Leaders in the hotel sustainability field are members of Beyond Green (https://staybeyondgreen.com), a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability leadership. Beyond Green proposes a new way to travel that connects personal well-being with the well-being of our planet. Among the criteria to be considered for Beyond Green, a property must meet more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards.
The following three Beyond Green properties are prime examples of luxury resorts with eco-friendly celebrations during the Christmas season.
Carneros Resort and Spa – Napa, CA
Nestled on 28 acres surrounded
by lush vineyards, farmland, and the natural beauty of the Napa Valley is the Carneros Resort and Spa. The resort was designed to be an integral fit into the Carneros winegrowing district landscape and is committed to helping preserve its pristine setting.
As a proud member of Beyond Green, Carneros Resort and Spa promotes recycling and composting: it donates discarded soap to Clean the World, where the soap is sanitized and repurposed in needed areas across the globe; uses boxed water and 100% compostable coffee packs; EVs, wagons and bicycles are employed for transportation within the property; native, drought-tolerant plants and naturalized plant materials are used in the landscaping; porch rocking chairs are made from recycled milk cartons; cleaning products are biodegradable; natural ventilation was built into the architectural style of the resort; and the food and beverage program focuses on locally grown, organic produce, farm-to-table sourced from the property’s own culinary garden or small regional farms that are sustainably maintained.
Accommodations include 100 cottages, suites, residences, and luxurious, private homes. The cottages offer 420 square feet of indoor space and up to 800 square feet of outdoor living space with al fresco showers, heated slate bathroom floors, and fireplaces with Enviro-Logs. Each cottage has a private front porch and backyard garden with a sundeck, firepit, and an indoor-outdoor shower. There are plenty of warm throws and heaters for Napa’s evening chill. Additionally, cottages have soaking tubs both in the bathroom and in the yard.
This year, Carneros will offer an array of holiday activities, including Nightly Cookies & Hot Cider from 5-6pm; Create your-own Hot Cocoa Fridays from 5-6pm; Cookie Decorating Saturdays from 4-5pm; and Neighborhood Caroling on December 17th and 24th at 5pm.
Carneros Resort and Spa’s fine dining restaurant, FARM at Carneros, will be open Christmas Eve for a 4-course tasting menu from 5:30 to 10 p.m. ($145 per person), and a Christmas brunch from 11-3 p.m. ($125 per person) and dinner ($145 per person) will also be offered. Additionally, the resort will host a New Year’s Eve Celebration from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. ($250 per person) inclusive of a countdown, champagne, chef stations, open bar, and live music by famed DJ Nicole Leone.
The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Located on the pristine white sand beaches and the serene private atoll of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia is The Brando, a luxury resort built with Marlon Brando’s vision to create a sustainable development where both people and place find harmony with one another. Tetiaroa boasts rare biodiversity, a natural sanctuary for birds and marine life, and several programs to preserve, restore, and help them flourish.
The Beyond Green resort considers itself a steward of Tetiaroa with the responsibility to treat it with the utmost level of care and respect. All building materials used are of local origin, renewable, or incorporate recycled components. The Brando has implemented Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) by using the temperature of the deep ocean to cool an AC loop, releasing the sea water back into the ocean with no impact. In tropical environments, where air-conditioning is in high demand year-round, it can represent 40% of total energy consumption and is the largest single usage of energy. This system saves 42% of energy in comparison. The resort relies entirely on renewable energy, including solar power and biofuel whenever it can be procured, and is close to reaching its goal of being carbon neutral and self-sustainable. The Brando gifted an Ecostation to the Tetiaroa Society, a nonprofit established to lead the scientific and cultural mission to protect the atoll, strengthen its resilience to global change by restoring eco-systems, and be interdependent while inspiring others around the world to do so as well. The Society leads a Blue Climate Initiative, a major global initiative to harness ocean-based strategies to combat the climate crisis and other environmental issues. Tours by the Tetiaroa Society are offered year-round to encourage guests to support these efforts.
There are 30 one-bedroom villas, four two-bedroom villas, a three-bedroom villa, and the Teremoana 3-bedroom private residence. Each villa is designed to blend into the serene indoor and outdoor surroundings in a cozy setting with private terraces, pools, outdoor al-fresco bathtubs, and the beach just steps away. Dressing areas adjoin the bedrooms, while large windows allow for gazing at the lagoon through a screen of native plants.
This holiday season, The Brando invites guests to engage in an array of unique, sustainable activities like traditional Polynesian outrigger canoe racing; Tahitian drumming on the to’ere and pahu with local musicians; the Polynesian art of coconut palm weaving with cultural experts who teach guests the calming and meditative therapeutic process; and a sandcastle building contest using items like seaweed and shells found in nature.
