Eco-Friendly at The Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites
Green And Environmentally Sensitive Traditions Continue at the Historic Mendocino Hotel Ocean & Garden Suites
The Mendocino Hotel is an historic structure, and is distinguished in that it has used since it was constructed in 1878 a number of “green” materials, and has employed sustainable practices. In April 2007, Town and Country Magazine pointed out that a number of hotels like The Mendocino Hotel have “been using environmentally friendly materials for decades, even centuries, without realizing their ‘green’ value.”
Lovingly Restored Antique Furnishings
The Mendocino Hotel Ocean & Garden Suites has spent over one million dollars on antique furnishings that have been lovingly restored and which will be sustained and used for another 100 years or more—unlike plastic or mass-produced furnishings that are discarded after only a few short years. The Hotel has recycled “aged” vintage curtains which could have been discarded, and has transformed them into attractive throw pillows that have been placed in the lobby in front of a 200-year-old real wood-burning Dutch fireplace. Stained glass panels salvaged from the early 1900s have been restored and incorporated throughout the public areas and, like the Tiffany style lamps, have been carefully maintained so that they will be enjoyed for many future generations. The Victorian wallpaper in the lobby and dining room is hand-screened and vinyl-free and also contributes to the cozy feeling and ambiance regardless of the season.
Sustainable Site Systems at The Mendocino Hotel Yield Superior Comfort
In keeping with the Green tradition, in 1975 dozens of highly efficient toilets were carefully selected from a Swedish manufacturer, and The Mendocino Hotel became the first full service hotel to install a system that used 80% less water. Public lavatories each have low-flow faucets with timers.
An exquisitely tuned, environmentally sensitive process controls light, temperature and air circulation utilizing an elaborate “technology” of windows, flues, curtains and doors. Two long central hallways in the Main Hotel on Main Street draw breezes through, offering relief from warm summers. The Garden Room is warmed throughout the winter with natural sunlight that penetrates transparent ceilings, and is cooled in the summer by open windows and the slow quiet revolutions of ceiling fans. The Cafe Jardin in the hotel Garden Room is a virtual greenhouse, and the recent conversion of inefficient electric heaters to the latest state of the art, pollution-free, high-efficiency propane heaters has reduced energy consumption by 200%.
The hotel pumps and filters several thousand gallons of water daily from its seven on-site wells which draw water from the aquifers beneath the hotel property. With this sustainable resource, the hotel is reducing dependence on the use of plastic for bottled drinking water. Biodegradable disposable utensils and plates made from potato are available for large group events, wedding receptions and on request. Water and energy conservation cards are placed in all dining rooms and in guest accommodations as a friendly reminder that we all need to be mindful of conserving water and energy whenever possible. About 90% of the light fixtures have been replaced with Energy Saver Compact Fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs are environmentally friendly and save up to 75% in electricity costs over incandescent bulbs. There are dimmer switches and timers installed throughout the property for further electrical savings.
Laundry is done on-site using high-efficiency washers and dryers. A new high-efficiency kitchen dishwasher that washes dining utensils for over 90,000 meals a year has been installed that boosts water temperature several-fold, thereby limiting wash cycle time and water consumption while exceeding health department dishwater temperature requirements. Doorframe “All Natural Firelogs” are used in the 25 Garden Suites and have replaced natural wood burning logs in the fireplaces so that the ambiance of a fire can be offered to a guest with 75% less particulate emissions and without the toxic and harmful fumes of regular wood. These bio-wax free logs are a cost-effective and environmentally sound method for reducing greenhouse gas emission levels from fireplaces. To further serve the future generation of electric and hybrid vehicles that transport guests to the hotel, nine power outlets have been installed in the hotel parking lot—the surface of which is not blacktop or pavement. By using a unique and attractive cinder block with multiple openings, lush vegetation is allowed to grow through, offering both a visual treat and a design that reduces runoff to allow the water to seep into the ground below—thus regenerating in part the aquifers on which the town depends for its survival.
Organic Food, Sustainable Seafood and Organic and Biodynamic Wines Are Featured At The Mendocino Hotel Restaurant • Biodynamic Wine Maker Dinner April 19, 2009
The award-winning Mendocino Hotel Restaurant is another example of a commitment to organic foods and sustainability. The owner of The Mendocino Hotel is a member of the international organization Slow Food, and is an active member of the convivium (a regional branch of this international organization.) The executive chef purchases organic greens and other products from local purveyors, and supplements this with herbs nurtured without pesticides on the Hotel’s own 2 acre gardens and from its sister hotel the Hill House Inn. A professional wood chipper has been purchased so that all of the clippings from the gardens can be chipped and used as a natural supplement for the flowers and vegetables. This has also reduced the fuel-dependent pickup and delivery of clippings by the local waste pickup and recycling services provider. Natural organic meats, vegetables, and cooking ingredients are selected from certified organic purveyors whenever possible, and fresh fish is chosen using a list from reliable sources, such as BlueOcean.org which identifies the most endangered and most plentiful types of fish. For example, Chilean sea bass has been removed from the menu, while abundant and sustainable American farm clams are featured on the ZAGAT-rated menu. CEAGO biodynamic wines are featured by the glass and bottle from a list that includes a number of local organic wines and which has received the Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence for the past eleven years.
The Hotel participates in a Biodiesel program in which vegetable oils are picked up from its restaurants on a regular basis and transformed into fuel for biodiesel vehicles in Mendocino. Dungeness Crab is featured as an example of sustainable seafood at the Hotel, since Dungeness crab fisheries are well-managed. The fishery only takes males, is closed during the molting season (allowing the crabs to reproduce) and has strict limits on minimum size. This comprehensive management approach protects and sustains future populations. Dungeness crabs are native to the Pacific Ocean, and are caught with traps within sight of The Mendocino Hotel balcony—a method considered eco-friendly because fishermen can release undersized crabs and other accidental catch mostly unharmed. Dungeness crab fisheries are managed under the 3-S principle: size, sex, and season. Only mature males of at least 6-1/4 inches in size are allowed to be landed. This ensures that males reach sexual maturity and mate for one to two years before reaching legal fishery size. Fishermen may not harvest female or soft-shelled (molting) crabs in any of the Dungeness crab fisheries, and fishing seasons are scheduled to avoid the primary molt period. This well-crafted management approach has maintained population health and abundance over the past 50 years.
The Hotel sponsors a “Slow Food” Earth Day on April 19, 2009 with a farmers market featuring organic and biodynamic wines from 1 pm thorough 5 pm. The day ends when Jim Fetzer of CEAGO Vineyards hosts an Organic and Biodynamic Five-Course Wine Maker Dinner created by Executive Chef Joe Brown.
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