Celebrate Earth Day At One Of These Year-Round Eco-Friendly Hotels Across North America

Earth Day, an occasion of activism encouraging people to help protect the planet and promote environmental achievement, takes place every April 22 in the United States. The first Earth Day occurred in 1970 in the U.S., and now, nearly 200 countries around the globe use it to promote better stewardship of the world. Of course, taking care of the Earth should be at the top of people's minds beyond just one day out of the year, both in their native countries and while abroad.


If you love to travel, you should consider making environmental conservation one of your main priorities, as you won't have the opportunity to visit many of the world's natural wonders if they no longer exist. However, determining whether a destination prioritizes sustainability can prove challenging. While all places have room for improvement, some do much better than others regarding environmental impact. From California and Connecticut to Costa Rica and more, these five hotels across North America go above and beyond when it comes to sustainability, and a stay at any of them will support the ethos of Earth Day year-round.

Inn at Laurel Point - Victoria, British Columbia

British Columbia's Vancouver Island is an excellent island for ecotourism. In Victoria, on the island's southern end, the Inn at Laurel Point leads the charge of sustainability. Overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour, it became the province's first-ever carbon-neutral hotel in 2009. "We are true believers in regenerative travel, committed not only to minimizing our impact on the environment, but to restoring balance for our climate," Eda Koot, general manager of Inn at Laurel Point, told Forbes. A big part of what makes the hotel so sustainable remains out of sight from guests and goes back to its initial design — a hydrothermal system efficiently controls the hotel's temperature, which keeps its energy usage down.


Other sustainably-minded initiatives at the Inn at Laurel Point include donating unused bath products, upcycling old linens, and composting. Plus, its gardens house 60,000 honeybees, which play a vital role in the ecosystem as pollinators. If the presence of bees makes you nervous, don't worry; the property keeps them tucked away in a corner of the gardens. The inn also supports several local environmental organizations that help with Vancouver Island's reforestation and protecting vital habitats for wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest. So, when you stay at the Inn at Laurel Point, you help safeguard the coastal rainforest.

'Alohilani Resort - Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii has struggled with managing tourism's environmental impact. However, environmentally-minded travelers don't have to stop visiting entirely; they should just do so more mindfully, such as staying at a property committed to sustainability. One option is 'Alohilani Resort in Honolulu's Waikiki neighborhood, which has one of the world's most famous beaches. It was the first Hawaii hotel to pledge to be internationally certified as carbon neutral. It has already achieved one step in that direction: all its electricity comes from renewable sources — an impressive feat for a property with two towers, 39 floors, 839 guest rooms, a spa, and a rooftop pool.


'Alohilani Resort has partnered with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to plant 100,000 indigenous trees on Oahu, donating a portion of every guest's stay towards that cause. Plus, it doesn't utilize single-use plastics, takeout containers from its restaurants are compostable, and the landscaping consists of drought-tolerant and native plants. 'Alohilani Resort has also participated in the Mālama Hawaii program in the past, where guests get incentives for giving back and volunteering during their trip to Hawaii. At one point, guests who booked the Unforgettable, Soulful Hawaii package received a $200 credit to use at the resort's multiple restaurants and the chance to plant a tree at Gunstock Ranch on the North Shore, among other benefits.


Hotel Belmar - Monteverde, Costa Rica

If you want to plan an incredible family vacation to Costa Rica that is also planet-friendly, consider booking a stay at the Hotel Belmar in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. The 26-room family-owned boutique property is Costa Rica's first-ever carbon-neutral certified hotel. You can even make your visit carbon-negative by donating to its "Offset Your Footprint" program. Guests will find the minibar stocked with local and organic items and biodegradable and organic bath products in their rooms. Throughout the property, you'll also have a hard time finding any plastic.


The hotel's commitment to sustainability extends to its Restaurante Celajes, where it serves farm-to-table food and drinks using ingredients from its organic farm and garden. It composts all the kitchen leftovers and uses them as animal feed to help complete the cycle. Touring the hotel's farm, Finca Madre Tierra, you can learn more about its regenerative agriculture program. You can also embark on a birding experience or climb ficus trees — taking time to connect with nature can help inspire greater care for the environment.

Two Bunch Palms - Desert Hot Springs, California

Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs in California's Coachella Valley is a picturesque adults-only retreat where you can soak in the area's natural mineral-rich water; it's been a wellness destination for decades. The resort isn't just about wellness for the guests; it's also dedicated to wellness for the planet. Two Bunch Palms is North America's first-ever carbon-neutral resort, thanks to the energy provided by its 4-acre solar farm.


The company has installed energy- and water-efficient fixtures throughout the resort and uses biodegradable cleaning products. The restaurant at Two Bunch Palms utilizes local ingredients in its seasonal menu whenever possible—some as local as from its own gardens—and guests get reusable water bottles for their stays. Beyond the resort's buildings, it has worked to update the landscaping to remove invasive, water-hungry plants like tamarisk trees in favor of more native, drought-resistant plants.

Hotel Marcel - New Haven, Connecticut

From the outside, the Hotel Marcel in New Haven, Connecticut, doesn't exactly shout eco-friendly, thanks to its brutalist architectural design — it was built in the 1960s to be the headquarters for the Armstrong Rubber Company. However, sustainability played a significant role in converting the former office building on the National Register of Historic Places into a hotel in the 2020s. Thanks to its energy efficiency, it's platinum LEED certified and the country's first certified Passive House hotel. Hotel Marcel stands out in terms of sustainability in multiple ways: all the electricity in the 165-room hotel comes from its solar panels rather than fossil fuels, it composts uneaten food and kitchen scraps, and it bypasses single-use plastic whenever possible.


Creating the hotel out of an already existing building went a long way towards achieving its impressive eco-friendly status. Bruce Becker, whose architecture firm Becker + Becker owns and worked on the design of the Hotel Marcel, told CNN, "You have to reuse, recycle and reinvent existing buildings to be truly sustainable." The renovation utlized the materials already there whenever it could, repurposing aspects like light fixtures and using locally sourced materials and furniture as much as possible, which also helped reduce its carbon footprint.