space, preserving the feeling of being in the middle of nature.

This philosophy has inspired the design of Dorsett Shanghai, in Shanghai, China, a certified ecological hotel located just across from Century Park, the largest park in Shanghai. More than 60% of the rooms have views of the park and, in the interior spaces, plants and local vegetation have a great role.

Another hotel that takes nature within its facilities is the Carlton City Hotel in Singapore, which has green walls and vertical gardens in various parts of the building.

Sustainability was also the most important criterion that guided the Anam project, in Nha Trang, Vietnam. In its design, wood from sustainably cultivated forests was used, and it is the main thread of interior design, which fuses the hotel's facilities with the natural environment that surrounds it.

SMART hotels and energy reduction

Technology not only contributes to enrich the guest experience, it is also an indispensable ally to increase the efficiency of supplies. In addition, many establishments incorporate good practices in the maintenance of their water and air management systems, the monitoring of consumption or the use of more efficient, alternative and renewable energy sources.

The Leopold Hotel Antwerp, in Antwerp, the Netherlands the hotel works with Nanogrid, a system that allows to map the energy consumption of different parts of the hotel, controlling and optimizing the system continuously in order to reduce costs and its environmental impact. In addition, it has incorporated good practices such as efficient lighting and ignition patterns associated with natural light, use of biodegradable cleaning products, among others.

The Caravelle Saigon in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is the first and only hotel in the country able to recycle its 40,000 cubic meters a year of treated wastewater for use in cooling towers and flushing toilets since 2010. They have also updated its elevators, installing high efficiency motors, have incorporated efficient lighting and digital temperature control systems in all rooms.

The Stamford Plaza Airport Hotel, in Sydney, Australia, produces energy through solar panels and efficient lighting systems, has incorporated more efficient refrigeration and air conditioning systems with less environmental impact.

Waste management

Luxury is no longer synonymous with waste, but a conscious use of resources to achieve a unique and special experience. It is about recycling, reusing, reducing costs and environmental impact without sacrificing the quality of the experience.

Like many Spanish hotels, El Anam, in Vietnam, has put a brake on the use of plastic by phasing out its use and incorporating glass and bamboo as substitutes, a philosophy that they seek to extend beyond the hotel. In addition, its staff contributes to the cleanliness of the beach, uses recycled water to irrigate the gardens of the complex, and works with suppliers to reduce waste and encourage the rational use of environmental resources throughout the value chain.

Commitment of the guest

The success of sustainable initiatives in hotels is greater when guests are part of their implementation, not only explaining the scope of the measures but also inviting them to actively participate in the process.

For example, the Carlton City Hotel in Singapore invites its guests to reduce their ecological footprint and be part of their environmental practices; a similar strategy to the hotels of Marmara Antalya, Marmara Pera, Marmara Sisli, and Marmara Taksim, in Turkey, which also have energy control systems for areas and rooms that are not being used.