Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on March 28, 2008
Maybe it’s the Opera House-inspired awning or the Sydney Harbour Bridge (yes, with a “u” – that’s how it’s spelled down there) entrance way, but something about this hotel screams Conservation Centre (yes, “re”) in Outback Australia. You’d almost expect Bindi Irwin to jump out with a troop of grown men dressed as kangaroos, performing an educational (but with the pretense of entertainment) song and dance about protecting our environment. Well, at least that last part has some bearing on the story to follow.
Located in the heart of California’s wine country, the building I’m referring to is the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, the “world’s first and only Gold LEED certified hotel”. This cosy B&B style sanctuary lives up to its title with more eco features that you can shake a didgeridoo at. Each of the 132 guest rooms utilize lumber that’s Forest Stewardship Council approved. Low VOC paints are used throughout the hotel for coatings, adhesives and sealants. Carpets are made from post consumer recycled material. Recycled tile and granite line the restroom floors, which are fitted out with low flush toilets. Gaze out of your efficient windows at the chemical free landscaping while breathing in improved air quality courtesy of your HVAC unit.
But what cements the Gaia Napa hotel as the greenest hotel in the world lies in the nightstand drawer. Alongside the Gideon Bible and Buddha’s teachings is a copy of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.