All that talk of change in Washington seems to apply to chain hotels, too. The formerly run-of-the-mill Radisson in DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood was recently bought and converted into a Hotel Palomar (above) by San Francisco-based Kimpton’s, a swank boutique-hotel chain with an aggressive environmental policy. Minibars are stocked with organic drinks and treats; the coffee and tea in the lobby are Fair Trade and organic; lighting is energy-efficient; the housekeeping staff uses only nonchemical products; and the rooms feature designer recycling bins, low-flow showers and toilets,and eco-friendly shampoos and soaps. 

The hotel also hopes to lure guests with its Art in Motion program. Modern paintings adorn the walls, guests are invited to mingle with well-known artists at evening wine tastings and the bellhops have even been coached by dancers at the Washington Ballet to add grace to all their moves.

Artistry aside, the 40-hotel chain is also making like an ambitious politician and thinking beyond the Beltway. They’ve opened two new properties across the Potomac in Arlington and Alexandria; and new or remodeled locations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are coming this spring. With all their hotels employing earth-friendly practices tailored to location, the Kimpton’s campaign is one worth backing.

Story by Sarah Schmidt. This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008