Sustainable Travel

6 Features Of Sustainable Hotels

Discover the most important features sustainable hotels implement and learn everything there is to know about these best practices.


When we hear the term “eco-hotel” we may imagine being in the middle of the jungle without a proper bathroom or WiFi, but that is incorrect. The concept people have on sustainability is often misleading, so to get things straight and clear let’s start by defining what a sustainable hotel is. According to Ferrer Hotels, sustainable hotels are establishments that try to reduce to the minimum the consumption of natural resources, the expense of energy or emissions and they take special care of the waste treatment so their environmental impact is as low as possible. 

Sustainable hotels are usually designed to respect the environment and the area where they’re located. On many occasions, they implement to their facilities efficient lighting systems, low-pressure water installations and try to generate their own energy. In addition to this concern for the environment, eco-friendly hotels also try to fit in the area and help the community by consuming local products and services. This way, not only nature but also society is benefited.

morgans_rock_nicaragua_wildlife_trees_wood_jungle
Morgan’s Rock - Nicaragua

When talking about sustainable hotels there are six main features that eco-hotels take into account while operating: environment, community, local produce, energy, water, and waste. Let’s talk about each of these concepts so you understand better what sustainable hotels do and how they help the environment. 

Environment 

Sustainable hotels know the importance of protecting the environment around us in order to leave a healthy ecosystem for generations to come. They work hard to make sure our footprint on the earth is as low as possible, through water, chemical, and waste management, as well as making conscious purchasing decisions that benefit their environmental goals. With their environmental plan constantly updating and improving, they are still searching for ways to enhance what they are already doing, as well as looking into further projects that will lessen our carbon footprint and help protect and rebuild local ecosystems. They implement actions such as reforestation,  tree planting, environmental awareness, and education in the local communities. 

tierra_patagonia_chile_mountains_llama_landscape
Tierra Patagonia - Chile

Community 

Sustainable hotels are deeply involved with their local communities, most of their employees are locals or from nearby towns/cities/villages. They support them by providing access to employment, community engagement programs, education initiatives, financial support, and health services. The goal is to make local communities prosper, grow and improve by working together with them. 

hermitage_bay_antigua_barbuda_community_beach_staff
Hermitage Bay - Antigua & Barbuda

Local Produce

When it comes to food sustainable hotels are very careful of what they produce and consume. Most of them have their own greenhouses where they grow their own food, are all organically managed and designed around building soil health, eliminating chemical damage, and helping to reduce their need for transporting fresh produce. The production of on-site gardens has significantly reduced the amount of imported fresh produce as well as transportation. If the food can’t be grown there they buy local produce to support the community’s supply chain. Leftover food is used to feed local animals or turned into compost, but it is never wasted.

mas_salagros_spain_local_produce_organic_food_vegan
Mas Salagros - Spain

Energy

Using clean, renewable energy is one of the most important actions to reduce our impact on climate change and the environment. Sustainable hotels use different types of technologies in order to use renewable energy in their daily operations. They have solar panel systems, run power off generators, use LED lights, etc. Some even produce their own energy and reuse it in their own installations.

vomo_island_fiji_gym_energy
Vomo Island - Fiji

Water 

Water is one of the most wasted resources in the hotel industry, sustainable hotels aim to save as much water as possible with different technologies and techniques. A lot of them have their own plants to treat water with filtration and cleaning techniques, others capture water from underground natural sources or with rain collection systems. Water is often reused in gardens and for other activities, but it is never wasted.

nayara_springs_costa_rica_water_bathroom
Nayara Springs - Costa Rica

Waste

Hotels often work under the 4 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They all have their waste management system used to support different things according to their necessity, such as water or vegetation. They have on-site composting facilities which help gardens and native plants. Most of the plastic they use has been replaced with alternative biodegradable materials.

santa_barbara_azores_portugal_waste_tractor
Santa Barbara - Portugal

These are the main initiatives sustainable hotels take into account in their operations, some may include more or less. It is important that when you stay in a sustainable hotel you check out their best practices carefully and don’t be fooled into some type of greenwashing. Staying at a sustainable hotel is a unique experience that will make you enjoy every second of it while contributing to the well-being of the planet.

Click here to learn more about EHR's pillars

Similar posts