Tips: How to find the perfect hotel

Are you planning to go away for a few days? Perhaps for the weekend, a city trip or a holiday? People always ask me how I find my hotels. Part of the fun of traveling is being able to stay in the best, most fantastic, unique, most beautiful hotels around the world. But how do you find the perfect hotel? Not everyone seems to succeed. Therefore, I gladly give you these tips to help you to quickly and easily find the perfect hotel for your trip.

Tip 1: Explore and inform yourself

First, explore what’s available in the place where you plan to go. Large cities have a wide offer in hotels, smaller cities have a rather limited offer in hotel rooms. What’s available?

Also, when you go to a European or North American country, the prices for a night at a hotel can be more expensive than in more affordable countries. This only means that within your budget you can afford more luxury (a.k.a. more star hotel) in an affordable country, and perhaps should consider less luxury and comfort if prices are too high (as in for example in London or Amsterdam).

Which are you options?

You can check your options on large booking websites. I personally love eco friendly hotels ukusing Booking.com, but FlyGRN Hotels is also a nice one. It compares even more hotels and for every 100 euro it plants a tree (also check out their Search Engine Tips). It’s my favourite. I don’t necessarily book a hotel room through Booking.com, but do explore the possibilities I have. In Booking.com your can clearly search for a lot of characteristics, like:

  • Price range;
  • Customer rating, which is very trustworthy at Booking.com;
  • The area where you want to stay, or not;
  • Number of stars of the hotel;
  • Include breakfast;
  • Amenities;
  • Is it eco-friendly?

This way, the hotel that fits your liking always shows up. Unless it’s not available during the days you wish to stay there.

If hotel prices are above your budget, try Hostelworld.com to find a perfect hostel. Hostels aren’t necessarily dirty or cheap anymore and also have private rooms with private bathrooms available. Hostelworld.com has more great hostels available than Booking.com, for better prices.

Tip 2: What is the purpose of your trip?

Think carefully about the purpose of your trip. Do you want to escape eco friendly tourism ukcrowds? Do you want to explore a city? Are you coming for business or pleasure? Which areas do you prefer? Trendy areas or central areas?

Do you want to visit a particular location, like a theme park, a concert, a conference or museum? Then consider to find a hotel at walking distance from this location. It will safe you a lot of time.

Do keep in mind that city centres are not a nice place to stay in every part of the world. Choose to stay in an area that you like and where you plan to spend most time. This will safe money and time on traveling.

Travel blogs and websites can help you to determine the right location for your stay.

Tip 3: Ask for experiences

Ask others around you for their experiences. You can ask your friends on Facebook or Twitter, but also colleagues and others you know. They can give you great tips on what to do, what to avoid and where to stay. You often end up in nice places. Their experiences will help you to plan the best trip.

You can also consult travel blogs and travel programs on television for some great tips.

Tip 4: Do you need a credit card, visa or another currency?

Be well informed before you go on a trip. Do you need to bring a credit card? Will your card be accepted? Is it advisable to change some money into the local currency to bring in cash? Do you need a visa for this country?

Tip 5: Avoid big attractions and busy streets

As romantic as it sounds, you do not want to sleep in a hotel at 200 meters eco friendly tourismfrom the Eiffel Tower. It will be very crowded with a lot of noise, but you also pay the highest price for this location. Consider to book a hotel that’s located a few minutes from important locations, in order to be near but not too near.

Also: Is the area of the hotel a safe area to walk at night?

Tip 6: Breakfast included or not?

I always book a breakfast during my stays. I enjoy a good breakfast at thesustainable hotel breakfast hotel, instead of searching for the right place or ending up with a crappy breakfast. I don’t like to wander around a city with an empty stomach. If you include the breakfast in your booking, it’s mostly cheaper than booking it upon arrival.

Do pay attention to the price of the breakfast. Sometimes a breakfast outside is a fraction of an overpriced breakfast at the hotel.

Tip 7: Check transport to the hotel

How is the transport organized in the area/city where you go to? Is public transport safe or are taxies affordable? How should you go from the airport to the hotel? Inform yourself or send your hotel an email to ask them for advise.

The transport to the hotel is mostly not difficult, but you should inform yourself about the best option for you. Check other websites for tips

Tip 8: Read the reviews

What is the experience of others? Don’t be fooled by only negative reviews, but read several reviews to get a clear picture. Some people are born to complain. What does the average review say? What are the bad points in the reviews and does this matter to you?

If a bad part of the hotel is noise, cleanness, quality of the wifi, helpful staff, quality of breakfast or daily cleaning service, does this matter to you or not? These are aspects to consider before booking to prevent surprises.

