7 of London’s most eco-friendly hotels

Tooting horns; high-rise hotels; bustling streets. London might not seem the kind of destination you’d choose if you had an environmentally-friendly holiday in mind. But, as these seven hotels prove, some of the capital’s most famous hotels have pretty impressive green credentials.

The Savoy

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Credit: @thesavoylondon

Despite sitting in the middle of the busy, often-chaotic Strand, the Savoy has focused its attention on conservation and innovative eco-friendly practices.

Firstly, the hotel has a ‘Sustainability Manager’, which is pretty impressive in its own right, not to mention its detailed environmental policy.

The hotel has made “substantial investment” in being as sustainable as possible, as well as reducing its carbon footprint. Heating and cooling systems have been replaced with high efficiency ones; intelligent energy building controls have been installed; a combined heat and power plant reduces the hotel’s reliance on the energy grid by around 50%.

One particularly neat feature is heat from all kitchen appliances is reclaimed and used to preheat the domestic hot water. Another favourite is the hotel’s scheme which recycles food waste into renewable energy and biofertiliser.

The hotel says around 20% of its guest rooms are lit by this scheme.

The Savoy also has its own water bottling plant, which is says is “a positive step in reducing glass and packaging waste, as well as carbon emissions from transport miles”. The hotel estimates by re-using the glass bottles, it will save 105 tonnes of glass from being used annually.

The hotel also has a target to divert 100% of all its waste from landfill. In-house schemes see candles, corks, spectacles and stamps recycled, while old computers and kitchenware are donated to local and overseas charities.

Food-wise, the hotel pledges to use produce which supports local growers.

The Rubens at the Palace

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Credit: The Rubens

The Rubens at the Palace in Victoria boasts impressive green credentials. The hotel’s site has a page dedicated to explaining the environmentally-friendly policies, and even has a ‘Green Team’.

“We also focus on other large-scale initiatives – such as a clear policy on recycling, installing solar panels to provide energy and dimmer switches to conserve it, and finding ways to reuse waste water for flushing toilets and watering plants – to apparently trivial responses like reusing scrap paper as notepaper.” 

But the hotel’s crowning glory is its external “living wall”. 350sqm big, the wall has 10,000 herbaceous plants. It provides a wildlife habitat, helps keep the hotel cooler in the summer and warm in the winter, and improves the surrounding air quality.

The wall’s also had the thumbs up from the Royal Horticultural Society for attracting bees, butterflies and birds.

Egerton House Hotel

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Credit: @egerton_house

The Knightsbridge hotel also has an appointed Green Team, and pledges to:

  • Recycle all paper, cardboard, glass, printer cartridges & batteries
  • Use energy saving light bulbs
  • Green practices training for all staff
  • Ask that guests put towels they want replacing into the bath so we don’t replace unnecessarily
  • Use Belu water – the only 100% carbon neutral water company giving all profits to Water Aid
  • Take lost property that has been unclaimed after 6 months to charity shops

One Aldwych

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Credit: One Aldwych

The five-star hotel has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint and “embrace” sustainable tourism.

Among it’s eco-friendly practices, the hotel recycles all paper, cardboard, glass, some plastics, cooking oil, light bulbs and batteries.

LED lighting is used “wherever possible” to reduce energy consumption, bio-degradable packaging is used for in-room amenities. The hotel also uses an EVAC draining system, which uses 80% less water than conventional flushing systems (the toilets only use one litre of water per flush).

The hotel has a chlorine-free swimming pool, which uses a mineral-based cleaning system.

The most interesting eco initiative is the hotel’s no bleach policy. Bleach is not used anywhere in One Aldwych to “prevent harsh chemicals being released into the water system”. The hotel adds: “It also protects our employees’ hands.”

Hotel Rafayel

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Credit: Hotel Rafayel

Overlooking the Thames, the hotel is a fascinating example of a building mindful of its environment and utilising technology to boost its eco credentials.

The hotel boasts an air-con system with “extremely low energy consumption” which enables excess heat in one part of the building to be transferred to other areas where heat is needed.

A grove of bamboo trees has also been planted, which the hotel boasts “releases 75% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees”.

Perhaps most impressive, however, is the rainwater harvesting technology which captures rainwater from the hotel’s terraces. The water is then used for plant irrigation.

The hotel really was built to be eco-friendly:

  • The synthetic wood doors are made of 90% sustainable mahogany
  • Recycled leather furnishings
  • Eco-friendly drycleaners
  • ‘Hypnos’ beds in every room, which are recycled with a zero landfill and carbon footprint process
  • Electronic newspapers
  • Hotel-wide ‘no plastic policy’
  • Organic and fair-trade products in the mini bars
  • Wines, coffees and cocktails made using sustainable farm-to-bar and regionally-grown ingredients
  • A purified water system which eradicates the need for bottles and water delivery

Draycott Hotel


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Credit: Draycott Hotel

The boutique hideaway just off Sloane Square has an almost endless list of policies to lesson its environmental impact.

Alongside recycling paper, glass, batteries, bulbs, cans and cartridges, the hotel operates a “switch off” policy for office staff to turn off computer equipment and printers when not in use.

The hotel has reduced its usage of harmful cleaning chemicals and replaces it with eco-friendly products “where possible”.

A particular favourite is the simple: “Reducing our usage of paper by printing double-sided.”

The hotel also uses low energy bulbs in public areas, turns off unnecessary lights and taps, and buys in bulk.

In the future, the hotel hopes to:

  • Update its website with green travel information e.g. local bicycle hire.
  • Continue to reduce its energy consumption by 10% by looking at energy saving devices such as movement lighting, continuing with a roof insulation programme and working on long term projects such as implementing LED lighting.
  • Use more organic produce, seasonal vegetables and local produce.
  • Use recycled paper for brochures.
  • Reduce water use by 10% by continuing to fit water saving devices in toilets.
  • Donate bathroom products to local homeless charities.

The hotel also asks gets to leave any unwanted books, which will be sold and the proceeds donated to charity.

The Cavendish

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Credit: The Cavendish

The Cavendish is another hotel with a Green Team.

Its environmental commitment pledges to:

  • Work with supplier partners to reduce their packaging and transport to our hotels.
  • Purchase fair trade tea and coffee and ethically sourced produce.
  • Monitor utility consumption levels on a monthly basis and aim to reduce consumption at every opportunity.
  • Endeavour to purchase recycled goods whenever appropriate.
  • Endeavour to use eco-friendly chemicals throughout the hotel.

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