From: Roger Greenway, ENN
Published February 25, 2013 12:56 PM

Element Hotels, Great for the Green Traveler

Element Hotels are made to order for travelers who are conscious of the environment and who appreciate good design and lots of light. Their design ethic includes guest rooms and public spaces with as much natural light as possible. Stylish and sustainable throughout, Element offers comfort with a conscience and signature amenities from its complimentary, healthy RISE breakfast and RELAX evening reception to saline swimming pools, spacious fitness centers, bikes to borrow and electric vehicle charging stations. Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide. To date, there are Element hotels in 10 U.S. markets, with new domestic and international hotels in development.

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My wife and I stayed at the Element hotel in New York City recently, guests of the chain. We drove to the hotel in our Chevrolet Volt and charged it at the EV charging station in the parking facility the hotel uses. This was the first time in over two years of Volt ownership that I was actually able to charge the car at a hotel. I am planning on purchasing an all electric in a year or so, being able to charge at a hotel becomes extremely important. Kudos to Element for being kind to EV owners! Note, this was not free at the New York hotel where a parking facility across the street is used for parking, but I was told that at other Element Hotels free charging stations are available.

Element Hotels strives to satisfy guests' needs while being kind to the environment. Guest rooms have a kitchenette with a refrigerator and dishwasher and the kitchen appliances are Energy Star rated. They also use as many recycled materials as possible in design and construction. For example, the attractive floor in our room looked like wood, but was actually made from recycled tires! This appealed to us since carpeting sometimes has an odor and causes allergic reactions for my wife. The uncarpeted floor is also pet-friendly which our Toy Poodle appreciated. She also loved the Heavenly Dog bed that the hotel provided at no cost.

The Element design incorporates eco-friendly materials wherever possible. Where carpeted, floors feature carpets with up to 100% recycled content and recycled carpet cushions. Art on the walls is mounted on a base made from recycled tires. And low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints improve indoor air quality for guests and staff.

Element hotels use silverware and glassware to reduce waste generated by plastic utensils and paper cups. Bath amenities are in a dispenser system rather than wasteful multiple mini-bottles. And guest rooms include recycling bins for paper, plastic and glass.

The hotel has a great fitness center that is large and well lit. It is the first one I have seen where you can pedal a stationary bike to charge your tablet or smart phone. First announced at the spring 2012 launch of its Miami hotel, Element Hotels has installed a stationary bike with a pedal-powered generator in each of its fitness centers. The initiative marries two Element brand principles: providing health and fitness options for travelers and a commitment to green design.

According to Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood, "The Element brand was founded on an innovative, balanced-living approach to hospitality. Not only do our pedal-powered bikes add an element of fun to a workout, but they also encourage our guests to think creatively about sourcing the energy we all depend on to fuel our daily lives."

At every turn, in the lobby, the fitness center, and the guest rooms, the environment and elegant simplicity are reminders about the commitment to the environment.

Photo shows view from my room on the 18th floor. Credit, R. Greenway, ENN.

Publisher note: Element hotels provided a complementary room for me and my wife so we could experience the Element hotel personally. We loved it and will plan on using Element hotels whenever possible. More photos from my stay and nearby sites in midtown New York City can be found at: http://img.gg/7cN41K8

For more information on Element hotels, visit www.ElementHotels.com.

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