Tip 9: Compare prices

Booking.com has certain prices. Sometimes this is a great price, especially for last-minute bookings. You can compare prices between booking websites, like Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, Hostelworld.com en Booking.com.

However, the website of the hotel itself generally ALWAYS has the best price. Especially small hotels generally make most money form direct bookings, as these don’t include (high) fees for booking website. Consider to book directly at the hotel for the best price and the most support for small businesses.

Tip 10: Don’t forget the conditions

Generally, the conditions aren’t very important. Unless of course they are. Some information is mentioned in the booking conditions at the bottom of the booking page. For example: are taxes included or not (very important), the ways to pay the hotel bill, etcetera. Don’t allow nasty surprises.

Enjoy your stay!

How to book a perfect holiday online? 9 simple tips

Are you planning to book a great vacation? I remember the first time I booked my first holiday. I spend a lot of times comparing, searching the best prices, reading about the destinations, and I was thinking: isn’t there a more efficient way to book the best holiday online? Based on the experience I’ve gained ever since, I would like to give you a few valuable tips on how to best book the holiday of your dreams.

I have made a step-by-step guide for planning a trip, you make the process of planning your trip a lot easier.

Step 1: Choose the destination

Where do you want to go? Perhaps you already have a destination in mind of where to go on vacationwhich you are dreaming of for years. If not, allow yourself to be inspired. Read some travel blogs, watch travel programs on television and like travel pages on social media.

I love National Geographic as a source of great inspiration for adventurous trips through cities and nature.

Step 2: How long will you go on holidays?

It’s important to determine when you want to go on holidays and how long you want to go, in order to calculate the costs. Every day of vacation, will make the trip more expensive. But perhaps you only have a limited amount of vacation days available.

Step 3: How much will it cost?

You have determined where you want to go, when and how many days. Youaffordable vacation probably do have a certain budget you can spend on the vacation. You should make a budget in order to make the right bookings.

How much will the travel toward your holiday destination cost?

How much will a hotel cost that suits your preferences?

How much money will you have left for you daily spending?

The result of this calculation will give you an overview of your budget. Perhaps you can choose a cheaper hotel in order to have more money available to spend on other things, like food, drinks and activities.

You can find a lot of information for you budget in travel guides, online blogs and of course on Tripadvisor.

As a result of making your budget, you’ll have a clear plan to follow.

Step 4: Be inspired

Keep gaining new inspiration for you trip. Read interesting blogs, like certain social media pages, watch travel programs, etcetera. This will give you new ideas for you trip, for example what to do, which places to visit, etc.

Step 5: Book smart

You should realise you can safe a lot of money by booking your trips a smart way.

Airlines have certain discount periods, in which you can get the same flightcheap flights ticket for less. Always check these to prevent you book a ticket a few days before a discount period. Always check the flight prices of flying a few days earlier of later. Maybe you can save 200 pounds by flying 2 days earlier of later.

Searching for the perfect hotel can be done by checking blogs or Booking.com. However, I advise you to book the perfect accommodation directly at the hotel or hostel. This is mostly cheaper and allows you to support the business to prevent them from having to pay a fee to the booking agency.

Step 6: Book your flight

Generally speaking, the earlier you book, the cheaper the prices. Book your flight up to 2 months before your trip. Last-minute deals don’t really exist exist anymore. So try to book as soon as possible. Prices often rise a few weeks before departure.

Sometimes it is cheaper to book your flight at a booking website. At other times it is cheaper to book your flight directly with the airline. In any case, it is more reliable to book your ticket directly with the airline. In case of a mistake or delay, they are directly responsible to offer you a solution.

Pay attention to the flight times. It can be cheaper to fly early at for example 6 o’clock in the morning, but then you do have to be at the airport 2 or 3 hours in advance. It is not always possible to reach the airport during night times, or a lot more expensive. An expected cheap flight ticket will end up rather expensive because of an expensive airport hotel.

My favourite booking websites for flights are:

Step 7: Book the accommodation

Once you have booked your flight, you can also book your accommodation. book accommodationWhen you have made a travel schedule, you can search for accommodation based on that. If not, you can at least already book an accommodation for your first and last nights in order to be near the airport of arrival and departure.

There are different types of accommodations that match your travel style. A hotel is often more luxurious, with a private bedroom and bathroom. You can choose to book breakfast in advance. Many people (including me) find a good hotel breakfast a great way to start the day.

