Best eco-friendly hotel? Readers vote The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

10Best readers chose LEED Gold certified property as best in the U.S.

As Kermit the Frog once said, "It's not easy being green," but these 10 U.S. hotels have gone above and beyond to promote environmental sustainability. Along the way, they've earned Platinum, Gold or Silver certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
    Charlotte

    The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, a LEED Gold certified property, offers luxury and sophistication with sustainability laced throughout. The hotel opened in 2009 and became the first Ritz-Carlton in the world to attain Gold status. Back-of-the-house conservation efforts mean the hotel uses about 30 percent less energy than comparable conventional hotels.
    Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
    Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Situated on the East River waterfront with stellar views of the Manhattan skyline, the LEED Gold-certified 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge uses native greenery and reclaimed materials to bring a touch of nature to Brooklyn. The property includes 194 guest rooms, a rooftop bar with a heated plunge pool, a neighborhood cafe and a spa with nine treatment rooms.
    Photo courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

  • The Allison Inn & Spa
    Newberg, Ore.

    One of the country's top destination resorts, The Allison Inn & Spa, also numbers among the greenest. This LEED Gold certified property uses solar-heated hot water, and solar panels generate seven percent of the electricity. Appliances are energy- and water-efficient, and the entire resort has eliminated the use of Styrofoam products and plastic bottles.
    Photo courtesy of The Allison Inn & Spa

  • Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
    Wailea, Hawaii

    This LEED Silver-certified hotel occupies 15 beachfront acres on the island of Maui. Many of the 300 guest rooms and suites enjoy ocean views, while guests enjoy four infinity pools, five dining options, onside car rental, free wifi and an eco-friendly full-service spa.
    Photo courtesy of Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort

  • The Hike Inn
    Dawsonville, Ga.

    Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers can stay guilt-free at the LEED Gold certified Hike Inn – a series of rustic guest rooms with hot showers and beautiful views inside Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest. It's a 5-mile trek to get to the inn, where conservation takes the form of odor-free composting toilets, solar panels, rainwater harvesting and vermiculture to compost kitchen scraps.
    Photo courtesy of Len Foote Hike Inn / Facebook

  • Virgin Hotel Chicago
    Chicago

    Virgin Hotel Chicago brings the variety of luxury to the Windy City you'd expect from a Richard Branson endeavor. The LEED Gold certified hotel uses green housekeeping practices, maintains a hotel-wide recycling program, promotes walking tourism in the Windy City and was built with green roofing material for more efficient storm water management.
    Photo courtesy of Virgin Hotel Chicago

  • Hotel Skyler Syracuse
    Syracuse, N.Y.

    The Hotel Skyler in Syracuse takes environmental stewardship seriously, so seriously that it has achieved LEED Platinum certification. Impressive given the building was constructed in 1921. A closed-loop geothermal heat pump helps harness heat and cool the hotel more efficiently, and 20 percent of the building materials were sourced locally. Guests driving low-emission cars get special parking places.
    Photo courtesy of Hotel Skyler Syracuse

  • Kimpton Hotel Palomar
    Philadelphia

    Luxury and eco-friendly meet at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia. Guests of this LEED Gold-certified hotel enjoy perks like free bike rentals, yoga mats in every room, a 24-hour fitness center, daily hosted wine hour, 24-hour room service and stellar views of the Philly skyline from many rooms.
    Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar

  • Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
    Las Vegas

    Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas is a departure from the typical Strip hotel in many ways. It's smoke- and gambling-free, with sleek style and modern features throughout. It was the first hotel in the Mandarin Oriental group to receive LEED certification, when it attained Gold level in 2009.
    Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

  • Bardessono
    Yountville, Calif.

    Bardessono is one of only a few LEED Platinum certified hotels in the U.S., and their commitment to sustainability (built from salvaged wood and non-toxic materials, organic linen, cleaning and spa products) is organically incorporated into their spot-on design. The location in downtown Yountville is the real attraction of this hotel. Bardessono is within walking distance of half a dozen vineyards open for wine tasting, as well as some of the area's most acclaimed restaurants, namely the French Laundry, Ad Hoc and Redd-Wood.
    Photo courtesy of Bardessono

The top 10 winners in the category Best Eco-Friendly Hotel are as follows:

  1. The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
  2. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge - Brooklyn, N.Y.
  3. The Allison Inn & Spa - Newberg, Ore.
  4. Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort - Wailea, Hawaii
  5. The Hike Inn - Dawsonville, Ga.
  6. Virgin Hotel Chicago - Chicago
  7. Hotel Skyler Syracuse - Syracuse, N.Y.
  8. Kimpton Hotel Palomar - Philadelphia
  9. Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
  10. Bardessono - Yountville, Calif.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Marla Cimini (USA TODAY), Eric Grossman, Gerrish Lopez, Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) and Christopher Parr (Pursuitist) were chosen based on their knowledge of the American hotel scene.

Congratulations to all these winning and environmentally friendly hotels!

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Marla Cimini

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Gerrish Lopez

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Eileen Ogintz

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Christopher Parr

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