LEED-Certified

The Rooftop Kitchen Garden at Crosby Street Hotel

In Manhattan, it can be tough to find a whole lot of green outside of Central Park (except for maybe the occasional desk plant). But a handful of hotels have begun to incorporate more green into their daily operations, and we found a hotel that has found a unique way to bring a little bit of nature to its hip downtown location.

The Crosby Street Hotel in the heart of SoHo recently started its Rooftop Kitchen Garden. And while plenty of hotels these days are using herbs and veggies from their own gardens, Crosby Street takes it a step further: Not only is its garden producing watermelons and chicken eggs, but it also serves the higher purpose of “green roof,” meaning it keeps heating and cooling costs down by absorbing heat from the sun.

What comes out of the garden

The garden at Crosby Street grows blueberries, tomatoes, flowers, herbs, and even watermelons (which they recently used in cocktails at the Crosby Street Terrace Bar). They also recently installed a chicken coop that has four chickens running around, aptly named Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens (sorry, Staten Island). The chickens are still young but should be producing eggs (which the hotel plans to use in their kitchen) starting in October. Nice to know where your omelet began its journey, right?

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The Palazzo, one of the largest hotels in the country to receive LEED certification, uses a solar heating system for its swimming pools.

The Palazzo, one of the largest hotels in the country to receive LEED certification, uses a solar heating system for its swimming pools.

A lot of hotels claim to environmentally-friendly, but how is an eco-conscious traveler to know what hotels are truly green, and which are green-washed  — purporting to be green for good press, without making significant efforts? With so many types of eco initiatives and so many organizations granting green certification, it can be extremely difficult to figure out what’s real, and what’s just branding. To help you make informed decisions, we’re launching a new series to explain the various eco initiatives that hotels take — including recycling, water efficiency, and energy conservation programs  — and we’ll spotlight a couple of great hotels that really go the extra mile in each category. Of course, succeeding at one initiative does not a green hotel make, and at the end of the day, a hotel is sometimes more part of the problem than the solution. But we think it’s worth pointing out which hotels are making good-faith efforts to change that, one step at a time.

That being said, there are a few hotels that are truly green all around — those that have been certified by the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Submitting a hotel for LEED consideration is prohibitively expensive for some smaller properties, and only a precious few that can afford it actually make the grade — only a couple dozen in the United States have been certified so far. But if you want to feel completely confident you’re making an environmentally-conscious choice, booking a LEED hotel is the way to go. Check out our list of LEED-certified hotels reviewed by Oyster after the jump.

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