A hostel does not have the same level of luxury, which is not a bad thing at all. You can choose to sleep in a shared bedroom in a dorm, in order to save some money. Not everyone will appreciate a dorm room however. Many hostels also offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. You pay a bit more than a bed in a dorm room, but often a lot less than a room at a hotel.

Nowadays, new hostels offer more luxury. These hostels are the perfect combination between the comfort of a hotel and the lower price and cosiness of a trendy hostel. A hostel is often a lot less stiff, often has a nice common area and is sometimes even more modern than a hotel.

Booking website can be used to find a perfect accommodation. I personally prefer to book directly at the hotel or hostel for a cheaper price. I use the following booking websites:

Step 8: What are you going to do?

Plan your perfect adventure abroad. There are probably a number of places that you would want to visit and do.

Step 9: Pack your luggage and enjoy your trip!

Do not bring too much!

Before departure, do not forget to write down the address of your first accommodation on a piece of paper, in case your phone battery is finished. Don’t forget to plan ahead how to get to your hotel from the airport. It is advisable to bring some local currency in cash for the first hours. Plus, if you need a rental car, look here.

And enjoy your trip!

The world’s most eco-friendly hotels of 2019

Wake up in the middle of coffee plantation in Costa Rica. Or sleep surrounded by wetlands in Sri Lanka. Experience nature and have a stay you’ll never forget in one of these stylish and sustainable hotels.

The most sustainable and best hotels in the world

Do you like to travel? It is difficult to travel consciously and care about the environment. However, a conscious effect is possible by staying at an eco-friendly hotel. These hotels strive to be as sustainable as possible. The buildings are often build of sustainable materials. The hotels are keen on offering local products and to reduce environmental damage. These hotels also have other efforts to reduce damaging the (direct) environment.

The following list contains our most favourite eco-friendly hotels in the world. The list will surprise you, as they are not all far away. Also you’ll be surprised by how luxurious your stay at an eco-friendly hotel can be.

Marataba Trails Lodge – Marakele National Park, South Africa

Forget about the rest of the world and all your worries while standing on topsustainable tourism afrika of the Kransberg mountain enjoying the magnificent view. Far away, remotely and wild; the Marataba Trails Lodge is a digital detox. You are completely released from wifi and other signals in order to allow you to turn your focus on the Waterfall Valley.

In this serenity is room for just 8 guests, allowing the visitors to truly experience the remote quietness. The hotel is located in the middle of the Marakele National Park. You can choose between various routes to explore the area around the Kransberg mountain range.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa – Nagano, Japan

Uninterrupted lines. Windows from the floor to the ceilings. Neural colours. The Hoshinoya Karuizawa resort effortlessly merges into the surrounding landscape, as if it has always been there. The elements were an important source of inspiration for this resort. The nearby streams that run down from the Asama Mountain play an important role in the energy supply, generating hydroelectricity. The water baths and energy has been praised since 1914, and has fuelled creativity of many persons.

Hix Island House – Puerto Rico

On the island of Vieques, paradise can be found. It is a Caribbean paradise sustainable hotel puerto ricoisland, where you can enjoy the wonders of nature. Hix Island House is far from the busy city, but only 22 minutes from San Juan. The different houses are well designed and build to absorb the cooling winds and constructed using natural materials.

Whitepod – Le Valais, Switzerland

At the foot of the Alps mountains, Whitepod Hostel Switzerland waits for eco-friendly hotel switzerlandyour arrival. The minimalist Whitepod is a unique, but luxurious camping experience near Geneva. In the cold winter months, the cracking of the wood-burning stove will make you forget about the snow the covers the outside of the transparent PVC walls of your personal cottage. In the summer, however, the green camouflage pod becomes one with nature and the beautiful surrounding Swiss green hills. From the reception, you’ll need to walk about 20 minutes to your own pod. This is no effort for the incredible beauty of the Swiss Alps.

Jetwing Vil Uyana – Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Brother and sister Hiran and Shiromal continued what was started by their parents: a sustainable hotel that respects the environment without compromising comfort. The Jetwing Vil Uyana hotel complex is located in wetlands and a natural reserve for hundreds of bird species, mammals, butterflies and amphibians. It’s like paradise and just a few hours from the capital Colombo.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Las Vegas is not the first place you expect to find an eco-friendly hotel. With a view over the Las Vegas Strip from the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, you realise sustainability and luxury do go together just fine. The hotel has energy saving lightning, eco-friendly cleaning products and organic restaurant servings. The Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas is truly a high-level sustainable hotel, for first class eco-tourism.

Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda – Gargnano, Italy

At 96 kilometres from Verona, this resort at the famous Lake Garda is aeco-friendly hotel lago gardia fantastic example of Mediterranean luxury, surrounded by a beautiful Italian landscape with hills and olive trees. The Lefay Resort forms and aesthetic whole with the surroundings. The water from the pool overlooking the lake also functions as pool for water irrigations. Also the culinary delights of the resort follow strict rules concerning organic ingredients, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers and therefor the fantastic taste of Mediterranean products.

Lisu Lodge – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Surrounded by the Lisu tribe in Thailand, the Lisu Lodge is part of a community project to conserve the Thai heritage. As a guest at this resort, you can experience the local culture and customs of the families of the Lisu tribe. From the lodge you see the rice fields and the plantations. Besides activities as hiking or cycling, a guest can also help to restore the local ecosystem of the Himmapaan plant nursery, and work together with the local community. After a productive day, warming up at the campfire, under the starts in the sky, you can enjoy a traditional dinner.

h2hotel – Healdsburg, California, USA

Close to San Fransisco you’ll find this discrete, tasteful and refined hotel. Under a green roof, the hotel aims to reduce heat emissions from the building, preserve the microclimate and manage the flow of rainwater.

Nearby the hotel the vineyards of Sonoma Country are to be found. But the popcorn, baked in duck fat instead of butter, are also a real treat. The h2hotel offers varied relaxing amenities, as a yoga studio and a spa with treatments with wine, lavender or lime.

VIVOOD – Benimantell, Alicante, Spain

From you room at the VIVOOD hotel in Alicante you have a great view over the Guadalest Valley. Forget about everything that might be on your mind and just relax in this eco-friendly hotel, quite nearby home. VIVOOD aims to give you an eco-friendly experience, while also stimulating you to experience nature and enjoy locally produced products. Enjoy the silence of the valley and relax.

Or my personal recommendation nearby: Stay a few nights at the wonderful sustainable QO hotel in Amsterdam. At this site you can find 15 eco-friendly holiday destinations.

Sustainable traveling in 2019: How to do it? 8 tips

You’ve probably heard of eco-tourism and sustainable traveling. It seems a weird combination. Traveling doesn’t seem to go together with a sustainable lifestyle, as traveling tends to be one of the most polluting activities of mankind. Airplanes, buses and cars are not only polluting for our planet, but especially for the local environment. Perhaps you can better stay home… Or try to travel as sustainable as possible. The following tips can help you to be more responsible and still be able to explore the world, have new experiences and pursue adventure.

8 tips for sustainable traveling

To following tips can help you to travel more environmental friendly in order not to damage the local environment too much and help local communities, cultures and economies.

  1. Stay close to home

Let me start with the most important rule if you want to travel sustainably: tourism close to homeStay close to home. Really! Every part of the world is beautiful, not only the parts that can be reached by airplane. Do you really think you’ve discovered de UK? The UK is extraordinary and surprisingly divers. The islands or Scotland, the mountains of Scotland, the midlands, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Northern Ireland, Ireland, etc. There is sooooo much to see.

Or take a train toward France. Or a ferry towards The Netherlands.

Seriously, you don’t need a airplane to see the most beautiful places in the world, because they are close to home. You don’t even need a car of bus. Just take a train or ferry. Those are so much more environmental friendly ways to travel.

And seriously, there is a lot to see and to experience in just a few hundred miles from your house. And there is so much adventure waiting for you closer to home.

By not using that plane or other expensive mode of transport, but by staying a bit closer to home, you’ll save a lot of money that you can spend on way more trips and adventures.

You could also consider an eco-friendly hotel or eco-friendly hotel stay. It’s quite easy.

  1. Book a trip with a travel organisation that has a Fair Trade trademark

If you do want to travel far away (but seriously, don’t), take the following into account. You might not realise it, but there are travel agencies that are committed to environmental friendly travels. For example the agency FairTravel4u, that offers sustainable trips in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.

However, getting all the way to South America will cost you a very polluting airplane trip. Once you’re there, it is definitely a great thing to support the local community by staying in small hotels, eating at local restaurants and having local guides. This will also give you the best experience by far.

  1. Travel like a local

This brings us to point 2. No matter where you go, do as the locals do. I love the website With Locals, cause it allows you to interact, experience and see the city as a local does. The money you spend on these activities will ensure you that you spend your money locally, instead of globally.

  1. Take a better mode of transport

There are more ways to get somewhere than an airplane, car or bus. For eco-friendly tourismexample by foot. Backpacking is great fun and a certain way for adventure. Or go by bike, to get a bit further. A bus is also a fine mode of transportation to go to the European continent. I personally really like Flixbus as a more sustainable way of traveling long distances.

