94503 Travel Guide
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
The other day, a couple very near and dear to us took our recommendation and spent the night at the new-ish, LEED-certified Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa in American Canyon, Calif. While a romantic inn in Yountville was a more desired lodging option, the price was right for our friends at this hotel--$92 a night on Expedia.
So how did this green hotel turn out? Eh. Our friend writes:
It was "green" and won the coveted LEED award, but it really was not too special--somewhere between a Motel Six and a Holiday Inn. We had a good night's sleep but we wouldn't recommend it.
While they also sent us room photos, the snapshots were too blurry to post so we just have some exterior shots to show you. We can tell you that the beds do look comfortable but the rest of the room lacks warmth.
On the plus side, there was a pretty little pond out front and some swans to look at. And our friend assured us the place was clean, unlike most Motel 6s and Holiday Inns. Sigh, at least the price was right.
Some more photos of Gaia Napa Valley Hotel after the jump.
The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel made waves last week for putting copies of Al Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth in its guestrooms and removing the bible from the nightstands. However, the owner Wen-I Chang has said that the hotel's "replacement" of the bible has been overexaggerated.
Chang, 62, said in a telephone interview that Gaia had not "replaced" the Bible with Gore's book, as has been claimed by some media outlets.
Instead, he said, the hotel staff overlooked providing Bibles in their haste to prepare for the official grand opening March 30 and did not intentionally leave them out of the rooms.
"I apologize to Christians" who may have been offended, Chang said. "We made an oversight."
Chang, a Taiwanese immigrant and a Buddhist, said that as soon as the issue came to his attention this week he instructed his staff to put Bibles in the hotel's nightstands. Copies of Buddhist scripture also will go in the drawers within the month.
And Al Gore's book will remain in the guestrooms as well. But let's just hope Chang doesn't get caught up in the race of trying to please everyone here. There's just not enough room in the nightstand for that.
· Bible not inconvenient, says hotel owner [Medill Reports]
· Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' Replaces Bibles in Green Hotel [HotelChatter]
We just learned that one of the hotels on our Green Hotels list is even greener than we thought. The Gaia Napa Valley in California has replaced the Gideon bibles in the nightstand with a copy of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" (the book), which is placed on the bureau for guests to see right away. Expect other green hotels to do the same, except of course, Marriott.
· California Hotels Go Green With Low-Flow Toilets, Solar Lights [Bloomberg News]
· Best Green Hotels in the U.S. [HotelChatter]
· Finding your religion in the nightstand [HotelChatter]
Another Northern California area has gotten its very own Eco-Hotel. The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel in American Canyon broke ground in 2001, just one block away from Napa, with the developer/owner Wen-I Chang's motto being: "Our mission is to change the world one traveler at a time."
The hotel recently opened to guests and has a plethora of environmentally-friendly products, but the biggest, or the greenest thing about this hotel, is its green construction. Essentially, using more recycled materials and less energy to build the actual structure.
The hotel "fuses natural light and recycled materials into a sustainable and environmentally sound motif" and inside everything is green (not the color) from recycled carpets to low-emissions paints. Even the animals placed in front are good for the environment.
The hotel integrates scrap metal, recycled wood and rainwater runoff to create Swan Lake, home to two "territorial swans" that will run off any other birds looking to nest, said James Soule, general manager.
Of course, just because it's green doesn't mean it's rustic. The hotel has all the amenities you expect in a chic boutique hotel from large TVs to spacious beds and high-speed wireless internet. The hotel also plans to add a restaurant and spa to go with the hotel's meeting and conference facilities by February.
Hotel Mavens, you will be seeing more of these types of hotels in the future. Eco-Hotels, or Green Hotels, are a huge hotel trend and will be popping up all over the place in the coming years . And in 2007, look for many more hotel chains to start adding more environmentally-friendly services to their list and not just the "Please don't wash my towels or linens" type of services.
· Eco-friendly Hotel Caters to Conscientious Travelers [Contra Costa Times]