Prevue asked David Clark, Grand Hotel Marriott’s General Manager, his thoughts on sustainability trends for 2011.
Q: What are the latest trends you’re seeing revolving around sustainability?
A: Focusing on sustainability is good for the environment, good for business and popular with meeting planners. The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa has placed a tremendous focus on it, from landscaping to meal planning to guest interaction.
With more than 500 acres along Mobile Bay, The Grand has proven its environmental strength through using a type of grass that can be irrigated by water from the bay rather than freshwater, and by using salt water as an alternative to herbicides for killing weeds.
The hotel installed environmentally friendly lighting and low flow sinks and toilets in addition to its efforts to make its own compost and provide green buffer areas to preserve the natural habitat. The hotel spa never uses Styrofoam and always uses flameless candles. The retail shop in the spa has started selling bamboo clothing and soy retail products, and even the Governor’s Suite has been redone with bamboo flooring.
Q: How are your restaurants and banquets being more sustainable-minded?
A: According to Michael Herzog, director of food and beverage for The Grand Hotel, each initiative is meant to fulfill our constant goal to recycle, reuse and reduce. Restaurants at The Grand are also making efforts to fulfill these three goals.
“We make sure to constantly buy local produce and we grow our own tomatoes and herbs in the Chef’s Garden,” Herzog says. “Additionally, bio-dynamic wines are now available at The Grand.”
Q: Has increased sustainability lowered business costs?
A: In order to be environmentally friendly while meeting the needs of our guests and controlling costs, The Grand Hotel has looked to technology. The Grand Hotel uses the Internet in every way possible such as posting menus, sales kits, brochures and newsletters online rather than printing. Guests now receive guest room folios online rather than in print. Recycling newspapers, magazines, copy paper and even cardboard, specifically 2,000 pounds per month, helps reduce wasted paper.
Q: How are you promoting awareness about sustainability?
A: The Grand Hotel exhibited at Earth Day in Fairhope to help educate others on the importance of environmental responsibility. The resort’s efforts have been highlighted in the media and noticed by guests and local organizations. The Baldwin County Commission honored The Grand Hotel with the Environmental Achievement Award. The award is given to citizens, businesses and agencies that “illustrate sound environmental principles in their day to day operations.” It’s exciting to see the environmental efforts of the hotel being recognized. Our employees are working hard to ensure that we are conscious of the environment.