The Brando’s New Year’s Eve White Party will ring in 2023 with a four-course dining experience of traditional Polynesian dishes mixed with classic French festive foods, such as lobster and caviar, all paired with Rhône Valley wines introduced by renowned winemaker Stéphane Ogier; live music blending timeless saxophone tunes with edgy DJ mixes; and a special Polynesian New Year’s show and fire dance. Festive island hoppers can take advantage of a limited-time one-hour flight from Bora-Bora to Tetiaroa that is respectful of nature and time, allowing guests to minimize their carbon footprint while maximizing their time in French Polynesia
The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, CA
The Ranch at Laguna Beach is a founding member of Beyond Green. The boutique, 87-acre ranch-style property carved in the Aliso and Wood Canyons is minutes from Laguna Beach on the Southern California coast and offers 360-degree views in what feels like a nature retreat. Their laid back 9-hole GEO Certified® sustainable golf course blends into the peaceful canyon surroundings.
A sustainable pioneer, the property features several planet-forward programs, from recycling glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers, to saving 20 million gallons of water annually by irrigating with reclaimed water. Harvest, the resort’s signature restaurant, is a farm-to-table delight. Here you’ll find ever-changing menus, seasonal specials, and fresh herbs and produce sourced from its own on-property, half-acre, biodynamic, and organic Harvest Garden. Its outdoor saline pool and hot tub are perfect spots to unwind pre- or post meal.
Scattered among the acreage of the resort are well-appointed, 410 square foot Canyon Rooms with patios or upstairs balconies, nine Creekside Studio Suites, three 715 square foot Creekside One Bedroom Suites, 20 two-level 1,125 square foot Cottage Two Bedroom Suites, and the coveted 1600 square foot The Treehouse perched high above the grounds surrounded by windows offering a bird’s-eye view.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach invites guests and locals to celebrate the holiday season and the New Year with a plethora of memorable and exclusive experiences from decadent meals, seasonal spa treatments, special activities, and specialty items at their Base Camp and Sycamore Spa retail stores. Harvest is offering special Christmas and New Year’s Eve dining experiences, including slow roasted prime rib, fresh local seafood, special seasonal dishes with ingredients sourced from Harvest Garden, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert at Christmas dinner. The Ranch will celebrate New Year’s Eve with caviar, fresh local lobsters, homemade truffle pasta, warm butter cakes for dessert, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight to ring in the New Year.
A bevy of independent brands are also making great strides in operating green and offering guests sustainable and eco-options. Here, a highlight:
BEACH PLUM FARM – West Cape May, New Jersey
For a different kind of family vacation, how about experiencing the holidays on a working farm? The 62-acre Beach Plum Farm – located near the beaches and historic downtown of Cape May, NJ – is a unique idea with its multi-bedroom cottage accommodations.
Rooted in a sense of community and regenerative agricultural practices, Beach Plum Farm champions the farming heritage of the Garden State. Regenerative agriculture focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting bio-sequestration (storage and removal of carbon from the atmosphere), increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.
The farm is home to 100+ different types of produce, flowers, and herbs, and raises Berkshire pigs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys—all of which have been serving Cape May’s restaurants since 2008, as well as the cuisine of the farm. The homegrown herbs are used in personal care products like shampoos and lotions that can be found at Cape Resorts’ properties, a regional hospitality company in NY and NJ with eight distinctive classic American resort properties known for their expertise in adaptive reuse and historic preservation.
The farm has six historic cottages and barns that sleep 6-8 guests with private bathrooms. There are shared amenities such as dining rooms, living rooms, and full kitchens with refrigerators stocked with farm fresh eggs, bacon, toast, milk, OJ, butter, and jam. Cottages come with private fire pits, bicycles, and a golf cart for travel around the property. The only alarm clocks are the sounds of the rooster crowing. For the holidays, all the cottages throughout the property and in the Hoop House are adorned with festive décor.
The Farm Market features two floors of produce and products from the farm as well as local jams, honeys, mixers, spreads, pastas, and wines. Curated housewares, toys, books, gifts, and holiday products are available for purchase. The Farm Kitchen in the main Amish barn features a menu based on what’s fresh in the fields that morning, serving breakfast and lunch.
Every weekend, including Christmas and NYE, there are farm-to-table meals in the climate-controlled Hoop House. Served family style, these dinners feature high pasture-raised turkeys, heritage pork, winter vegetables, and fresh herbs from the farm. The evening begins with a hayride tour of the farm fields, followed by a candlelit stroll through the Woodland Trail for fellowship and cocktail hour.