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Best Midwest Hotels For Sustainable Travel In 2023

Sustainable travel isn’t a passing fad. As I travel for this blog, I’ve started to notice the extra steps a hotel takes to lower their environmental impact. If you’d like to make a conscious effort to stay at a “Green” hotel this year, I’ve got the hotel list for you! Being a Midwest travel blogger, of course I’m sharing Midwest destinations. 

Environmentally-friendly hotels in Iowa

Element West Des Moines

Where: 575 S. Prairie View Drive, West Des Moines, Iowa

Why: Element, by Westin, has made a name for itself for being an environmentally-conscious hotel chain. At the West Des Moines location, this includes having water-conserving features and energy-saving appliances.

Photo courtesy Booking,com

What’s it near: I love weekend trips to Des Moines! It’s pretty easy to navigate so staying in West Des Moines still means you can visit places like Adventureland, Iowa Science Center or the zoo.

Closer to the hotel, though, is the Jordan Creek Town Center and Living History Farms.

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Honey Creek Resort

Where: 12633 Resort Drive, Moravia, Iowa

Why: Honey Creek Resort has an extensive list of conservation practices in place at the hotel. The resort was recently recognized by Green Key Global, an international environmental certification body, with a “4 Green Keys” eco-rating for environmental management and corporate social responsibility. View more details here. They’re also one of the few hotels in Iowa to receive LEED® certification. 

One notable thing, the Activities Building was designed by Iowa State University students to be a net-zero energy facility. It uses solar heating, wind energy, and highly efficient appliances. The resort’s nature programs and activities are held in the Activities Building.

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Environmentally-friendly hotels in Kansas

Anderson Bed & Breakfast 

Where: 1719 Fairchild Ave., Manhattan

Photo courtesy Booking.com

Why: One of the rare lodgings to have a 10-star rating on Booking.com, Anderson Bed & Breakfast has its fans. One of their eco-friendly touches is to use a natural antibacterial solution of half white vinegar and half warm water.

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Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast

Where: 16315 W. 287th St., Paola

Why: The green effort is big at Casa Somerset. Inside, there are lower-flow toilets, energy-efficient lights and laundry appliances, and a robust recycling program. The owners provide farm to table meals when possible using locally-sourced meat and produce. Eating locally is one of the sustainable travel tips that I think is easiest manage when staying at a B&B like Casa Somerset.

Aerial view of Casa Somerset inn Paola, Kansas
Photo courtesy Casa Somerset

Outside is even more impressive. The acreage is completely organic – they even collect thousands of pounds of coffee grounds from local Starbucks to fertilize the soil. Their grounds are a Registered Monarch Butterfly Way Station, where you’ll find only native perennials.  

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Environmentally-friendly hotels in Minnesota

Adventure Inn, Ely

Where: 1145 E. Sheridan St., Ely, Minn.

Why: It’s pretty clear Adventure Inn’s owners are making conscious decisions to limit their impact on the environment. From using solar energy panels and rain bins to shopping locally whenever possible, they go above and beyond typical hotel sustainability programs.

The hotel’s location makes it a great homebase if you want to explore Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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Alma Minneapolis

Where: 528 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, Minn.

A guest room at Alma Minneapolis
Photo courtesy Booking.com

Why: Alma is a boutique hotel, restaurant, and apothecary. When you stay in one of the seven unique rooms at Alma, you’ll find organic bath items and decor made by local artisans.

Food served at Alma is seasonal and sourced locally/regionally and through a close partnership with farmers and suppliers. Guests are assured, for instance, that the fish served is sourced from certified, sustainable fisheries and farms.

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Madden’s on Gull Lake

Where: 11266 Pine Beach Peninsula Road, East Gull Lake, Minn.

Why: It’s all hands on deck at Madden’s, with each department in the resort taking part in sustainability practices. From composting food from the banquet kitchen and biodegradable in-room coffee service to avoiding excess waste in the spa, the whole team makes an effort to reduce the environmental impact of running a resort (with a golf course).

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The Saint Paul Hotel

Where: 350 Market St., St. Paul, Minn.

