If you’re looking for an eco hotel when you travel to London, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty to choose from, starting with high-end boutiques that save energy, reduce waste and serve sustainable cuisine, to more modest hostels that also use energy and resources wisely. Here’s a quick guide to some of London’s top green hotels, plus some low-energy hostels that might interest you.
The Cavendish This elegant establishment is considered by many to be London’s top eco-friendly hotel. In fact, it was recently received the prestigious Green Hospitality Award by Green Tourism of London. In the “commitment to the environment” on its website, the Cavendish pledges to work with its suppliers to reduce their packaging and transportation impacts, purchase fair trade tea and coffee and ethically sourced produce, purchase recycled goods, reduce energy consumption, and use eco-friendly chemicals throughout the hotel. The hotel also encourages its guests to conserve energy by switching off lights and closing windows, walking rather than using a car or taxi cab, turning off the water when brushing teeth, recycling within the hotel, and supporting local UK green businesses. The Cavendish also provides links to several useful environmental resources on its website that guests can access for more information.
The Savoy This deluxe London hotel near the banks of the Thames River has received an impressive number of awards for its sustainable tourism achievements, including Hotel Catey’s 2013 “Green Hotel of the Year,” Fairmont’s Sustainability Hotel of the Year 2013, and 2013 “Green Hotel of the Year” from European Hospitality Awards. The Savoy has significantly cut its carbon emissions by reducing the hotel’s overall energy consumption. The Savoy also donates a large quantity of bedding, furniture and food to homeless shelters and recycles approximately ninety percent of its waste products.
The Rafayel This beautiful hotel boasts eco-friendly dry cleaning systems, along with a sophisticated energy-efficient air-conditioning and heating unit. The Rafayel also uses rainwater for irrigation purposes. Thanks to various efficiency design adaptations, the carbon footprint of the average London hotel guest who stays at the Rafayel reduces his/her carbon footprint by 20%.
The Lancaster London The Lancaster made headlines when it launched its innovative “bees on the roof” initiative in order to be able to source sustainable honey and provide a home for nature on its rooftop. Lighting fixtures have been changed to LEDs to meet the hotel’s goal of reducing energy consumption by 3%/year. The hotel has achieved zero landfill by recycling all glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, cooking oil and food.On the interior, only water-based paints are used. The Lancaster has also created a voluntary agreement with its hospitality and food service providers to reduce food and packaging waste. Food is sourced locally as much as possible.
One Aldwych – Talk about green award winners! One Aldwych has been awarded a Green Business Award from the European Regional Development Fund for the biggest total carbon saving in 2012, gold grading from the Green Tourism for London 2010, London Development Agency and the Luxury Eco Certification Standard (LECS) from Sustainable Travel International (STI) in association with The Leading Hotels of the World. One Aldwych is also one of only six hotels to gain this independently assessed accreditation worldwide, the first in the United Kingdom. Many hotels recycle and use LEDs, but One Aldwych has gone further with its no-bleach policy, replacing chlorine in its swimming pool with minerals, water-saving toilets, and biodegradable packaging for in-room amenities.
For an even more energy-efficient and resource wise stay, consider one of London’s many hostels. You’ll find single, double and dormitory-style rooms that reduce overall energy use; facilities so you can prepare your own meals and do your own laundry; easy access to public transportation; and usually free wifi. Remember that many hostels can be noisy and cater to a twenty-something crowd that likes to party. However, in the off-season, hostels offer very affordable and low impact lodging.
For example, Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage consistently tops the charts for “best customer service” and “best accommodation.” Its location at the Swiss Cottage tube station (metro/subway) makes it a breeze to use mass transit to get wherever you want to go. Like some other hostels, it includes both private rooms and dormitory options.
Check into other options on Hostelworld.com.