  1. Pay a bit more for you ticket to reduce your ecological footprint

If you do need to use a polluting mode of transportation, there are ways to reduce the resulting ecological footprint. Especially air travel has a high ecological footprint.

Some airlines offer the option to pay a bit extra as a way to compensate the CO2 emissions of your trip. This money will be invested into a fund that works on environmental and sustainable projects. For example: your money will be spend on planting trees in Panama. These trees will eventually purify the air, however not all the polluted air caused by your air travel.

  1. Choose environmental friendly activities that support the local community

There is a fine line between tourist activities that support the local community and local environment, and activities that destroy the local environment for the local community and future generations.

Instead of renting a car or scooter, you can go kayaking or cycling. Or instead of a huge resort you can choose for a small scale eco-friendly hotel. Or instead of eating at a global fast food chain, eat at a restaurant that is run by a local family. Try to be a responsible visitor that doesn’t destroy or damage the local environment. We wouldn’t want that in our own environment either.

  1. Use your own water bottle

Plastics are a horrible threat to nature. Sustainable traveling can be as simple as using your own sustainable water bottle. You can refill this bottle, perhaps with drinkable tap water (if available), instead of buying bottles water and throwing this plastic away.

Don’t consume more plastic waste than necessary. Especially small islands and third world countries do not have the waste recycling programs as we do. Your plastic waste will probably end up on a waste dump or in the oceans.

  1. Don’t do activities that harm humans, nature or animals

Clear as that. Avoid any activities or areas that don’t treat other humans, sustainable tourismnature or animals in an irresponsible way.

You may assume that prostitution is involuntarily most of the time. Don’t go and watch prostitutes as if they are a tourist attraction. Don’t contribute in this way to this inhuman way of exploitation.

The same counts for animals. Any animals is suppose to be free. However, in many countries animals are used as tourist attraction. As long as tourists pay for riding an elephant of having pictures taken with lions, these animals will be exploited and tortured for the fun of it. Don’t support these horrible activities.

And don’t have the local natural environment. Clean up your own garbage and don’t destroy local nature. Be responsible! That’s the most sustainable you can be as a tourist.

What to book: A hotel, hostel, Airbnb or b&b?

This is a very important question to consider when you book a stay or plan your trip. Do you want to say in a hotel, hostel Airbnb or b&b? Every option has its own unique characteristics. Make the right choice, because the place where you stay is very important in the overall successfulness of your trip.

Every kind of accommodation has its own unique characteristics. What fits your liking and your type of travel?

Let me explain the particular strengths and weaknesses of each type of accommodation. I promise you I will be honest.

Book an accommodation: hotel

On most of my trips I prefer to stay in a hotel. I love a certain level of luxuryhotel or hostel? and attention, with clean rooms, a nice bed, soft towels, daily cleaning service and a 24/7 reception.

Hotels are available in all price ranges. Choose the hotel that fits your budget. I love the anonymity of a hotel. You can do as you please, without being disturbed of feeling as if you invade someone’s house (which can be the case with Airbnb and B&B’s).

I love checking in at a hotel, receiving an excellent service, arriving at a great room in neutral colour tones and have a comfortable bathroom with preferably a bath. I love the little extra attention you receive in great hotels. I also love having breakfast at a hotel, passing by the breakfast buffet and choose only the things you love the most.

I just love a good hotel with nice, helpful staff, clean rooms, a comfortable bed, a luxurious bathroom and a delicious breakfast. These are precisely the reasons I generally book a hotel room, instead of a hostel, Airbnb or B&B.

I do advise you not to book hotels that are too cheap or with bad ratings. These hotels tend to be traps. If you have a limited budget, consider booking a nice, clean hostel instead of a bad hotel.

Or perhaps book an eco-friendly hotel.

Book an accommodation: hostel

At the other side of the spectrum are hostels. Hostels had the image of beinghostel or airbnb dirty and noisy, in which you have to share a dorm room with drunken, hippie backpackers that wake you up by entering the room in the middle of the night.

However, nothing can be further away from the truth. Hostels are experiencing a great revival. Hostels are great places to meet people and have fun with like-minded travellers, especially compared to anonymous hotels.

If you have a limited budget, a dorm room might still be a great option. If you do prefer a bit more privacy you can book a private room with a private bathroom at a hostel. Then you can enjoy the advantages of a hostel and meet new people, but at a more affordable price. Hostels these days are very trendy and also clean. They are nothing like the old image they used to have.

Actually, hostels tend to be a trendy way of accommodation that meets current trends in the hospitality sector. Who needs a boring room, with all kinds of amenities you don’t use but still have to pay for?

