The top 5 most eco-friendly hotels in the U.S. Photo of a hotel lobby with lots of green plants.

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As sustainability and environmental awareness continue to gain importance in the hospitality industry, eco-friendly hotels have emerged as a preferred choice for conscientious travelers. These establishments prioritize green practices that minimize their ecological footprint while providing exceptional guest experiences.

Below we’ll explore the key characteristics that make a hotel or resort eco-friendly and highlight the top five sustainable hotels in the United States. Plus, we’ll discuss how hotels can implement green practices without compromising guest comfort.

What the Green Leaders Are Doing Differently

Eco-friendly hotels are characterized by their commitment to environmental responsibility, resource conservation, and sustainable practices. Here are some key factors that contribute to a hotel’s eco-friendliness:

Energy Efficiency

Eco-friendly hotels invest in energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, smart thermostats, and renewable energy sources like solar panels. They also implement energy-saving practices like using motion sensors to control lighting and HVAC systems.

Water Conservation

Understandably, hotels can be sites of intense water usage, what with pools, cooking and dishwashing, laundry, landscape watering, showers, baths, and toilets. The most eco-friendly hotels promote water conservation through initiatives such as low-flow fixtures, water-saving appliances, and smart irrigation systems. They may also use rainwater harvesting techniques and offer guests the option to reuse towels and linens.

Waste Reduction

Eco-conscious hotels strive to minimize waste by recycling, composting, and reducing single-use items. They implement comprehensive waste management systems and encourage guests to participate in recycling programs.

Sustainable Materials

Green hotels choose sustainable building materials, furniture, and amenities. They may utilize recycled or upcycled products, employ eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and prioritize locally sourced materials.

Environmental Education

Last but not least, eco-friendly hotels transform a stay into a powerful learning experience by educating both guests and staff about sustainable practices. They provide information on local wildlife, flora, and ecosystems, raising awareness about the importance of conservation.

The Top 5 Eco-Friendly Hotels in the U.S.

Representing both the eastern and western sides of the country, these five hotels have been setting the standard in sustainable accommodations for the hotel industry for some years.

1. Proximity Hotel (Greensboro, NC)

Boasting “sustainable style,” the Proximity Hotel is a LEED Platinum-certified property and the first hotel in the United States to achieve this distinction. It boasts an innovative heating and cooling system, solar panels, and a regenerative drive elevator. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its guest rooms, which feature energy-efficient designs and furnishings made from recycled materials. (You can view a sampling of the Proximity Hotel’s 70+ sustainable practices here.) It’s also employee-owned.

2. Bardessono Hotel and Spa (Napa Valley, CA)

This LEED Platinum-certified hotel showcases exceptional environmental stewardship. It features a rooftop solar array, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and in-room energy management systems. The property’s commitment to sustainability extends to its farm-to-table restaurant, which sources ingredients locally. Bardesson’s working model of environmental luxury puts a strong emphasis on drawing the local landscape into the overall experience of its hotel.

3. The Lodge at Cavallo Point (Sausalito, CA)

More California accommodations, this time set against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. This National Historic Landmark offers luxurious accommodations with a focus on sustainability. The Lodge at Cavallo Point employs solar power, green building materials, and energy-efficient systems. Their spa uses organic and locally sourced products, further enhancing the eco-friendly experience. A numerous award-winner, the Lodge at Cavallo Point has won such accolades as Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Award for Sustainability and the World Legacy Award from National Geographic.

4. Hotel Skyler (Syracuse, NY)

This unique boutique hotel is housed in a converted LEED Platinum-certified temple (a former synagogue built in Georgian Revival style). It showcases eco-friendly practices such as a geothermal heating and cooling system, energy-efficient appliances, and reclaimed materials. Hotel Skyler’s commitment to sustainability extends to its eco-friendly amenities and partnerships with local environmental organizations. It’s part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection of unique hotels that are woven into the local communities in which they are located.

5. The Allison Inn & Spa (Newberg, OR)

Situated in Oregon’s wine country, The Allison Inn & Spa combines luxury with environmental responsibility. The property is designed with energy-efficient features, including a green roof (a mix of solar panels and gardens) and geothermal heating and cooling systems. The hotel’s spa offers organic treatments, and its restaurant emphasizes farm-to-table dining with locally sourced ingredients. A fuller accounting of The Allison’s green initiatives can be found here.

Achieving Sustainability Without Sacrificing Guest Comfort

Implementing green practices in hotels can be done without sacrificing guest comfort. Here are some ways hotels can achieve sustainability while ensuring an exceptional guest experience:

Energy-Efficient Design for Comfort

Hotels can incorporate sustainable design principles without compromising comfort. Features such as well-insulated windows, natural lighting, and efficient HVAC systems can create a comfortable and eco-friendly environment for guests.

Smart Technology That Gives Guest Control

Implementing smart technology allows guests to control their room’s energy consumption and adjust settings for optimal comfort. Smart thermostats, lighting controls, and occupancy sensors enable energy efficiency while maintaining guest satisfaction.

Plenty of Amenities, Albeit Sustainable Ones

Hotels can provide eco-friendly amenities, such as organic toiletries, recycled paper products, and refillable dispensers, to minimize waste without compromising guest convenience.

That Goes For Dining, Too

Offering locally sourced and organic food options in hotel restaurants promotes sustainable dining practices. Hotels can partner with local farmers and emphasize seasonal menus to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation.

Turning Sustainability Into Engagement

Hotels can educate guests about their green initiatives and encourage their participation. Providing information about local attractions, eco-tours, and outdoor activities fosters a deeper appreciation for the environment and promotes sustainable behaviors.

Adding Local Flavor Through Collaboration

Hotels can support local sustainability initiatives by engaging with community organizations and participating in environmental conservation projects. This involvement not only benefits the environment but also enhances the guest experience by providing unique opportunities for engagement.


Eco-friendly hotels in the United States are leading the way in sustainable hospitality by implementing practices that reduce their environmental impact without compromising guest comfort. By prioritizing sustainability, these hotels set an example for the industry and allow travelers to make environmentally conscious choices during their stay.

If you’re a hotelier, property developer, or entrepreneur looking to follow in the footsteps of these eco-friendly hotel leaders, consider’s resources as a great starting place for developing your business’s green energy plan.