Green Sedona

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The Southwest Inn isn’t the only Sedona property embracing greenness. L’Auberge de Sedona is undergoing a $25 million renovation, which will be complete this fall and proves that being environmentally friendly doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury. In addition to expanding the number of rooms from 56 to 89, renovating all the cottages and lodge rooms, enlarging the spa and adding an exercise/yoga room, the remodeled inn will include an underground parking garage. When guests arrive, their cars will be valet parked for the duration of their stay. When a guest wants to travel around the property or head up the hill for some shopping in Uptown or at Tlaquepaque, they will be shuttled by one of six electric-battery-powered GEM cars. GEM, short for Global Electric Motorcars, a Chrysler Company, manufactures its cars in North Dakota.

L’Auberge also plans to install solar panels on top of the underground garage, says Managing Director Joe Mottershead. He hopes the panels will generate 30 percent of the hotel’s electricity. “The question isn’t why but rather why not do this,” says Joe. “It’s so appropriate for a property in Sedona to have a solar energy component.”

With L’Auberge’s Oak Creek setting, it’s no wonder the inn wants to do all it can to protect the environment. The property already includes low-flow toilets and showerheads as well as an herb garden and fruit trees used by the restaurant. The renovated cottages will feature larger decks for taking in the scenery and outdoor showers, a trend in high-end travel. “We want to keep the feel of L’Auberge so it still feels like a rustic getaway,” says Joe. “Even when we’re full, you’ll still be able to walk around and see only the ducks. Our job has always been about protecting and preserving the creek.”

While L’Auberge undergoes a green renovation, El Portal Sedona was built to be energy efficient from the start. Though it might look like a 1920s hacienda, the 12-room inn was built in 2003 on one acre of land deeded to Sedona pioneer Frank Owenby in 1901. The entire inn is furnished with arts and crafts furniture from owners Steve and Connie Segner’s personal collection – no imports at this hotel. El Portal’s 18-inch-thick walls were constructed from adobe bricks and reclaimed lumber, keeping the rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter. An extended roof provides shade while the floors are wood and concrete sans carpet.

“We’ve got to be the most energy-efficient property in Arizona,” says Steve.
For those looking to stay green and off the beaten path, Sedona Mago Retreat Center might be your best bet in the entire state. Located 11 miles off a dirt road in the Coconino National Forest, Mago Retreat is surrounded by 2,000 juniper trees as well as 1,300 other trees and 2,040 plants (heavy mulch, produced on-site, is spread around trees to conserve water). A van picks up guests from commercial shuttle stops, and an electric vehicle shuttles guests and staff around the property. Casita guest rooms are built into the hillside for temperature control. Water run off fills the man-made lakes and ponds while a gray-water recycling system filters water from guest rooms and uses it to water plants. The dining halls generates 14,600 gallons of compost each year for the organic garden, which, in turn, grows fruits and vegetables used in menu items. The center is also in the process of installing solar panels to provide electricty.

“Sedona Mago Retreat Center has a philosophy: love of the earth and love of humanity,” says Larry Rosenberg, retreat spokesman. “You can’t love one without the other. Ten years ago, when we started to modernize, we decided [being green] was a natural way to show our respect for the earth. We call it ‘eco-harmony’ – harmony between us and the earth.”

Southwest Inn at Sedona 800-483-7422
L’Auberge de Sedona 800-905-5745
El Portal Sedona 800-313-0017
Sedona Mago Retreat Center 800-875-2256

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