Twenty for 20: The Most Iconic Hotels of the 21st Century

United States 31 August 2021
Seafire brings trendy chicness to the Cayman scene, as well as a serious approach to sustainable tourism / ┬ęSeafire
Article by Samantha Coles and Becca Hensley
When we began researching for this compilation, we thought: piece of cake. The best luxury hotels in the world with the most impressive eco-credentials — how hard could it be? Hard is perhaps the wrong word. There is such a vast, wonderful ocean of LEED-certified resorts with pioneering seawater cooling systems, inventive waste reduction programs, solar-powered, ice-powered, wind-powered…all wrapped up in cushy luxury.
It is a situation that might not have been the case 20-odd years ago; sustainability and environmental issues were not at the forefront as they are now — although in some instances, this was on certain hoteliers’ minds even when it was not the ‘in’ thing to do. There is an innate desire to protect beautiful places, to leave little to no footprint on the pristine environment and those who inhabit it. Many hotels employ a ‘leave no trace’ mentality, which seeps into every part of the resort.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Cayman Islands

It’s a bit of a misnomer. The storied Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman’s west shore, a crescent of coral sand that frames impossibly blue water, measures only 5.5 miles. That doesn’t stop it from being one of the most exquisite bits of resort-studded seashore on earth. On it, with LEED Silver certification (the first and only on Cayman) beguiling Seafire brings a welcome trendy chicness to the Cayman scene, as well as a serious approach to sustainable tourism.

With a mission to be “Stewards of the Environment,” the resort goes beyond the ubiquitous call for beach clean up to incorporate such elements as Deep Water Cooling Technology, a Solar array for energy capture, a reduction and recycling program, and its latest initiative to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles across the resort. In addition, LED lighting in all guest rooms, rooftop solar panels, and turtle friendly lighting (which allows turtles to journey ashore undaunted) makes a difference. Eco tours for guests include night kayaking through bioluminescent waters and swimming with the stingrays. (BH)

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