Environmental

Hotel Companies Line Up to Participate in March 28 Earth Hour Event - By Glenn Hasek

In recognition of the need to take action on climate change, hotels around the world will turn their lights off for one hour on March 28 at 8:30 p.m. Earth Hour, as the event is called, is a global initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the world's leading conservation organizations with almost 5 million members worldwide.

Green Lodging News Companies ranging from Accor to the InterContinental Hotels Group will participate in the event and will ask their guests to participate as well. Even the sky above the Las Vegas Strip will be a little darker for an hour as properties such as the Luxor Las Vegas, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino dim their lights.

According to the Earth Hour website, more than 1,600 cities, towns and municipalities in 80 countries have already committed to participate in the Earth Hour event.

'With Earth Hour, millions of people from all walks of life will demonstrate their commitment to take action on climate change,' said Carter Roberts, CEO of World Wildlife Fund. 'Turning off the lights is just the beginning. We're asking everyone to also make commitments to reduce their energy use during the rest of the year and to ask their elected representatives to do the right thing because we need climate legislation now.'

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More than 100 Accor hotels across Australia will switch off their lights for an hour. Accor hotels there have participated in Earth Hour since its inception in 2007. Guests staying at Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons and Ibis hotels during Earth Hour will be treated to a candlelight experience in restaurants and bars and will be encouraged to support the Earth Hour effort.

InterContinental Joins in Earth Hour

Guests of the 50 InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels and resorts across Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific will be encouraged to turn off the lights in more than 11,000 rooms as part of WWF's Earth Hour. Hotel restaurants, bars and lobbies also will participate in the rapidly-growing event.

'InterContinental Hotels Group was the first international hotel company to get behind Earth Hour, when InterContinental Sydney signed up for the inaugural Earth Hour in March 2007,' said Bruce McKenzie, IHG ANZSP chief operating officer. 'In two years, this commitment has grown to encompass our entire collection of hotels across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia. We know hotels consume significant natural resources, and we have been working for years to reduce the environmental impact of our hotels and resorts. Earth Hour is a fantastic initiative that raises awareness of the dangers of unchecked consumption and rallies the world to get behind a common cause, for a single hour each year. We'll be strongly urging our guests to get behind Earth Hour and show their support.'

All 56 of Fairmont's world-class hotels and resorts from Dallas to Dubai will go dark by turning off lights for one hour, and in doing so will reinforce the company's commitment to operational sustainability. At the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, guests and staff will mark the hour with a number of 'green' alternatives. At the designated hour guests will enjoy the warmth of a candle-lit lobby. That same evening the resort's award-winning dining room Santé will offer a locally sourced prix-fixe dinner paired with sustainable and/or organic local wines. A signature spa gift and $20 retail credit voucher will be presented to guests who purchase the organic 'Revitalizer' spa experience on March 28.

Starwood Expands on Earth Hour

Starwood hotels will turn off exterior signage lighting, dim or turn off non-essential interior lighting, use candlelight in appropriate public areas such as restaurants and bars, and inform guests about the hotel's observation of Earth Hour through in-room voicemail messages and guestroom television messages. Additionally, hundreds of Starwood hotels around the world are coordinating supplementary awareness events such as walkathons in their local communities, public candlelight unplugged concerts, and guest receptions featuring signature green cocktails.

Dan Ruben, executive director of Boston Green Tourism, says numerous hotels in the Boston area will participate in Earth Hour. Among those participating: Hotel Marlowe, Onyx, Nine Zero, The Eliot, The Midtown, Omni Parker House, Westin Copley Place, Millennium Bostonian, and The Colonnade. Ray Burger, president of Pineapple Hospitality, reported in his blog that the Westin Copley Place will place a letter from the general manager in all guestrooms asking for participation. Earth Hour room keys will be given to guests checking in that weekend, drink and menu specials will be offered, buttons and stickers will be handed out to children, and some staff will don Earth Hour T-shirts.

The Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., will also participate in Earth Hour and at Bushmans Kloof in South Africa, guests will dine by candlelight under the starry African sky at the open-air Embers restaurant.

According to WWF, the event on March 28 is just one step in an ongoing effort to fight climate change. After the lights go out around the world on this evening, WWF hopes that conversations will continue on climate change and that people will take initiatives to make small changes in their lives to be more carbon efficient.

This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.



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