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January 14, 2009

Cast Your Vote: 2009 World Savers Awards

Worldsavers by Brook Wilkinson

Taken a green trip lately? Booked yourself into an eco-efficient hotel? Condé Nast Traveler wants to know. We're looking for nominees for our annual World Savers Awards, which honor the best in earth-friendly travel, from hotels to cruise lines to airlines to tour companies. We'll send your nominees an application that covers five areas of good works: poverty alleviation, cultural and environmental preservation, wildlife conservation, health, and education. A team of editors will pore over every application we receive, and send the best of the bunch to our panel of judges--people like Timothy Wirth, president of the UN Foundation, and Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth. The winners will be announced in the September 2009 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. You can read about last year's winners, from urban hotels to rain forest lodges, here.

Nominate your favorite green travel company by clicking on "Post a comment" below.

Further reading:
* The 2008 World Savers Awards
* The Green Travel Handbook and Tips for the Ethical Traveler
* Everything you need to know about voluntourism
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference


I'd like to nominate the new Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, which is the first "green" luxury hotel in Colorado. They used eco-friendly building materials in their construction, like roof tiles made from recycled car tires. They also paid more to source the materials locally, even their drywall.
The resort's eco-spa, Spa Anjali, uses linens and bathrobes made from bamboo and locally created, natural skincare products, like the soothing Alpine Body Butter, which is made from hydrating Jojoba, calming Chamomile and healing Chalendula leaves. The restuarant, Avondale, is planning to grow its own produce in an on-site organic garden this summer.
And with huge expansive windows, the resort is bathed in tons of great natural light - bringing in the breathtaking Vail Valley scenery.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Colorado is committed to taking the lead in sustainability in the industry in the Vail Valley. With an all-encompassing sustainability plan and a motivated onsite "Green Team", this resort is setting the stage for change in Colorado as the first luxury resort in the state poised to receive LEED certification. The sustainability initiatives touch all areas of the operation, with a firm commitment to recycling, utilizing post-consumer waste in all printing, onsite compost facilities, and energy-saving design. Some key programs include: Organic food and beverage sold and locally-procured; aggressive in-room recycling program including educational pieces designed to solicit guest participation; involvement and leadership in local sustainable initiatives including the Vail Valley Partnership's "Destination Preservation"; support the Gore Range Natural Science Center and utilize their expertise in designing innovative programming for our guests; utilize hybrid vehicles; incentives in place for employees to utilize alternative or mass transportation; paperless office environment and paperless check-in; utilization of eco-friendly laundry chemicals; eco-friendly chemicals utilized in all cleaning applications; Spa Anjali positioned as a green spa, with organic lotions and oils, locally-mixed lotions, bamboo linens, robes and towels, and incentives for guests to recycle containers and utilize green check-in; energy-saving controls across all operating areas; low-flow water faucets throughout; CFL lighting; use of native vegetation for landscaping; and ongoing education and communication initiatives for staff and guest information.

This resort truly exemplifies what can be responsibly done on a grand scale -- with design feeatures that seamlessly integrate into the environment, such as the vast amount of glass to capture natural light, roof tiles made from recycled tires, the use of wind-generated electricity, and a management company committed to pushing the envelope in all areas related to sustainability. It is truly a perfect example of "sustainable" luxury!

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The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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