EcoTraveler: San Francisco’s Orchard Garden Hotel

The Orchard Garden Inn claims to be San Francisco’s “Purely Green Hotel,” and as a one of the only LEED certified hotels in the country, I would say it’s off to a good start. Wanting to support such eco-minded entrepreneurs, I checked out the boutique hotel this weekend.

The hotel staff were lovely and although our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, they made accommodations for our bags while we took a day trip to Napa to visit vineyards, such as Domaine Carneros, a gem for delicious California Bruts made from organic grapes – more on that later. When we returned and checked into our Terrace Suite, the staff were just as welcoming and amiable as they had been earlier that day, a true plus for the service industry.

Rooms in the hotel are loaded with “eco-features,” such as EO (Essential Oils) and Aveda products, a recycling bin separated into paper, bottles and trash (which was greatly appreciated by this traveler), and a feature that requires the room key to be “plugged in” for the air and lights to work. Of course, the showers and faucets have water saving filters, and the mini-bar offered organic treats.

While I was surprised to see granite as the choice for the counter tops, I was impressed that the furniture was FSC-certified maple. The 100% smoke free facility mandate and chemical free cleaning supplies were also much appreciated.

In fact, the entire philosophy of the hotel – from the LEED certified building to the ammenities and charming service makes for a very enjoyable stay. The only con to the hotel was the mis-appropriated room size. While the bathroom was enormous, the soaking tub was tiny, and a lot of the space not only went unused but cut down on the “living space” in the bedroom. The exceptionally beautiful and spacious terrace patio made up for that a bit, but if you are in the hotel for longer than a weekend, it could get cramped.

The hotel is a bit pricey, the rack rate for the Terrace Suite starts at $500 per night, but for eco-travelers who want good service, plenty of eco-ammenities in a great location near Chinatown and Union Square, this is a great stop if you don’t mind paying the price.

Written by Courtney Carlisle Bolton

When she isn't writing or in the library, this tech savvy ecophile can usually be found glued to her mobile or macbook ogling the latest gadgets, scouting the newest designs, traveling or out enjoying the Colorado terrain.

Courtney holds two masters degrees in Psychology and Communications and received her BA from Vanderbilt University in Psychology and English. She recently relocated from Los Angeles to Denver, CO where she is pursuing her PhD in Family and Child Psychology.

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