The Orchard Garden Hotel is a beautiful luxury boutique hotel, and any visitor to San Francisco would enjoy spending a night or four there.
The rooms are bright and spacious, and the location is central to everything people want to do on vacation in the city by the Bay. It’s right on Union Square for shopping, the Museum of Modern Art is walking distance, and it’s around the corner from the largest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia.
More importantly, for those of us who like to make eco-responsible travel choices, the Orchard Garden Hotel is one of the most elegantly, seriously green hotels you will ever visit, which is why it’s one of my picks for the Top 5 Green Hotels in San Francisco.
The hotel was built from the ground up in 2006, using the standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2007, the Orchard Garden hotel was the first hotel in California, the third hotel in the US, and just the fourth in the world, to earn LEED certification.
This is a legitimately environmentally-responsible property, and their efforts go far beyond in-room recycling, which they obviously have. For example, the key card activated energy management system.
When you enter the room, you put your key card in a holder by the door. This turns on the lights and air systems. When you leave, you take the key and everything gets turned off, except for one outlet. That way you effortlessly conserve energy, and you’re still able to charge electronics while you’re eating dinner or sight-seeing. This system is common in Europe and Asia, but it’s just catching on here, which is a mystery to me — it saves so much energy that the system paid for itself in two years.
If you’re as geeky about eco-friendly building and certification as I am, you can read more about the Orchard Garden’s green efforts on the hotel’s website. They’re very proud of their green-cred, and make all of the information freely available. Here’s my favorite stat: they diverted 77% of the construction waste out of landfill!
The thing I like best about the Orchard Garden Hotel is that the environmentally-friendly practices make it a very nice place to stay.
I already mentioned the great lighting — 80% of the space is lit by daylight, even though it’s downtown and surrounded by tall office buildings. They use chemical-free cleaning products and all of the linens are machine washable Egyptian cotton, which means your bedspread isn’t leeching drying cleaning chemicals into the bed.
The furniture is made of FSC-certified maple, and the interesting art on the walls (very cool photography, no sad watercolors here) was created by local artists. When you put it all together, the rooms are pretty, comfortable and relaxing.
Even in restaurant-crazy San Franscisco, what hotel is complete without a tasty restaurant? The Roots Restaurant — with a full bar, extra points — is off the lobby of the hotel. In keeping with the green philosophy, they serve local, organic dishes. Don’t miss the truffle oil french fries. You’re on vacation, live a little!
All of the rooms in the Orchard Garden Hotel are a good size, and you have access to a beautiful shared roof deck, with views of the City. In addition to the standard room with a queen sized bed, you can choose from a junior suite, with a little more space to spread out, or the deluxe terrace suite, which gets you a private section of roof deck. There are always specials and packages, including AAA member rates. On the site you can find rates that start around $150/night and go up.