So try a hostel on your next trip. You’ll have great fun.

Book an accommodation: Airbnb

You’ve probably heard of it, but did you ever stay at an Airbnb? Airbnb is likeairbnb or b&b a bed & breakfast, but then offered privately by someone who rents out a bedroom or his/her entire house or apartment. An Airbnb is generally more affordable than a hotel, although you can enjoy the amenities of an entire house. Feel at home.

The most known provider of Airbnb accommodation is Airbnb.com, although there are also other, more specialised providers or Airbnb accommodations. At Airbnb.com you’ll find a long list of people who offer a room, their house or a unique accommodation to travellers. Airbnb surely is a unique way of accommodation. Mostly, however, you’re just staying in someone’s house.

That’s also the negative side of Airbnb. The accommodation you book is offered by a normal person like you and me, and not by a professional in the hospitality sector. Although you can check reviews, Airbnb has some serious limitations, like:

  • Perhaps the cleanness of the accommodation does not meet your standards.
  • The check-in and check-out times are generally pretty strict and don’t include leaving your luggage for the afternoon before heading to the airport.
  • You don’t have a 24/7 reception service. What to do when something happens and you don’t have any mobile phone service?
  • You’re mostly staying in some else’s home.

On the other hand: You can enjoy an entire apartment instead of a small hotel room or a bed in a dorm room, including a kitchen and dining area. The prices are mostly lower than a hotel room, which is also a great advantage.

Book an accommodation: Bed & Breakfast

The last accommodation option I would like to discuss is the old fashioned Bed & Breakfast. The difference between an Airbnb and B&B is that a B&B is done semi-professional and all year long. In the case of an Airbnb it is done privately for a certain amount of time in order to make some money with your house.

In a B&B you can expect more professionalism. However, a B&B is a very particular way of accommodating yourself for the night.

Traditionally a B&B includes a bed and breakfast, and not much more. You’ll b&b or hotel get a private bedroom, sometimes a shared bathroom and breakfast. After breakfast you’re expected to leave the accommodation again. These days, however, B&B’s can be more luxurious and can include private accommodations, a private bathroom en suite and unique accommodations.

A B&B has always been a great option if you want an affordable stay with a personal touch. You generally, but not always, sleep at someone’s home, but this person does value your privacy and your presence. For some this personal touch can be an advantage, for others a disadvantage.

For every trip you can prefer another type of accommodations. For a business trip you might prefer a hotel. During a trip with you partner, a unique accommodation might be great fun, like a B&B or Airbnb. If you only have a limited budget, you might consider a hostel of Airbnb. This allows you to have some money left for other things, like a nice night out or to visit a museum. What will you book for your next trip?

14 tips for eco-friendly hotels

It is absolutely lovely to be away from home for a few days and allow yourself to be pampered in a hotel. It might be comfortable, relaxing and fun, but in order to be a responsible person you should think about the sustainability efforts of the hotel. Your choices in life reflect your level of responsibility. What can a hotel do to become more eco-friendly hotel?

Sustainability efforts of hotels

Traditionally, hotels tend to be reluctant on environmental issues. Everyone thinks that luxury and comfort go against eco-friendly guidelines. Several hotels have proven this is not the case at all. In this blog I will elaborate on a number of basic issues that can be carried out by hotels in order to be more eco-friendly. When booking a hotel, check to what extent the hotel follows some basic environmental issues.

Sustainable lighting

Every year, hotels consume a lot of energy for lightning. Lights in eco lights in hotelscommunal areas tend to be on 24/7. By changing to energy-efficient lightning, a hotel can certainly contribute to a more eco-friendly business.

Options are to use LED-lights instead of other forms of lightning. By using timers on the lights that switch on when movements are detected, a lot of energy can be saved as well. This prevents the lights being on all the time, but allow lights to be burning only when necessary.

Sustainable design

A sustainable hotel starts during the design phase. A hotel can choose environmental friendly furniture in the rooms and the communal areas, preferably furniture that has been designed and produced locally.

Eco-friendly toiletries

In hotels, but also hostels, free toiletries offered by the hotel are more-and-more expected by guests. These form an extra amenity offered by the hotel. The hotel can therefor influence the level of service and luxury they provide by choosing luxury, eco-friendly toiletries.

These are valued by guest as they are more friendly for the skin. It is a great gesture of the hotel when plant based and hypoallergenic toiletries are offered to the hotel guests. It is an extra luxury without extra costs.

Another eco-friendly solution is to use refillable soap and shampoo dispensers. These can be refilled to prevent to use of those little plastic hotel bottles that guests like to take home as a memory.

