Stella Awards 2020: Best Sustainability Initiative

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best sustainability 1

Gold: Seaport Hotel

Since opening in 1998, the Seaport Hotel in Boston has led the way on sustainability in the hospitality industry. It was the first hotel in Boston to provide in-room recycling services, as well as the first in the city to offer a complementary electric vehicle charging station. The property continues to expand on its sustainability initiatives each year, with the help of the Seaport Green Team. 

The Seaport has saved an estimated 2.3 million gallons of water since 2006, when it first began allowing guests to reuse towels and linens instead of having them changed daily. In addition, all 428 guest rooms are outfitted with LED lighting, thermo-glass windows that conserve energy, and an energy management solution that automatically turns off the heating and lighting when guests leave the room. Bulk dispensers have replaced individual shampoo and conditional containers, saving an estimated 100,000 bottles from landfill each year.

Guests have access to complimentary bicycles. The hotel is surrounded by a 2.1-acre park, which includes seven beehives and an organic garden that provides herbs and vegetables for the property's restaurants. Food waste and grease are collected and converted into biogas for heating and electricity. The Seaport also recently launched a Cooking for the Community initiative in partnership with the Boston Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization focused on homelessness. Starting in 2019, the hotel pledged to donate $1 per person for every group that hosts a cooking event in Seaport's Action Kitchen. The Seaport also donated over 5,000 pounds of food to the Rescue Mission over the past year.  

Silver: InterContinental New York Barclay

In the midst of Midtown Manhattan is the InterContinental New York Barclay, a luxurious hotel that raises the bar on sustainability. In fact, the property has exceeded its IHG goal for sustainability and carbon reduction by double digits. 

The New York hotel features energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems, as well as low-flow shower heads and toilets. A rooftop garden is used to grow herbs and vegetables for food and beverage offerings. Food waste is donated to Crossroads Community, a local food pantry and homeless shelter. A sustainability committee meets biweekly to develop new initiatives. 

Bronze: Foxwoods Resort Casino

Tucked away in Ledyard, Conn., is the Foxwoods Resort Casino. The property, which welcomes an annual 12 million visitors, is committed to environmentally friendly practices and revamped its recycling program in 2019. As a result, 7,300 tons of waste were converted into clean energy. The resort was also able to conserve 7.5 million kilowatts of electricity, 6,526 trees and 3.5 million gallons of water. This is enough to power 720 homes for a year, produce 80 million sheets of newspaper and meet the fresh water needs of 46,771 people. In addition, Foxwoods' sustainability initiatives prevented 617 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.  

Finalist: Gurney's Star Island Resort & Marina

New to Hamptons, N.Y., is Gurney's Star Island Resort & Marina. Opened in 2019, the waterfront resort features four dining options with a focus on sustainable and seasonal menus. The Showfish, the hotel's centerpiece restaurant, offers fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen. In addition, nearly all produce is sourced from farms within 20 miles of the property. Even the cocktails at the Showfish Bar are crafted using sustainable and local ingredients. 


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Gold: The Palms Hotel & Spa

This tropical oasis in the heart of Miami Beach is inspired by nature and continually strives to improve its environmental efforts. In fact, the Palms Hotel & Spa is a founding member of the destination's Plastic Free Miami Beach initiative. The resort has also been recognized by Tripadvisor and Florida's Green Lodging Program for its sustainability initiatives. 

All 251 rooms on the property are equipped with LED lighting, low-flow faucets and sinks, and EcoSmart Energy Management Systems that are designed to reduce electricity consumption. The dining outlets rely on local suppliers, as well as fresh herbs and vegetables from the onsite garden. Groups can partake in eco-friendly team building experiences, such as cooking classes using locally sourced ingredients and quarterly beach clean ups led by the hotel's Green Team. 

The Palms Hotel & Spa has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics on its property. Water glasses are made from repurposed bottles, while to-go containers and other disposable ware are crafted from corn, PLA, plant starch or bagasse. The onsite spa uses only eco-friendly and organic products. A portion of product profits are donated to sustainable pollination research.

Silver: Sandpearl Resort

This beachfront property was built from the ground up using low-emission construction materials. The Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach is the first Silver LEED-certified property in the state, and is a member of the Florida Green Lodging Program. Sustainability initiatives include a water conservation program, energy efficient heating and cooling systems to reduce energy waste in each room, and geothermal pool heating. Guests can take advantage of car charging stations and complementary bikes.

Bronze: Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach offers 343 guest rooms with spectacular views of the marina and waterfront. The property's signature restaurant, Ocean Hai, serves Asian-fusion dishes crafted with fresh, seasonal ingredients. All seafood is locally sourced and all poultry and meats are farm raised. 

