The eco experiences are in fashion: holiday committed with the environment, green hotels and sustainable destinations… More and more people prefer this new way of travelling and, to the same extent, the growing offer of ecological hotels, and cities looking for the balance of a sector that has turned a blind eye for years to the reality of its environment, seems unstoppable.
What is green, sells, and many hotel chains have known how to take advantage of this to renovate its establishments and create authentic resorts perfectly integrated in the surrounding atmosphere, and even joining the leisure offer with ecological workshops and environmental voluntary work.
Besides, these ecological hotels always meet a series of basic requirements, such as the installation of energy saving systems, waste treatment, promotion of environmental protection, sponsorship of environmental activities, ecological cuisine and even specialised restaurants in vegetarian food…
Currently there already is a Green Hotels Association that tries to bring together every ecological hotel opening itself up to the world, and to establish the basic guidelines that must be carried out to be considered ecological ones.
As with all things, the fight against the usurpation is difficult because, realising the exponential growth of the demand for green hotels, many establishments and chains have taken advantage of the concept turning it into a marketing element, but without offering at all an ecological experience or at least having the slightest concern for the environment.
Even so, realising the tourism sector need of moving towards the sustainability have resulted in projects that even though we could not consider them as purely “ecological hotels”, they are a clear advance and an important commitment to the coexistence of tourism and environment.
One of the Spanish chains that is working hard in this aspect is the Sandos Hotels & Resorts that now has a hotel in Spain and other resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where all the travel experience revolves around the nature, the sustainability and the protection of the socionatural spaces where the resort is situated.
Mexico is, precisely, one of the places where the demand for green hotels has substantially increased. Some of the most outstanding exponents are the Hotelito Desconocido, in Jalisco; the Hacienda Mariposas, in Michoacan, and the Eco Paraiso in Celestun, Yucatan.
Another interesting destination, in Europe, is the Netherlands. In Denmark is found the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, regarded as the best ecological hotel of Europe, followed by the Hotel Garden Court of Holland.
In Spain, the rural tourism and the cottages have taken on this concept and have integrated it into its own definition and essence, so that the offer is wide but is not so focused on the green hotel concept as on the rural and traditional hotel.
In the big capitals like Barcelona, you really realise that this new type of hotels is excelling, standing out establishments such as the Grand Hotel Central where the Green Thinking Holidays are presented as an added value experience.
Other hotels in Barcelona not exactly considered as ecological hotels but that are making an effort in this sense are for example the Opera Garden Hotel in Las Ramblas, with hundred year old trees in its interior garden, and the Barceló Raval, an innovative hotel in the Raval that has bet on the revival of this mythic neighbourhood of Barcelona.
In Madrid, the most known ecological hotel is the Radisson Blu Hotel Madrid Prado, of the Rezidor group, that has more than 200 ecological hotels all around the world.
Ecological hotels must meet the following requirements:
- Energy efficiency and saving systems implanted.
- Respect for the biodiversity and the social traditions of the surrounding environment.
- Commitment to renewable energy sources: solar panels, wind…
- Environmentally friendly building materials taking the most of the resources.
- Restaurant service based on organic products.
- Having the Ecolabel logo.