Use towels more than one day

Many hotels still change the towels of rooms on a daily basis. If guests stay sustainability in hotelsmore nights, it is absolutely not necessary to change the towels every day. Since a few years, many hotels do clearly state to guests that towels don’t need to be change daily, but can be used in a more sustainable way. Towels are only replaced by clean towels when left on the floor. This saves an enormous amount of laundry, detergents, water and energy, but also expands the lifetime of towels.

Save toilet paper

In some hotels, it is seen as appropriate to always change the toilet paper rolls with a new one, regardless whether the roll is finished or not. A more eco-friendly way is to leave rolls when not finished completely, as half rolls of toilet paper can still be used without decreasing the level of hygiene.

A better solution is to fold the end of the toilet paper roll into a triangle. This gives a good impression that the hygiene has been taken into account, without throwing away half a roll of toilet paper. It is a small adjustment to limit the annual waste of useable toilet paper and therefor also limit the costs of hotels.

Cleaning the hotel eco-friendly

A hotel is cleaned daily by the housekeeping staff. Just like at home, eco-environmental friendly cleaning products for hotelsfriendly cleaning products can have the same cleaning power as chemical products. The advantage of eco-friendly cleaning products is that it is way better for the health of housekeeping staff, guests, animals and the environment.

One should realise that the chloride used for cleaning the toilet always damages nature eventually and/or returns as supposedly drinking water. By using chloride and other chemical cleaning products, we are damaging nature and our own body without a doubt.

And really: eco-friendly alternatives clean just as well.

Eco-friendly transfers

Transport towards the airport or train station could be done eco-friendly, by using an electric car. It is a great way to present yourself as an eco-friendly hotel.

Eco-friendly image

The efforts of the hotel towards an eco-friendly hotel can be used to build a better image. It can for example be mentioned on the website of the hotel, not only as self-marketing, but also to inspire guests to pursue a more environmental-friendly lifestyle.

Green-Key hotels

Several hotels have a Green-Key label. Green-Key is an international organization that strives for environmental conscious en sustainable hotels. A hotel can only join when strict rules have been followed. This Green-Key label is the least a hotel should do, seriously.

A better heating and cooling system in the hotel room

Many hotels still have systems in which the temperature in the room can be individually regulated. When done sustainably, the temperature in the room does not have to be arranged 24/7, as guests usually mainly sleep in the room and don’t spend the entire day at the hotel room.

Systems are available to better arrange the temperature in the hotel by using heating and cold storages and arranging heating by having large windows, or arranging cooling by allowing a window to open.

Automatically turn of lights and energy outlets

Many hotels arrange the energy in the hotel room by a system, in which a key card needs to be inserted in order for lights and devices to work. When a guest leaves the room, all devices and lights are automatically turned off. This is a more eco-friendly way that doesn’t influence the experience of the guests.

Breakfast buffet or not?

Breakfast at hotels is usually arranged with a buffet. Research has showneco-friendly hotel breakfast that buffets stimulate people to overeat, caused by the larger amount of food that is being offered and by guests that load their plates too full. Also, a lot of food is being thrown away when using buffets.

An alternative is to provide the amount of food that the guest prefers, for example by using an a la carte breakfast. Another solution is to offer a buffet that only displays a limited amount of food to decrease waste.

Limit the consumption of water

Staying at a hotel usually implies that people tend to use more water by taking baths and longer showers. Convince people to act as the do at home.

Recycle waste as much as possible

Hotels tend to produce a lot of waste. A great eco-friendly solution is to treat waste more wisely. For example, by limiting the use of plastic, printed paper (we live in the digital age nowadays) and glass.

Another solution is to recycle waste. Food that is perfectly good, but does not meet the standards of the hotel can be donated to organizations that serve this food to less fortunate citizens. Other food waste can be recycled.

The way that a hotel deals with waste might be the best way to determine the eco-friendly principles of the hotel.

Both luxury and sustainability in an eco-friendly hotel in Amsterdam

Sustainability without being hippie or tacky. In Amsterdam, the first hotel in Europe that combines sustainability and circularity with the luxury of four to five stars has opened in April 2018, named QO Amsterdam. This hotel is an example to the world that the hotel and hospitality sector can be done differently. Let’s leave the Green Key and lazy sustainability efforts of hotels behind and make some real steps towards an actual sustainable hotel. It can be done, it doesn’t have to affect the level of luxury negatively, but it does needs a bit more effort and courage.

