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Best new green hotels

Five U.S. properties are proving you don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability.
Vermont's newest slopeside hotel, the Stowe Mountain Lodge, is about as eco-friendly as ski resorts get.
Vermont's newest slopeside hotel, the Stowe Mountain Lodge, is about as eco-friendly as ski resorts get. Rick Lew
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As concern for the environment grows, travelers are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their carbon footprint without having to rough it à la Swiss Family Robinson.

With that in mind, Travel + Leisure found four hotels chock full of luxury which, despite their relative infancy—they’ve all been open for less than two years—are already green-certified by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and a fifth is close to certification. LEED is a third-party program that not only designates buildings as green but also provides businesses with the resources and know-how to make the necessary steps to go green.

Becoming a LEED-certified hotel is quite a feat, especially when you consider that there are only 1,900 buildings—and we’re not just talking hotels here—around the globe that have met the conditions and necessary standards for true green certification.

Without asking guests to do away with luxuries or amenities, these hotels found a way to provide them while still keeping the environment in mind. Want proof? California’s Venice Beach Eco Cottages features organic linens and custom—and surprisingly chic—décor accented with reclaimed objects and recycled materials (think birdcages, old-fashioned milk jugs).

Another, the Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, was mostly built from, and uses, materials and ingredients found within a 200-mile radius—from the Adirondack granite it quarried for its lobby to the locally tapped maple syrup it uses to braise short ribs at its restaurant.

The Lodge at Sun Ranch in Montana, which only accommodates a maximum of 18 guests on their 26,000 acres at any one time, has the space to expand but chooses instead not to encroach on land still inhabited by wild elk and wolves.

That being said, these hotels not only excel at being green, they do it without making guests give anything up…well, except for a few CFCs.