7 Romantic Green Hotels to Wow Your Sweetheart
Photo via Sundance Resort
We're all trying to cut back a little these days--both environmentally and financially--but every now and then you just need to get away. Sometimes it's easy: find an eco-friendly hotel a few hours from home--or in one of our green city guides--pack a bag, and go. Sometimes it takes a little more effort, though (on, say, Valentine's Day) and that's where our list of romantic green destinations comes in. Whether you prefer warm weather or cold, the Northeast or the Midwest, Hawaii or the Keys, there's a green hotel just calling your name.
1. Eden House, Key West, Florida
Photo via Eden House
The Florida Keys won their place as an icon of romantic travel when the Beach Boys included them in the chorus for "Kokomo," that classic tune about escaping with the one you love for "cocktails and moonlit nights." Make your own sweet music at the Eden House, where palm trees shade the pool while couples hold hands in hammocks. The hotel--housed in a 1920s-era building--has taken its own green steps by installing low-flow shower heads and compact fluorescent bulbs, putting out corn-based paper cups instead of plastic, and doing away with individual travel-size shampoo and soap in favor of wall-mounted, refillable dispensers. You can't take them home--but it's better that way.
2. Avalon Hotel and Spa, Portland, OregonPhoto via Avalon Hotel and Spa
If you're the couple whose idea of romance is getting lost in a crowd, then try an urban retreat at the Silver LEED-certified Avalon Hotel and Spa in Portland, Oregon, where recycling buckets are standard in every room and guests who show up in hybrid cars get plum parking spots. It's the best of both worlds with peaceful river views only a mile from the hustle and bustle of downtown, which makes it easy to snuggle up in your room after your couples aromatherapy massage--or to head out to some of the city's most romantic restaurants.
3. Gaia Napa Valley, American Canyon, CAPhoto via Gaia Napa Valley Gaia Napa Valley is the first U.S. hotel with Gold LEED certification--most other hotels get the bronze. So how'd they do it? The sealants, paints, and adhesives are all low-VOC; skylights throughout the hotel take advantage of California's naturally sunny climate; and the property uses 40 percent less water than comparable facilities by including low-flush toilets. If that's not enough to impress your sweetie, book the romance package--which includes a couples massage at the on-site spa--for a perfect finishing touch.
4. Mauna Lani Resort, Kohala Coast, HawaiiPhoto via Mauna Lani Resort
Need a real getaway? Leave the continental U.S. behind with a stay at Hawaii's Mauna Lani Resort, where guestrooms, bungalows, and private villas offer varying levels of privacy to match your own ideal vacation. Spend the morning at a golf clinic and the afternoon in the beach cabanas, or borrow bicycles for a carbon-neutral trip around the grounds. Last year, the resort was named one of the Top Luxury Eco-Friendly Beach Destinations by Conde Nast Traveler; eco-friendly initiatives include three acres of solar panels that provide more electricity than those at any other resort in the world.