The construction of a sustainable hotel

Although the area is still in development, the new QO Amsterdam hotel is finished after just seven years of construction. It will be the first hotel in Europe that combines sustainability and circularity with a high level of luxury. It can be done! The QO hotel does not yet have an official rating, but will be in the four to five-star segment. It is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group.

The building of this revolutionary hotel counts twenty-one floors and is located at the Amstel river in a newly developed area of the city. The hotel has a restaurant, called Persijn, which offers high-class Dutch cuisine. The hotel bar is called Juniper & Kin bar and offers a great view over de Amstel river, that flows towards the old city centre.

The hotel counts 288 rooms, which vary in price between averagely €200 and €600 per night. The very exclusive Amstel suite has no more than 101 square meters and includes a personal trainer. This suite is therefor a bit more expensive, at averagely €7500 per night.

Sustainability in the rooms

As mentioned, sustainability has been implemented in all levels of the QOeco friendly restaurant hotel. This sustainable effort already started during the construction. An ingenious system with panels in front of the windows and a heat and cold storage in the basement of the hotel controls the climate inside the building in an energy-efficient way. The toilets are flushed with used shower water through a special water system that reuses waste water. Everything that is served in the hotel, food wise at least, is cooked on induction stoves. The hotel staff uses digital solutions and screens, as iPads, instead of printed paper and printed receipts.

Honestly, when staying in this hotel one realises how unnecessarily unsustainable the average hotel actually is. For example with paper receipts, unnecessary prints of paper, new towels after one day, water waste, etcetera. It can be done differently. Small steps are better than nothing, but big steps in sustainability are not so difficult as it may seem.

A sustainable breakfast

Naturally there is no breakfast buffet. A buffet leads to relatively a lot of waste and encourages people to eat excessively. Instead, it is healthier and more sustainable to be served the amount of food one is going to eat. Therefore, all meals at the QO hotel are à la carte. Meat is served, but in small portions. The meat comes from so called ‘dual purpose cow’s that give both milk and meat.

Furthermore, all products that guests use and eat are preferably locally sustainable organic hotel breakfastgrown or produced. The wooden trays in the restaurants are, for example, made from trees from a local park: the Vondelpark. At breakfast, a range of products come from local businesses, like the peanut butter and the typically Dutch and delicious chocolate sprinkles. Locally produced products limit the emissions caused by transport. Therefore, the QO hotel strives to find its suppliers nearby, when possible of course.

This does include that certain products are not available at this hotel. Limes and lemons, for example, don’t grow anywhere near to The Netherlands. Instead alternatives are found and used.

A greenhouse at an altitude of 76 meters

And that’s not all. One of the most unique parts of the QO hotel is the greenhouse that is located on the roof of the hotel. The hotel grows its own vegetables, herbs and edible flowers in this greenhouse, at a height of 76 meters. The products are used in the bar and restaurant of the hotel. This is not only unique, but locally grown products cannot be more local.

In terms of herbs and flowers, the hotel can be self sufficient. This guarantees the most delicious fresh herbs and, in some cases, vegetables imaginable.

Of course sustainability does not end there. The fish served in the restaurant of the hotel swims in a water tank in the greenhouse. This water tank is part of a circular aquaponic system. The water with the excrement of the fish serves as food for the plants in the greenhouse, that in turn purify the water. For the future, the hotel plans to use composted vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen as food for the fish.

As sustainable as can be

Of course, not everything can be as sustainable as described above. A hotel sustainable hotel roomshould strive to be a hotel that is as sustainable as possible. One of the things that didn’t work out as preferred by the QO hotel is coffee and tea. Coffee and tea produced locally is simply not available, nor an alternative. Of course, fresh herb tea is possible, but in the end guests do prefer a cup of coffee or regular tea.

Another issue is that the hotel is part of a very polluting travel industry. Their guests do not live locally, but rather travel (around the world) in order to stay at this sustainable hotel. It is questionable whether a stay at the most sustainable hotel of Europe makes sense after flying to Amsterdam by a most polluting airplane from the other side of the world.

Encouraging people to travel less is therefore difficult. QO is however committed to inspire its guests and show their guests and the world that accommodation can be done differently by using sustainable and local products. That is definitely a step in the right direction for the very unsustainable hospitality industry.

To inspire is not only a good intention. QO aims to organize events to spread their solutions to sustainability in combination with luxury. Sustainability doesn’t have to be boring, old fashioned, hippie or basic. On the other hand, luxury doesn’t have to mean excessiveness. The QO hotel is an existing proof it can be done.

You want more tips on the best eco-friendly hotels? Read my blog on the best eco-friendly hotels of 2019.