Gallery: New Green Element Hotel Opens in Times Square, New York!

The rooms have operable windows - which may not seem like a big deal - but actually makes a big difference in terms of ventilation and keeping air fresh and healthy. Poor indoor air quality is a common issue in hotels, so this design choice was literally a breath of fresh air for me.

Element Hotels, a branch of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is the first major hotel brand to mandate that all of its properties seek LEED certification. Element opened its first green hotel in 2008 in Lexington, Massachusetts, and has since spread across the country with openings in Denver, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Houston, and more.

I recently had the opportunity to stay at the new green Element Hotel and found it to be comfortable, chic, and surprisingly well-designed and classy for a ‘budget’ hotel.

One of the things I love the most about the hotel is that the rooms all come with fully-furnished kitchens! Yes, you heard me right: refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, ovens, and even cookware, dishes and utensils. It seems that Element Hotel Times Square is geared toward longer-term stays, but even for short-term stays this factor is wonderful. As any budget or eco-conscious traveler can attest to; it is really nice to have some refrigerator space and reheating options for leftover restaurant meals, and it is even better to be able to cook when you are traveling. I love that the design of the Element Hotel allows for both of these money and waistline-saving activities.

But, for those of you who are too rushed to cook, the hotel offers a complimentary breakfast buffet of low-fat wraps and fruit smoothies, and a health food snack bar. There is a gorgeous rooftop terrace – which is one of the highlights of the hotel – with stunning views of the nearby (green) New York Times building and the Manhattan skyline.

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2 Comments

  1. tsias1 June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Perhaps we should take it easy a bit. This is a big step forward on Starwoods part, especially considering green efforts from other hotel properties. If we continue to bash companies’ initiatives and efforts to adopt greener operations, they will soon become discouraged. I suggest we applaud Starwood for setting a possitive example. I’m sure this is just the beginning.

  2. calvin k March 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    It’s a good step to use more eco friendly materials in construction and furnishing… but to be actually environmentally conscious with an impact, and not just a marketable veneer, I think it will be great if the focus is more on the day to day operations of the hotel — which I will think are longer lasting and have more effect on the environment.

    For example, how are the sheets washed? the floors? heating, cooling, energy source? solar panels? microwave and fridge when not in use? (which consume quite a bit of power even when they are idle)

    How about the numerous toiletries in plastic bottles and bags that usually litter the washroom? (on the website they claim the use of dispenser but in the photo it still shows soap in bag and lotion in plastic bottle)

    Is the roof top terrace a green roof? doesn’t seem like it… and why not?

    It’s a nice gesture but I will personally like to see a more bolder approach. For me it seems they picked mostly from the easy-to-do list. They keep mentioning “pursuing LEED” “aims for LEED certification” but at no where states what certification they actually get, if any. (And the constant use of “Green” is also really borderline-ing greenwashing… a branding exercise)