When people travel, "how can I reduce my carbon footprint?" is not always the most prominent thought on the average person's mind. More common thoughts consist of "what time does the flight leave?" or "I hope this small bottle fits TSA rules" and the classic "are we there yet?"
At the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown Charlotte
, weary travelers can rest assured that their green needs will be met. This sterling 146-room-hotel features beauty, class and sustainability all in one building. The hotel is a recent addition to Charlotte's ever-growing center city; it is a part of the 1 Bank of America Center
complex which recently opened. This project boasts a LEED-certified office tower, the beautiful Urban Garden
and Charlotte's crown-jeweled hotel. Within the hotel, welcomed amenities provide guests with the full experience of Charlotte's classic Southern hospitality. Beyond these luxuries, the Ritz-Carlton epitomizes the ideals of new Southern green hospitality.
The hotel's roof features many beneficial luxuries that truly express the company's environmental goals. On the roof, 18,000 sedum plants help reduce the urban-heat-island-effect prevalent in major cities like Charlotte. The Chef's Garden grows a plethora of herbs and seasonings, like lavender, for the kitchen. One of the most publicized features of the green roof is the pair of beehives. Currently, there are 100,000 bees that produce honey year-round. In August, 35 pounds of honey were produced from this year's final harvest. Retrievers leave honey for the bees to feed on during the winter.
The Charlotte hotel features just as many green features as it boasts on the exterior. Guestrooms feature recycling containers and meeting rooms receive water via an in-house bottling system. The conference tables are also constructed from recycled aluminum. Another prized feature of the hotel is its environmental education program for children. RitzKids' Mother Nature, the hotel's "mascot," provides the younger guests with eco-friendly toys and organic cookies on a recycled green wagon. Mother Nature also, more importantly, educates these bright minds about environmental stewardship.
The Ritz-Carlton is also Charlotte's first LEED Gold-certified hotel
. According to Bonnie Crail, public relations employee for the Ritz-Carlton, "everyone within the company [Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company] is very excited." Other LEED-certified buildings in Uptown Charlotte include the Duke Energy Center and ImaginOn
. This gem of a hotel features many other innovative and standard qualities of green travel. As the hospitality industry begins to embrace green travel, consumers are beginning to uphold sustainable values such as recycling and low gas consumption in their mindsets as they trek across the country and the globe.
I would like to give a personal thank you to Bonnie Crail, without whom this article would not have come to fruition.