Hospitality for the Planet

Creative sustainability projects are being splashed out across all Montage properties, from composting campaigns to reef cleanups. These successful efforts—which have earned the hospitality group the Environmental Media Association’s (EMA) Green Seal for Hospitality—are about more than just recycling and reusing. They reflect a passion for the planet, reassuring guests that Montage means business when it comes to conservation.

At Montage Deer Valley, an Environmental Impact Committee of interested team members leads the resort’s initiatives by planning and executing new practices and processes to ensure a minimal carbon footprint. Composting food waste in partnership with nearby Wild Harvest Farms and recycling guest room soap with Clean the World, as well as encouraging carpooling with a raffle gift drawing and providing 20 electric car charging stations, are a few examples of their success.

“We are reducing the number of plastic water bottles by providing reusable glass bottles in the coming months,” says Wayne Souza, director of engineering and head of Montage Deer Valley’s Environmental Impact Committee. “We also collaborate with our community to pool resources, share knowledge and continuously improve.”

Chef de Cuisine Ben Martinek in Studio’s sustainable garden at Montage Laguna Beach (Photo by Angela Conners Treimer)

For example, when new uniforms are rolled out, prior uniforms are donated to local nonprofits that assist low-income adults seeking job opportunities. The resort also uses an ozone laundry system, which uses water saturated with ozone that provides an electrical charge to disinfect in place of hot water.

“Ozone allows us to use cold water and significantly less detergent while achieving superior cleaning. Because detergents have been reduced, rinse cycles are also shortened. All of this combined leads to increased lifetime of linens, reduction of hot water and overall reduction of water usage. The ozone process also separates molecules of the laundry, leaving linens with less moisture, which has greatly reduced drying time,” Souza explains.

At Montage Laguna Beach, guests use the PressReader app for access to more than 7,000 publications available in over 60 languages, instead of reading traditional newspapers, to reduce paper consumption. In the bathrooms, the resort added sugar cane cardboard packaging for amenities, bamboo toothbrushes and wooden combs. The property has also partnered with Gilchrist & Soames, an environmentally-friendly bath product company committed to “responsible luxury.”

Renovated rooms with eco-friendly bedding and cribs at Montage Laguna Beach (Photo by Angela Conners Treimer)

Last spring, in conjunction with the comprehensive renovation, Montage Laguna Beach General Manager Anne-Marie Houston spearheaded all of the sustainability efforts and partnerships (from hiring a design and build firm that specializes in edible gardens to sourcing sustainable children’s toys) on behalf of the property. The resort is already establishing more environmentally-friendly partners, such as Naturalmat USA, Bloom, Fabulous Goose, The Madison Collection and others, to align with like-minded brands and companies that have a similar focus on sustainability.  The resort is also continuing its commitment to eliminating single-use plastics and planting drought-resistant landscaping for water efficiency. In the next year, the property will continue to focus on driving down waste and increasing energy efficiency by installing sensor lighting throughout much of the hotel.

The care continues at Montage Kapalua Bay, where poolside plastic is no longer used and guests are kept hydrated by glass carafes of ice cold water. Compostable cutlery and to-go boxes are de rigueur, as is the reef-safe sunscreen—part of a statewide initiative— available for guests to slather on at each towel stand.

Reef-safe Sun Bum products are available at Montage Kapalua Bay. (Photo by Amy Mikler)

While each Montage property is careful to enhance the unique natural beauty of its own region, Montage Palmetto Bluff has a greater responsibility. Surrounded by 20,000 acres of historic property that is fiercely protected by the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, resort staff members are given the opportunity to complete a five-part course that certifies them as an ambassador, honing their understanding of the bigger Palmetto Bluff story to better impact the overall guest experience.

The golf course at Montage Palmetto Bluff is irrigated using freshwater catch ponds.

Also, since last year alone, the conservancy has tripled the yearly programming offered to guests and the community, from just shy of 100 programs on land and sea to more than 300 that are now available. Guests gazing out across the dreamy May River just might spot Lucky, the resort’s adopted dolphin who is not only their symbol for sustainability (there’s a mini Lucky left in guest rooms, encouraging guests to only leave him on the bed if they would like clean linens) but also the subject of an extensive marine biology study fueled by a partnership with a local university.

Lucky, the Montage Palmetto Bluff’s adopted dolphin who is their symbol for sustainability.

Back on land, the May River Golf Course is a beacon of green in every sense. The ponds across the course are freshwater catch ponds used to irrigate all 18 holes. “We are, however, careful to avoid the fringe areas of holes that line the May River to ensure that there is never any freshwater runoff or cross-contamination,” says Dylan Mingard, director of facilities and property operations.

Montage Beverly Hills was the first recipient of the Environmental Media Association’s Green Seal for Hospitality, followed by the other properties, all achieving the highest award, the EMA Gold Seal for Hospitality.

Beverly Canon Gardens at Montage Beverly Hills features drought-resistant landscaping. (Photo by John Russo)

To receive the seal, the resorts’ high scores were based on staff engagement, biodiversity conservation, waste management, water and energy efficiency, use of paper products and disposables, chemical and pollution reduction, as well as general sustainability.

The Environmental Impact Committee at Montage Beverly Hills meets regularly to set goals for improving biodiversity conservation, chemical and pollution reduction, staff engagement and more, including initiating motion sensors, LED bulbs, successful electronic waste and battery recycling programs and bio-friendly kitchen exhaust and drainage systems. These team members have indicated their personal interest in sustainability and are working on creative new projects to turn their passion into progress.

By Sue Collins