Story at a glance:

  • Hotels the world over are incorporating sustainable practices and technologies in their facilities.
  • Some practices these hotels are using include using recycled materials, reducing water and energy use, and lowering carbon emissions.
  • These sustainable designs do not sacrifice luxury in favor of sustainability.

Lodgings all over the world are incorporating more sustainable features at every turn. From Washington, DC to Bogotá, hotels are incorporating new technologies to reduce waste and minimize their carbon footprint. We traveled the globe in search of some of the most interesting sustainable hotels that incorporate both luxury and green features into their design.

citizenM Hotel, Washington, DC

citizenm washington dc sustainable contactless hotel gbd magazine

Photo courtesy of citizenM

The citizenM Hotel in Washington, DC opened its doors in October 2020.

This green hotel is contactless, meaning everything from checking in and out to making use of hotel services can be done through citizenM’s smartphone app.

The hotel is targeting LEED Gold certification thanks to its thermal envelope design, energy efficiency, and reduction in water usage.

Monteverde Inn, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Editor's Pick Monteverde Inn

Photo courtesy of Monteverde Inn

In the hills of Costa Rica, the Monteverde Inn‘s goal is to have its guests learn about the importance of permaculture and sustainability. Permaculture is a natural resource management methodology that focuses on catching, storing, and using energy and later returning it to nature in an enriched state.

The hotel itself implements a number of sustainable practices. The heating and drying is all provided by solar energy. Water from sinks, showers, laundry, and kitchens is recycled and reused, while rainwater is collected for irrigation use. Cleaning products such as soaps and detergents are made with biodegradable and eco-friendly materials.

Stokkøya Sjøsenter, Stokkøya, Norway

Norwegian beach resort Bygdekanten

Rendering courtesy of Pir II Architects

The Stokkøya Norwegian island resort repurposes building materials wherever available for its cottages and surrounding facilities. These reused materials come from other construction projects and a nearby ship graveyard, including curtains made from ship sails, facade panels from an old local bank, and green glass from demolished government buildings.

For Bygdebox, the large triangular building near the waterfront, crews used leftover materials from other projects and a nearby ship graveyard. The multi-purpose area used green glass from a demolished government building, facade panels from an old local bank, and leftover doors and windows from other projects. Back at the Stokkøya hotel (less than a 10-minute walk from Bygda 2.0), repurposing was also key when it was built in 2008. The owners used old sails to make curtains and picked up things from the ship graveyard to put on the wall.

Lefay Resort & Spa, Lago Di Garda, Italy

Lefay Resort

Photo courtesy of Lefay Resort

The Lefay Resort & Spa in Italy is an eco-resort with low impact on the environment and respect for local traditions and nature. It is the first southern European hotel to obtain the Green Globe environmental certification.

One of the main focuses of the hotel’s sustainability practices is reducing its consumption of thermal energy. This is all due to a power plant behind the resort containing systems for producing electricity, heat, and air conditioning using renewable energy sources, including a biomass system, a microturbine CHP plant, and an absorption cooling plant. The biomass system uses local wood to provide 70% of the facility’s heating, while the absorption cooling plant produces 75% of its cooling.

As water shortages in the summer are an issue for the region, the Lefay Resort reduces its consumption of water by using different systems for different needs. A rainwater collection tank is used for irrigation. Toilets and bathtubs that reduce consumption are also used. The swimming pools have a water refilling system that works based on the amount of people in the pool.

Islas Secas, Gulf of Chiriqui­, Panama

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Photo courtesy of Islas Secas

The Islas Secas resort was established in a small archipelago off the Pacific coast of Panama. The resort consists of 14 private islands, seven Casita sites, two villa luxury housing sites, and a solar-powered facility housing a library, bar, and an open-air dining pavilion.

The resort is committed to being eco-friendly, using 100% solar-generated energy, reusing 100% of wastewater for irrigation, and composting 100% of food waste into fertilizer. The resort also only occupies 25% of the archipelago, with the rest remaining undeveloped and left to nature.

Karaya Blue, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

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Photo courtesy of Orior

Latitude 22, with help from partners Orior and Renu Energy, designed the micro-development resort Karaya Blue.

Each resort villa is outfitted with integrated solar electrical systems and an advanced water catchment and recycling system. They also include a home vehicle charger for the included eMoke, Polaris GEM e4, or Tesla Model 3 available in the villa.

Hotel Magdalena, Austin, Texas

hotel magdalena mass timber austin gbd magazine

Photo courtesy of Casey Dunn

Hotel Magdalena is the first mass timber hotel in North America. Mass timber is timber supplied from sustainably managed forests and works as a substitute for concrete and steel on large-scale projects.

The design for the hotel was made by Lake|Flato. The firm is committed to creating restorative environments that reduce carbon emissions and improve people’s relationship with the natural world.

Svart, Svartisen glacier, Norway

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Rendering courtesy of Snøhetta

The Svart hotel in Norway is an energy-positive green hotel being constructed at the base of Svartisen glacier in Snøhetta. It will be the first hotel in the nation to earn “Powerhouse” certification by generating more energy than it consumes. The process of reducing its energy consumption begins with its construction and ends at the end of the structure’s life.

Svart plans to reduce energy consumption by 85% compared to other hotels in Norway, with plans to fully operate using its own electricity and waste management systems within five years.

Scandic Vulkan Hotel, Oslo, Norway

Vulkan, Oslo

Photo by Finn Ståle Feldberg

The Scandic Vulkan Hotel is one of the many ways in which the city of Oslo is revitalizing the Vulkan area. Heating and cooling at the hotel is provided by geothermal wells.

The Scandic Vulkan Hotel is also fitted with state-of-the-art insulation, and it recycles energy from coolers and elevators.

B3 Hotel, Bogotá, Colombia

B3 Hotel Bogotá

Photo courtesy of B3 Hotel

The B3 hotel is one of many examples of how Bogotá’s image is changing. Green hotels and green lodging options are becoming more common in cities around the world, and the capital of Colombia is no exception.

The B3 hotel is famous for its vertical garden with 25,000 plants on the building’s exterior. The hotel also encourages its guests to borrow bicycles to travel and has eliminated often unused amenities like mini bars in an effort to save energy.