Near Is the New Far
Honest eco-travel no longer requires a passport. These four domestic getaways treat youand the environmentright.
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Striving for the country’s first LEED Platinum certification in a hotel, five-month-old Proximity features green tech that doubles as decadence: One hundred solar panels heat 60 percent of the hotel’s water, and each of the hotel’s 147 rooms comes with a seven-foot-square window to maximize natural light.
Proximity is home to the first regenerative-drive elevator in North America, which captures electricity produced by brakes while the car descends. Doubles from $199; proximityhotel.com
The Lodge at Sun Ranch, formerly Papoose Creek, is about the only eco-resort anywhere that allows hunting, which raises hackles in some circles. But it’s the flying around the world in search of green lodging that makes us queasy, and Sun Ranch is as responsible a lodge as you can find in the U.S. The 26,000-acre ranch works with Trout Unlimited to ensure the cleanliness of its drainages, which feed the blue-ribbon Madison River; since Papoose Creek appeared in last year’s green issue, the owners have begun work on a new six-room main lodge, made with reused materials and opening in May. They’re also installing anemometers to gauge wind power’s potential. So when you stretch by the giant stone fireplaces after a day spent catching rainbows (or hunting free-range, organic elk), you can do so with a clear conscience.
Ten trees are planted in the Amazon for every guest. $900 per person for three nights; sunranchlodge.com
Orchard Garden Hotel
San Francisco, California
Orchard Garden Hotel, San FranciscoSan Francisco's Orchard Garden Hotel
Orchard Garden, one block from Union Square in downtown San Francisco, takes the touchy-feely Bay Area trope and elevates it an ecologically certified level or two. Guest rooms are highlighted in natural wood tones and adorned with fabrics made from recycled polyester; the bathrooms are washed with citrus-based cleaners. The 86-room boutique hotel, which opened last winter, was constructed with concrete made from fly ash, a by-product of coal power plants. To observe the city’s bustle, walk around the rooftop terrace; to tune it out, retire to your guest room, which is kept silent thanks to Orchard Garden’s well-insulated design.
A key-card system automatically turns the heat off when you leave your room, and low-flow showerheads save water. But Orchard Garden is 100 percent on the grid. Doubles from $190; theorchardgardenhotel.com
Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa
Get Back On the TrackReason 6,784 why Europe has the U.S. whipped in terms of energy efficiency: We’ve had no train system worth a damn—until now. For your next trip, consider the two-year-old, five-star GrandLuxe Rail line, which hits cities like Las Vegas and parks like Yellowstone and Zion. grandluxerail.com
Gaia Napa Valley, the only LEED Gold–certified hotel in the U.S., has adopted the climate-change crisis as religion: Even the Gideons have to compete for drawer space with copies of An Inconvenient Truth.
LCD screens in the lobbycalculate how much energy the 266 rooftop solar panels produce. Doubles from $160; gaianapavalleyhotel.com