Where to Stay
Over the years that the Weekly has monitored hotels, lodging and campground facilities for the green incentives they provide, we’ve noticed a big increase in the number of eco-conscious places to hang your hat. Here are a few that earn our eco stamp of approval.
The Equus Hotel
The Equus building was built in 1963 as a driftwood cooperative, but in the 1990s, Mike Dailey took it over and remodeled it as the Hawaii Polo Inn, now known as The Equus Hotel.
They might like horses–they also own the 100-acre beachfront Hawaii Polo Club on the North Shore–but they’re not so high-horsed that they ignore the environment. The first hotel in Hawaii to join the Green Hotels Association, Equus provides only reusable items in their rooms (no paper cups for coffee, etc.) and will roll out a new, totally sustainable amenity package (shampoos, conditioners and lotions) in the next few months.
In a partnership with GreenStar Energy, a conservation company that works with the hospitality industry, Equus has recently installed key cards in each of their rooms to regulate energy expenditure. When a guest inserts their key, he has full control of the room’s temperature. But when he takes the key out, the room defaults to a preset, more efficient temperature, ensuring energy conservation.
Mariah Dailey, Equus general manager, says they’ve seen a 15 percent decrease in energy use for January and 20 percent for February, two of their busiest months. Equus also directs their guests to the nearby bus terminals at Ala Moana Shopping Center and offers access to an hourly-rented hybrid car (through GreenCar Hawaii).
Waikiki’s Outrigger Hotels
Out of Outrigger’s 34 locations around the Pacific, its Waikiki hotels are the greenest (the properties on the neighbor islands are condos in some cases, which are harder to regulate than are properties on Oahu). Because of its partnership with Reynolds Recycling–Outrigger won Reynolds’s inaugural Green Leader Award in 2009–most of its Waikiki properties now ask guests to leave plastics, glass and paper in their room for room service to collect–an estimated 231.5 tons of recyclable items in the program’s six years. Eight of Outrigger’s properties further donate proceeds earned from the Reynolds redemption to Parents and Children Together, a local nonprofit that provides educational services to families in need.
The Whoa!FAT kitchen Oil Disposal Box program, run by Island Shell LLC, collects old newspapers and phone books, then shreds and processes them into boxes that are sent to Outrigger’s Waikiki kitchens, which then fill them with used cooking oil. The oil is sent on to the city’s H-Power plant for recycling into electric energy, preventing blockage of the sewage infrastructure.
Waikiki Parc Hotel
The Waikiki Parc Hotel has really advanced the way guests can lodge ecologically and chicly in Honolulu. In addition to installing energy-saving lights in its lobbies and LED lights in its 297 rooms, the Waikiki Parc also provides free parking and free charging for electric cars. They offer a Nissan Leaf to rent through GreenCar Hawaii. Concerned about water usage, Waikiki Parc upgraded its domestic water system and chill-water plant for efficiency. It also installed a keycard system that allows for guest-controlled environment when inside the room, but defaults to an energy-saving program when the room is unoccupied.
Maui Eco Retreat
They call themselves the greenest spot on the Valley Isle, but it’s not undeserved. This eco retreat was built in a secluded jungle in Huelo and has stayed off the map for more than 20 years. Once you get off the highway, look for the beautiful goddess in the gazebo and you’re on the right track. This spirituality-centered retreat also features sacred temples on its property for soul maintenance.
This cottage retreat is tucked into five acres of Eucalyptus forest in Makawao. By using biodegradable soaps and cleaners and participating in a property-wide recycling program, this getaway checks off most bullet points on the eco-standards list.
Still in renovations, the original Volcano House opened in 1846 as a small shack for transient visitors. When the renovations are completed in the summer, it will have 34 rooms and be a hot spot, nearly literally, for great volcano viewing, as it’s the only hotel within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The House boasts a number of environmental incentives. It hosts a recycling program, sources local food and offers seasonal menus in its restaurant and is an Energy Star partner.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
Mauna Lani acknowledges that golf courses can be a huge green suck. So it’s made sure to offset much of the negative impacts of its courses by installing photovoltaics–solar panels–on much of their buildings. It also waters the turf with brackish water. The turf, by the way, is drought resistant salam paspalum, a grass that uses few herbicides and pesticides. Recognizing that July 4 is turtle independence day, Mauna Lani releases any honu that its caretakers have lovingly rescued back to life.
The Parrish Collection
This set of condos located all over Kauai offers green options such as recycling amenities, filling reusable containers with environmentally friendly shampoos and soaps and energy-saving electronics.