Finalist: Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

Nine acres of lush indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls await at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. This upscale hotel in the heart of Nashville features 2,888 guest rooms with low-flow toilets and faucets, and water-saver shower heads. LED Lighting is used in meeting rooms. Kitchen waste from the restaurants is collected for mulch and compost, while kitchen oil is filtered, reused and then repurposed.


best sustainability

Gold: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

The AT&T Hotel and Conference Center's commitment to sustainability started from its inception, as it was built to LEED Gold certification standards. All guest rooms at the downtown Austin hotel feature low-flow plumbing, eco-friendly shower and bath products, and motion detectors that recognize a guest's presence and adjust the temperature accordingly. Reduced energy lighting and green cleaning products are used throughout the property.

The hotel is committed to serving organic, local and farm-fresh foods whenever possible at its dining outlets, including hormone-free chicken, cage-free eggs and grass-fed beef. The AT&T Hotel and Conference Center also maintains a 75 percent waste diversion rate through recycling and composting efforts. Since 2018, the property has partnerned with GrubTubs, which upcycles food waste into nutrient-rich animal feed for local farms. Per the partnership, AT&T Hotel and Conference Center donates an average of 35,000 lbs of compost each month.

Silver: Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

Set on the southern shores of Grapevine Lake is the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. The hotel offers 1,511 guest rooms and 4.5 acres of indoor gardens and waterways. The LEED certified venue in Grapevine, Texas, is a member of Tripadvisor's Green Leaders program. Its sustainability initiatives include a linen reuse program, energy-efficient light bulbs, and water-efficient showerheads and faucets. At least 90 percent of used cooking oil is recycled or used for biodiesel. 


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Gold: The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas continually invests in technologies and programs that reduce its environmental impact. The LEED certified hotel is committed to waste reduction, resource conservation and the use of sustainable materials. Nano-filtration water technology has enabled the Venetian to conserve 22 million gallons of water annually. The resort also has one of the highest recycling rates in Nevada, reclaiming more than 30 million pounds of material each year. All food waste is converted into animal feedstock and donated to local farms.

The venue's Sustainable Meetings Program includes standard operating procedures, such as using 50 percent lighting for trade shows during move-in and move-out, and turning off escalators and lights in unoccupied areas. Meeting menus incorporate wellness options and sustainable sourcing of ingredients. In fact, nearly all standard recipes use fresh ingredients sourced from organic and artisanal suppliers within a 300-mile radius of the resort. A waste tracking analysis is conducted after every group. Meeting professionals can work with the hotel's Green Meetings Concierge team to create a program that meets the highest standards of sustainability.

Silver: The Ranch 4.0

Set in picturesque Malibu, Calif., The Ranch is a wellness retreat that has been hosting groups since its founding in 2010. The resort incorporates sustainability practices at every opportunity. An onsite certified organic garden provides a majority of the plant-based cuisine served at The Ranch. Anything that is not harvested onsite is procured through local vendors. A wastewater treatment plant allows the resort to reuse all grey water. Guests can take advantage of daily mountain hikes, and staff members regularly maintain local trails and remove litter from state and federal parks and beaches. 

Bronze: Pechanga Resort Casino

The largest casino floor on the West Coast can be found at Pechanga Resort Casino in Southern California. Sustainability is also top of mind at this gambling getaway in Temecula, Calif. All 1,100 guest rooms and suites are outfitted with energy-saving LED light fixtures and low-flow water fixtures. Meanwhile, a robust food waste recycling program diverts approximately 10 tons of food scraps from landfills each week. The food waste is turned into compost, biofuel and animal feed.


best sustainability 5

Gold: Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is a tropical oasis on the island of Borneo, surrounded by lush vegetation and white sandy beaches. In an effort to support the local ecosystem, the resort has launched a new immersive guest experience within its 64-acre Rasa Ria Reserve. A Discovery Centre, built with sustainable materials, has been added to the entry point of the Rasa Ria Reserve, which is home to a wide variety of native plants, 60 species of birds, 100 types of butterflies and indigenous wildlife such as bear cats and slow loris.. The Discovery Centre offers interactive exhibits to educate guests about the local wildlife and plants. It also serves as the gateways to the reserve's six hiking trails. 

In addition, the resort features 10 dining outlets, which use fresh ingredients and highlight cuisine from local tribes. Guests can enjoy dishes such as: Hivana, a traditional dish made of fish with lime juice, chili, shallots and ginger; Kueh Penjaram, a dessert made of rice flour, corn flour and coconut milk; and Pakis Vegetable, a sautéed wild green found in Malaysia. 

Silver: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is committed to sustainable tourism and eco-friendly practices. All employees are trained on good environmental practices and the importance of recycling and conserving resources. The waterfront resort also has an environmental manager who ensures the property maintains compliance in critical areas, including measuring its carbon footprint, energy and solid waste generation. Using this data, the manager recommends and enacts new policies to keep the resort as green as possible. 

Bronze: Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai

On the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River is the Pudong Shangri-La hotel. The luxury property in the Lujiazui financial district features 950 guest rooms and eight dining options, with a focus on sustainability. The Shangri-La Group also has a Nature Project, which promotes the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.