It’s more important than ever for eco-conscious travelers to be thoughtful and careful when choosing a green hotel. Fortunately, eco-friendly lodging options are becoming more common in cities like Chicago, so there are plenty of top choices when it comes to crafting that perfect green vacation.
Green hotels all share a number of common attributes. Typically, they’re built to sustainable standards (or are renovated under the same principles, if they’re older construction), meaning they adhere to LEED standards or another eco-friendly metric. Green hotels participate in dedicated recycling programs to reduce waste (particularly when it comes to food and water), use energy more efficiently, and strive for a reduced carbon footprint. Many hotels also serve sustainably farmed fish and produce, with organic and local offerings to support regional farms, too.
Chicago is a city with plenty of green-friendly lodging options, particularly when it comes to newer hotels in the downtown Loop area. From major chains to indie favorites, there are many choices for the eco-conscious traveler. Check out a few of the ideas on this list if you’re looking for choices.
As part of the Fairmont chain, this Millennium Park location participates in the Green Partnership Program, which adopts eco-friendly practices from individual rooms all the way up the corporate ladder. They strive to reduce water usage, energy consumption, waste production, and carbon emissions across the board. They even have an official “Sustainability Team” at each location dedicated to ensuring best practices.
Although this hotel is an older construction, they’ve made significant efforts to be green both in their restoration work and in their daily operations. They’ve reduced water usage and waste, reduced energy consumption, and lowered their carbon footprint. The Marriott chain even globally works to support conservation of the Amazon rainforest!
The Loews Good Neighbor Program incorporates multiple eco-friendly policies which include green decisions like the use of energy efficient bulbs and appliances, regulating heating/cooling to reduce energy waste, encouraging guests to reuse linens and towels, and recycling as much as possible both in guest rooms and in public spaces.
As a Kimpton Hotel, the Palomar Chicago participates in over 100 different decisions that make for a green planet. From nontoxic cleaning supplies and energy efficient appliances to minimal water waste to organic coffee, they have much to please the eco-conscious traveler. They’ve also won awards for their green practices, including the Silver award from TripAdvisor at this location.
The entire Hyatt corporate chain is devoted to sustainability, so any of their hotels are usually a safe bet. This particular venue has significantly reduced energy consumption, carbon emissions, and water waste, as well as adopting little sustainable acts all over, like offering digital rather than print newspapers, and serving cage-free eggs in their restaurants.
The Blu Planet Initiative means that these particular Radisson offerings are making huge commitments to green operations. At this location, they reuse towels and reduce water waste, donate unused soap and toiletries to children in need, minimize food waste at their breakfast buffets, and opt for locally sourced food to reduce transit pollution and support local businesses.
Guests love Sheraton’s Green Choice Program, where they can earn incentives for reusing linens and towels. This allows for the hotel to conserve water, reduce electricity and energy usage, and minimize the use of cleaning supplies. They also offer green dining options, from organic produce to sustainable seafood to responsibly bottled water.
Sofitel is part of the AccorHotels Group, whose Planet21 program is pretty impressive when it comes to green practices and policies. They not only encourage guests to reuse towels (and reduce water waste), they devote the money saved by reduced water usage to plant trees around the globe. Everything from the bed frame to the soap to the cleaning products used by the hotel staff is eco-friendly, and many hotels offer their own kitchen gardens to encourage local produce.
As a brand, Swissôtel locations are incredibly dedicated to sustainability and green action across the board. All aspects of their business are devoted to those ideals, as all hotels encourage recycling, reduction of waste, use of local products, and work with contractors and companies that are themselves sustainable. They also offer incentives for guest to participate in their Green Program by opting out of linen and towel changes.
Virgin as a corporation also boasts a number of sustainability initiatives, many of which are at the forefront of being green when it comes to their hotel industry. They reduce excess laundry and reuse water where possible, recycle throughout the hotel, donate unused toiletries, use energy efficient appliances and utilities, and even have a green roof for better water management.