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EXCLUSIVE | Top Eco-friendly Hotels in North America

EXCLUSIVE | Top Eco-friendly Hotels in North America

As green becomes the new black in the travel world, these are the hottest eco-friendly properties.

1. The Orchard Garden Hotel
San Francisco
Green light: This LEED-certified (U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program) hotel hasn't sacrificed even an inch of luxury in its pursuit of green perfection. It features nontoxic paints, glues and varnishes, energy-efficient lighting, and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. If it can be organic or recycled, at the Orchard Garden, you can bet your planet it is.

2. 70 Park Avenue
New York City
Green light: In addition to Kimpton Hotels' company-wide EarthCare eco-program, 70 Park Avenue goes one step further with the repurposing of kitchen oil in biodiesel, discounts for hybrid drivers and even an eco-concierge.

3. Gaia Napa
American Canyon, Calif.
Green light: Open since fall 2007, the Gaia was constructed with as many recycled materials and as little energy as possible. Recycled carpet content and low-emission paint also star, as does every luxurious feature you can imagine, including a decadent spa.

4. Zion Lodge
Zion, Utah
Green light: Zion's Green Suites (including sustainable features such as bamboo floors, recycled carpet content, organic linens and key card lighting controls) are testing grounds for the ambitious project of making all 5,000 Xanterra-operated rooms as environmentally sustainable as possible. The Xanterra-operated resort won the Sustainable Hotel of the Year Award for its efforts.

5. Hotel Triton
San Francisco
Green light: Hotel Triton started with an eco-floor back in the 1990s; this spread to all floors in 2003, and its environmental efforts inspired Kimpton Hotels' current company-wide eco-program.

6. Hilton
Vancouver, Wash.
Green light: This hotel just across the bridge from Portland, Ore., recycled 75 percent of its construction waste and continues to live up to its LEED certification by offering refueling stations for electric cars, conserving water, reducing energy use, and with a local eco-friendly philosophy that extends to the hotel's restaurant, Gray's at the Park.

7. Marriott
Bethesda, Md.
Green light: The blueprint for future green Marriott hotels, this was the first hotel and conference center in the United States to win LEED certification for its environmental design.

8. Hotel Monaco
Green light: While it would quite easy to fill an eco Top 10 entirely with Kimpton properties, this one stands out for the way executive chef Jason McClure of the hotel's Sazerac makes every effort to integrate green hues into his kitchen, from eco-initiatives such as recycling, composting food and using organic, local foods and sustainable seafood, to making the switch to recyclable or recycled to-go containers.

9. Hotelito Desconocido
Jalisco, Mexico s
Green light: Solar power and candles are used instead of electricity and accommodations are bamboo, palm leaf,and clay huts in a protected wetland estuary overlooking the Pacific.

10. Habitat Suites
Austin, Texas
Green light: Part of the Green Hotels Association since 1991, natural pesticides (ladybugs!), cooling shade trees and a substantial amount of its power from a photovoltaic system, feature at the Habitat Suites.

Honorable mentions:
Maho Bay Camp, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands;
DoubleTree Lloyd Center, Portland, Ore.;
The Equus Hotel, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii; s
Solage, Calistoga, Calif.;
Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, Hawaii;
The Woodstocker Inn, Woodstock, Vt.;
Ambrose Hotel, Los Angeles;
Seaport Hotel, Boston;
Ahu Pohaku Ho'omaluhia, Kohala, Big Island, Hawaii;
Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; www.innbytheseacom

Also check out Hotels That Deserve our Greenbacks.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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