The Best Sustainable Hotels in New York

Thu, 9 January 2020
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Discover the green side of the concrete jungle. As part of the NYC Carbon Challenge, which began in 2007, several hotels have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Featuring sustainable Brooklyn boutiques and eco-luxe Manhattan stays, this round-up of New York hotels is a must-read for the environmentally conscious traveller.

The sustainable NYC hotels to book now

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

For hotelier Barry Sternlicht, this Brooklyn bolthole is the most exciting he’s ever created, and it’s easy to see why – especially when you consider its stellar eco-credentials. Wind-powered electricity illuminates the lobby’s lush 25ft living wall, which serves as an au-naturel backdrop to reclaimed decor (upcycled materials include wood from the Coney Island Boardwalk and Bronx trees felled by Hurricane Sandy). In an earthy palette, the 194 rooms (including 29 suites) benefit from custom-made hemp mattresses, triple-filtered water on tap and environmentally friendly hair dryers. Should you need a local transfer, guests can book one of the hotel’s free Tesla cars. Like this? Visit sister property 1 Hotel Central Park where you can kick back on rustic repurposed furniture, pump iron in a fitness centre with recycled flooring and breathe easy courtesy of more than 20,000 plants.

The Benjamin

A pioneer among New York’s eco-luxe hotels, The Benjamin pairs beaux-arts elegance with socially responsible features such as energy-efficient lighting, sustainable bathroom amenities and a top-notch recycling program. It’s not just the environment that gets the special treatment at this Midtown hotel, however; The Benjamin prioritises guests’ wellbeing. The National – a James Beard-approved restaurant – puts provenance and nutrition at the fore, with healthy, locally sourced dishes curated by Food Network’s Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (his gourmet snacks fill the in-room minibars too). Sated, guests can rest easy in this 209-room, Emery Roth-designed building thanks to sleep expert Dr Rebecca Robins’ “Rest & Renew” program, featuring a pillow menu, in-room spa treatments and on-demand guided meditation.

Kimpton Ink48 Hotel

Sandwiched between the skyscrapers lining Central Park and the Hudson River, this printing-house-turned-hotel (hence the name: Kimpton Ink48) puts its guests at the epicentre of Hell’s Kitchen. The hotel’s environmental ethos is closer to Eden, however – as evidenced by its Green Key eco-rating. Bathroom products are organic; lighting is energy efficient; toilets are low-flow; PRINT restaurant sources its ingredients locally; borrowable bicycles help reduce guests’ carbon footprint; and biodegradable pick-up bags are on offer for those who bring their pooch. Not yet rushing to book? Stay in one of the 222 guestrooms and suites and you can detox at the InkSpa or retox during complimentary wine hour at the rooftop bar, Press Lounge.

Crosby Street Hotel

Marrying SoHo luxe with a green ethos, the Crosby Street Hotel has been awarded the Gold LEED certificate by the US Green Buildings Council in recognition of its commitment to renewable energy, saving resources and its positive attitude towards guests’ wellbeing. Colourful Kit Kemp-designed rooms frame uninterrupted vistas of Manhattan (the Junior Suites on the 10th and 11th floors have the best views) while the Crosby Bar restaurant serves Modern-American dishes concocted from ingredients grown in the hotel’s rooftop kitchen garden. There’s a vibrant social and creative scene here – join the crowds that spill out onto the Lafayette-Street patio, sip a cocktail in the residents-only courtyard or hunker down in an amber Poltrona Frau armchair in the hotel’s state-of-the-art cinema.

Element New York Times Square West

This Midtown hotel bills itself as “eco-chic”. Steps towards sustainability are small here, but in the right direction nonetheless: carpets are made from recycled material; visitors arriving in hybrid cars receive a parking discount; artwork is mounted on repurposed tyres; the “do not disturb” sign has been replaced by a magnet; guest rooms feature recycling bins; and there are no plastic-heavy miniature toiletries. Stay in one of Element’s 411 rooms (each featuring full kitchenettes) and you’ll enjoy access to fitness centre Motion, RISE (a complimentary breakfast bar serving fresh smoothies and pancakes) and RESTORE, a 24-hour pantry service. Some of Midtown’s headline attractions – Bryant Park, Broadway, The New York Public Library – are within a short stroll, while folding bicycles can be borrowed from the hotel, helping to minimise your carbon footprint as you explore.

The Collective Paper Factory

This budget-friendly boutique hotel-cum-co-living space in Queens proves that eco-conscious travel doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Just two subway stops outside Manhattan, the 19th-century building pays homage to its industrial heritage with concrete floors, exposed-brick walls and original radio- and paper-making machinery repurposed as steampunk decor. The 122 loft-like rooms and suites are kitted out with reclaimed furnishings and William Roam toiletries – all vegan, cruelty-free and produced in the US. Sign up for a yoga class, knuckle down in the co-working area or make friends with fellow guests over a game of foosball in the sun-drenched conservatory before dining on globally inspired comfort food in restaurant Ama. Step outside and you’re at the heart of hip Long Island City, between Astoria and the Kaufman Arts District.

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