April 23, 2014
At home, we do our best to leave as little a footprint as we can on the planet. So when we travel, why not continue our earth-friendly actions? Luckily, a holiday in and around Atlanta offers many options for green living – from eco-conscience hotels to nature-centric rentals and retreats.
One of the greenest urban accommodations you can find is on the campus of Emory University, a renowned environmental steward in its own right. Set on a 26-acre forest preserve, the Emory Hotel and Conference Center underwent a recent expansion that replaced every tree it removed with two trees and included the use of only paint and carpeting composed of low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property converts its kitchen waste oils to a bio-diesel fuel used to power Emory University buses and uses only environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and energy-efficient appliances, not to mention serving rainforest-friendly coffee in its dining establishments.
For more city surroundings, TWELVE Hotel and Residences – with locations in Downtown and Midtown – also skews towards green practices. From earth-friendly cleaning supplies and ZERO brand in-room amenities that are free from sulfates, the high-rise does what it can to respect Mother Earth. Rather than using old-growth hardwoods, floors are bamboo and recycling is rampant, including everything from cardboard and plastic to cooking oil.
The Grant Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead – which has recycled 340 tons of material since 2010 – also repurposes its waste cooking oils for bio-fuel production and collects and converts food waste to compost for use in sustainable agriculture. Nearby, the InterContinental Hotel, also in Buckhead, continues the green pledge with recycled and stored rain water in fountains, an on-site herb garden and discarded soap donated to non-profit, the Global Soap Project, among other practices.
If a homey stay is more your style, book a night at Stonehurst Place, touted as Atlanta’s first eco-friendly bed and breakfast inn. Along with gourmet breakfasts and museum-quality art, the 1896 National Register historic mansion practices rainwater harvesting for potable water use, greywater recycling and Solar heated water. Owner Barb Shadomy is also planning the addition of two more guest suites this year.
For a green getaway away from the city, head north to Dahlonega and experience the Cedar House Inn & Yurts. The mountain lodge has more than 300 trees and 30 varieties of edible plants to attract native wildlife and a seasonal permaculture garden. Eco products are used for cleaning and laundry and linens are washed in an EnergyStar-rated washer. Outfitted with low wattage fluorescent lights and low-flow showerheads, accommodations here comprise cosy, rustic rooms or yurts.
Another notable north Georgia environmental warden is Clayton’s Beechwood Inn, which combines a wine country getaway with a strong environmental focus. Menus of made-from-scratch dishes highlight local farmers and ranchers and organic foods are used where possible. From an extensive recycling program to organic cotton linens and bamboo towels in the rooms, the Beechwood’s eco-efforts run the gamut. Non-toxic cleaning products and energy efficient appliances and lighting are also on the list.
Whether you choose a city-centric high-rise or opt for a rural retreat, an eco-conscience hotel will help you rest easy knowing you’re doing your part in safeguarding the earth, both at home and on holiday.
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Have you stayed at any of these eco friendly resorts? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Written by Giannina Smith Bedford