The beautiful Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal is not just a landmark - it's also an energy-efficient modern building with its own rooftop garden that grows produce for its restaurant. John Lennon and Yoko Ono famously staged their bed-in of 1969 here, but the historical hotel is also an attraction for eco-tourism, as one of Montreal’s greenest buildings. The hotel invited Inhabitat to check out their green practices already in place, as well as their future plans to bring even more eco-luxury to the premises.
The lobby of the hotel has all the features that luxury hotels are made of: friendly staff, ample suites decorated with historic flair, award winning 5 star restaurants, and furnishings and décor that echo the regal style of its namesake. The hotel was built in 1958, and is the largest in all of Quebec. Many heads of state have stayed here, including Queen Elizabeth II (four times). The hotel was made further famous for a week in 1969 when John and Yoko were refused entry to the U.S. and thus staged their bed-in protest in room 1742, recording “Give Peace a Chance” in the room on June 1, 1969.
But aside from traditional luxury, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has been using sustainable and energy efficient practices for years. The massive hotel is heated by steam, uses water conservation strategies, and has had a rigorous recycling and composting system in place for over 21 years. A computerized HVAC system monitors rooms to make sure no energy is wasted when rooms are empty. A member of the Climate Savers Program, the hotel is committed to a 20% reduction of carbon emissions by 2013, and has won both the Sustainable Tourism prize in 2012 as well as the Four Green Key for its programs. Leftover food from their three restaurants and unused guest soap and toiletries are donated to local shelters for the city’s needy. Guests can take advantage of free green transportation, and borrow one of the hotel’s BMW bicycles to tour the city, or connect to the underground walkways or central train station that is located two levels below the lobby. The hotel is also in the works of designing an in-house charging station for electric vehicles.
Last year, the hotel installed a self-irrigating edible roof garden, which mainly grows edible flowers, produce and herbs for its three restaurants. In 2011, the 70 containers grew over 400 edible flowers and 30% of their needed produce, including the heirloom Montreal melon. They have even been known to grow mushrooms in the lobby, as a lesson of the ease of small, urban farms. The hotel will expand the garden in 2012, and also add a network of their own beehives, with a trained beekeeper on staff. The hotel also makes their own goat cheese, thanks to their white goat, Blanche Neige (Snow White), who lives on a farm a few miles away.
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel combines historic tradition with eco-tourism. They seek to show the world that luxury and sustainability go hand in hand.
Images ©Fairmont Hotels & Resorts