Dreaming of a green vacation? Try using FlipKey

Come mid-January, who isn’t dreaming of a tropical vacation?…We’re talking about solar-powered, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), foliage-roofed homes in popular vacation spots from Taos to Thailand, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Vermont to California.
You can find these gems at a new service called FlipKey, which sorts its properties

Travelocity: Green hotels get better reviews

Travelocity reports that consumers are rating green hotels higher, on average, than their non-green counterparts. When it recently examined the five-smiley face ratings its users apply to review the hotels they’ve stayed at, it found that overall, consumers were smiling more about the hotels listed as green. Consumers gave 83 percent of “non-green” hotels three or more smiley faces, but they gave “a whopping 94 percent of green hotels three smiley faces or more,” according to a Travelocity news release.

Florida Keys Tourism Council posts updates on oil spill

From Green Right Now Reports

Mindful of the tourists that visit the sunny, sandy Florida Keys year round, the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council has added an oil spill info section to its website to keep travelers posted on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the growing oil mess continues to float just off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, weather reporters have been speculating that it could, if it shifted southward, take flight on the gulf currents that carry water out of the area. That could carry oil around Florida and even up the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. to the Carolinas.

Green Spas: Healthier practices serve clients and the environment

By Sommer Saadi
Green Right Now

Spa guests, already conscious about the health of their bodies, are starting to choose pampering experiences that keep the well-being of the environment in mind as well.

They still want to be indulged, say spa operators, but some are opting for experiences and products that soothe and improve, without nature-damaging ingredients.

Rona Berg, editor in chief of Organic Beauty magazine, says spa guests now look at what is in the products, where it comes from, who produces it and whether it is sustainable. Some even want to know if the company they’re supporting is giving back to the community.

“Consumer demand for healthier, eco-friendly and organic products isn’t showing any signs of stopping,” Berg says. “We’re undergoing a cultural paradigm shift and organic beauty is definitely one aspect of it.”

Travelocity guiding tourists to greener destinations

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The multi-edged issues facing the travel industry as it moves toward becoming more green are not hard to envision. First, there’s that sticky matter of getting there – by jet? by car?

There’s a certain built-in, un-green aspect at the core of tourism.

But that said, there are many ways travelers can be less consumptive and more supportive of eco-friendly practices. They can stay at conservation-minded hotels; places that don’t wash your sheets automatically every day; that serve local food and arrange low-impact tours for guests.

Online travel company Travelocity has taken its first steps toward helping consumers find and patronize greener destinations by launching an eco-friendly directory. The Green Directory aims to help travelers sort the green from the “green washed,” and so far features more than 200 hotels and resorts many of which already claim to be carbon neutral, according to the company.

Hike Inn — to a green lodge in Georgia

By Clint Williams

Set atop a ridge overlooking the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains, the Len Foote Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park in north Georgia offers a sweeping view of the foothills, the lights of the old gold-rush town of Dahlonega and distant peaks to the east. The 20-room lodge, celebrating its 10th anniversary in October, also offers a close-up view of how thoughtful design and day-to-day diligence combine for low-impact living.

The Hike Inn was built for those who love the outdoors, but aren’t so crazy about sleeping on the ground. Guests arrive on foot, hiking a five-mile trail that takes you through a deeply shaded forest of oak and pine, tulip poplar and maple; through tunnels of rhododendron and patches of pungent galax, a broadleaf evergreen groundcover. Your steps will be lighter, though, knowing that a hot shower and hot meal are waiting for a you at the end of the trail.

The inn, named for the naturalist who inspired the Mark Trail newspaper comic strip, was designed to provide accommodations “somewhere between a tent and a Holiday Inn,” says architect Garland Reynolds of nearby Gainesville, Ga.

Traditional Japanese inns inspire the steeply pitched roofs and deep eaves, Reynolds says.
And there are practical concerns: the eaves provide shelter from rain and snow as you move from the bunkhouse to the bathhouse to the mess hall and on to the Sunrise Room, the social center of the inn where guests gather around a wood stove, reading, chatting or playing one another in a collection of board games. The covered deck off the Sunrise Room (pictured above) is the place to stand, coffee cup in hand, to welcome the crimson streaks of daybreak.