WELLNESS Highlight: The Bancroft Hotel

Posted August 8th, 2012 to Spa/Wellness              

Imagine after all the hassles of today’s airport arriving at a hotel that feels like your home away from home–a place where wellness encompasses much more than just an afternoon glass of wine and a quiet atmosphere.

Is it Green or Green Washing?

In general, hotels consume a lot of resources from water to electricity without even considering renovations or linens. Many hotels claim that they are “green” by incorporating eco-friendly aspects into their operations and while they should be commended for trying to make earth-friendlier choices, many of these hotels feel that they have done their part for the environment. In addition, unfortunately, the hospitality industry is full of companies that claim their products are eco-friendly, sustainable, or environmentally sound without the benefit of truth or proof. Not very promising if you are looking for a truly green hotel, but

A Shining Example!

There is a hotel that is literally an open book when it comes to making green choices for the well being of their guests. The Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley, CA is a national historic landmark and was built in 1928 for the College Women’s Club, a Pan-Hellenic group of forward thinking college women, before finally becoming a hotel in 1993. The present owners wanted to prove that an historic building could have a green future and pulled together an impressive consulting and design team, including David Gottfried, founder of the U.S. and World Green Building Council, Dan Smith, noted green architect, Kelly LaPlante, premier green interior designer, and Josiah Cain, landscape architect, to help with the transformation. A “green agenda” was created and the team gave considerable thought to every conceivable detail from compostable shower caps, to towels manufactured by wind power  plus hydronic heating which proved the most efficient way to heat the historic building.

The result is a hotel that goes the distance to give guests a taste of green living and provides a book that lists all of the products that are in use at the hotel in the hope that each guest might be inspired to make more green choices in their own lives. Hotels can and should be more than just a place to sleep. Hopefully, they can refresh, invigorate and quite possibly educate their guests.