Green Luxury: The Delicate Art of Pampering Guests and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
By Michael Matulick CEO, Concept Amenities | June 17, 2012
For as long as grand hotels and resorts have been in existence, hospitality guests have sought the luxury experience; namely the rare privilege of being pampered in a relaxing environment of sheer sensory indulgence and world-class service. That has been the ultimate standard to which hoteliers have aspired almost exclusively for centuries – until now.
Today, an equally significant standard has emerged that cannot be ignored. For many guests, what makes a hotel or resort a desirable destination is its commitment to sustainability.
In a survey of CondeNast Traveler readers, 60.9% of respondents indicated they would choose an eco-friendly hotel over a standard hotel when booking accommodations. And in another study by World Market Intelligence, 43% of travelers reported that booking a green-certified hotel is important to them.
This poses a formidable challenge for hoteliers – providing a luxury experience while simultaneously adhering to green policies and practices. But is "green luxury" even attainable? After all, the assumption has always been that to meet one criterion, the other must be sacrificed.
Despite these doubts, there is proof that luxury and sustainability are not at cross purposes. In fact, some of the most luxurious hotels throughout the world have successfully created a balance between the two qualities – and are profiting in the process.
For example, the Benjamin in New York City has the distinction of being one of only two hotels in the world to earn 5-star, 5-globe certification from ECOTEL. To achieve such status, a hotel must master five areas considered the "cornerstone of environmental responsibility" including – energy conservation, water conservation, solid waste management, employee environmental education, and environmental commitment, as well as three levels of criteria and scoring.
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