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Luxury hotels celebrate Earth Hour with branded events

March 24, 2015

The Ritz-Carleton St. Thomas The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas


Luxury hotels around the world will be standing up for sustainability March 28 by participating in Earth Hour to promote awareness about climate change.

Earth Hour is an international event started in 2007 in which participants turn off their lights for one hour from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time to remind people about the serious consequences of neglecting the environment. Hotels and resorts will be celebrating Earth Hour 2015 in a variety of different ways, expressing their dedication to environmental issues and their willingness to work for change.

“Earth Hour is about awareness and reflection,” said Mike Taylor, public relations director at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Ontario, Canada. “Taking an hour to turn off the lights, keep the environment top of mind and think about ways to improve for the following year is something that we can all get behind.”

Lights out

The Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world will be participating in Earth Hour by turning off lights in key areas. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas is going even further by hosting a special cocktail party to celebrate the event.

Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas will host a beach bonfire to celebrate Earth Hour

“The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas has always observed Earth Hour, though this is our first year creating a unique guest experience around it,” said Bernd Kuhlen, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. “The company encourages each property to be creative in how they celebrate, so here in St. Thomas we decided to capitalize on our gorgeous beach and Caribbean culture with a moonlit beach BBQ and bonfire.”

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will also participate by lighting signature, scented candles during the hour of darkness. This will give consumers a preview of the candles, which will be released later this year.

fairmont dubai 400

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will light candles during the hour

“Flickering candle light is a calming experience in itself, which gives Earth Hour participants a chance to unwind and reflect,” Mr. Taylor said. “By celebrating with our Fairmont Lobby Scent Candle, we are hoping to give people an added experience that will keep Earth Hour and Fairmont top of mind long after the event is over at 9 p.m.”

The Four Seasons recently announced its plans for participating in the event. The Four Seasons Hotel México, DF location will be hosting a cocktail party to celebrate with a special cocktail created for the occasion.

four seasons mexico

The Four Seasons Hotel México will donate proceeds to the World Wildlife Fund

"By hosting the Earth Hour cocktail event the people will have a sense of belonging as well as an opportunity to connect and share ideas of how we can be heroes of our own planet," said Michelle Meyer, corporate communications for The Four Seasons. "As a hotel we are making a donation for every cocktail that is sold during the week, and all funds will go to the World Wildlife Fund."

It is important for luxury hotels to support sustainability around the world, and Earth Hour is the perfect opportunity to do that. Publicly taking a stance for climate change reform reflects positively on the brands involved and reminds guests to take action themselves.

earth hour

Earth Hour 2015 will take place on Saturday, March 28

Stay sustainable

Many luxury hotels make some effort to be environmentally conscious throughout the year.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is currently leading the industry in sustainability, having recently become the first hospitality brand to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to the World Wildlife Fund’s recommended target.

The hotel brand recently announced that it has been able to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent below its 2006 levels, thus achieving the ambitious goal suggested by the WWF’s Climate Saver’s Program. Individual hotels around the world used different strategies to improve their sustainability and bring down the company’s total emissions (see story).

Other brands have been vocal about the need for sustainable practices in the industry.

For example, Starwood Hotels and Resorts made the case that environmental stewardship and social responsibility are essential business practices in its inaugural “Global Citizenship at Starwood” report.

The report outlined the company’s environmentally sustainable efforts, community initiatives and other projects that it deems not simply just but also “urgently needed” in this “Age of Great Change.” The conglomerate’s attempt to familiarize consumers with its progressive efforts may spur other companies to up their game in similar areas (see story).

Fortunately, this year's Earth Hour celebrations show that many hotels are taking sustainability seriously and doing their part to effect change.

"Every year, Earth Hour is a perfect opportunity to bring attention to sustainability issues and show that individuals and companies can make a difference,” Mr. Kuhlen said. “This is especially true here in the Caribbean, where the island environment is so fragile and human behaviors are pivotal in keeping this beautiful destination as pristine as possible.

The goal is for individuals, companies and communities to show their commitment to the planet. We’re happy to engage our guests and employees here at the property level with a fun and unique evening.”

Final Take
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York