We first learned of the Fairmont Hotel chain's environmental policies when we toured the roof of Toronto's Fairmont Royal York this summer, and talked then about its Green Partnership, introducing sustainable best practices to the hotel industry. In Arizona, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort just won a "Good Earthkeeping Award" from the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association for adopting a desert tortoise named Monty and other green practices. We find this interesting because this ain't no eco-b&b;, but a big, honking expensive mainstream hotel. It is a daunting task to be a green hotel in Scottsdale- there is little water and it is very hot in summer, but they have gone a long way:
-changing the landscaping to feature less thirsty greenery and converting golf carts from gas to electricity;
-adding sensors to lights on all closets and storage areas;
-recycling almost everything-paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastic.
They also promote conservation programs and run an eco-tour, which spotlights desert flora and fauna and ends up at Monty the tortoise's habitat. The Fairmont also tunes in guests and employees to the needs of the desert by adopting a mile of highway, promoting guided hikes and other programs with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, and offering group talks and presentations by Adobe Mountain Wildlife, a rescue and rehabilitation center.
Scottsdale in summer is the most bizzare extreme mix of extravagance and waste, where one can barely move outside of the bubbles of hotel to air-conditioned car to mall. Frank Lloyd Wright had the good sense to get out of town and go back to Wisconsin each summer. We are pleased to see that at least one of these big artificial bubbles is trying to do something. ::East Valley Tribune and ::Fairmont Scottsdale Princess