Exterior of The Saint Paul Hotel, building in 1910.
Photo courtesy Booking.com

Why: While St. Paul Hotel is in a historic building, there are several green efforts you’ll find there, from maintaining a linen and towel conservation program, recycling programs, and retrofitted high-efficiency lights.

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South Pier Inn

Where: 701 South Lake Ave., Duluth, Minn.

Why: The hotel has taken steps to reduce water consumption with laundry, in addition to making light fixtures more energy-efficient and instituting a recycling program.

Exterior of South Pier Inn in Duluth, Minn.
Photo courtesy Booking.com

There are few of the unique touches this hotel has introduced that I love. They’ll discount $10 per night per room if you are traveling with friends or family and sharing a vehicle. Also, they distribute used guest soaps to third-world countries rather than throwing them away after one use.

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Environmentally-friendly hotels in Missouri

Hilton Garden Inn Springfield

Where: 4155 S. Nature Center Way, Springfield, Mo.

Why: The Hilton Garden Inn is a well-known hotel chain. What makes this location special is that it has received Gold level LEED® certification. Buildings that are LEED certified are more energy and resource-efficient, generating less waste and have lower use of energy, water, and other resources.

If you’re a shopper, it’s also prime location for a shopping trip being near Battlefield Mall.

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Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza

Where: 401 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.

Intercontinental Kansas City hotel near the Plaza in Missouri
Photo courtesy Booking.com

Why: As an IHG® Green Engage Hotel, Intercontinental Kansas City takes steps to reduce its carbon footprint. It’s pretty interesting what the hotels on the Green Engage online system track, including how much energy, carbon, and water they’re using and how well they’re managing waste.

Also, the location of this hotel is fantastic – it’s a block from the Plaza!

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Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

Where: 2929 Green Mountain Drive, Branson, Mo.

Why: This large resort has a Monarch Butterfly Waystation on-site, so plenty of native plants are found on the grounds.

The view from a balcony at Willow Ridge Lodge in Missouri.

The hotel is a 15-minute drive from the theme park, Silver Dollar City, and of course, all the music venues in Branson aren’t far either. If you’ve seen the hotel’s pools, though, you may not even leave the hotel grounds!

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Environmentally-friendly hotels in Nebraska

Element Hotel Omaha

Where: 3253 Dodge St., Omaha, Neb.

Exterior of Elements Hotel Omaha at Midtown Crossing.
Photo courtesy Booking.com

Why: Like all Element hotels in the Westin chain, this hotel has environmentally-friendly practices such as using recycled products when possible and having eco-friendly features in bathrooms like low-flow water fixtures.

The Element is located at Midtown Crossing, a walkable area that has restaurants, a movie theater, and a fun game cafe.

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The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel

Where: 302 S. 36th St., Omaha, Neb.

Why: One of Omaha’s newest hotels is in one of the city’s most iconic buildings (1915 Blackstone Hotel). Many of the hotel’s artwork and decor was made locally, and they have a great weekend brunch.

Interior of the Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha.
Photo courtesy Booking.com

The Kimpton hotel chain has a commitment to environmentally-friendly practices. They use non-toxic cleaning supplies, extensively recycle, and minimize water consumption.

It’s also located near one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, the Blackstone District with fun restaurants and bars.

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Environmentally-friendly hotels in Wisconsin

The Brewhouse Inn & Suites

Where: 1215 N. 10th St. Milwaukee, Wis.

Interior of The Brewhouse Inn & Suites
Photo courtesy Travel Wisconsin

Why: Repurposing a building on the National Registry of Historic Places isn’t easy, but it’s done in style at the boutique hotel. The Brewhouse is in the former Pabst Brewery brew house and mill house buildings.

It’s found in The Brewery District, a sustainable district that is LEED Platinum certified. 

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Related post: Plan a memorable trip with this Wisconsin Bucket List

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Where: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis.

Exterior of Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Photo courtesy Travel Wisconsin

Why: The luxury resort has several eco-friendly practices in place, including a recycling program, energy-efficient lighting, and a golf course that has native grasses incorporated in its design. When possible, the resort’s restaurants use locally-sourced fish, meat, bread, and produce.

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The Pfister

Where: 424 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Wis.

Why: Even while being a historic building (built in 1893), the luxurious Pfister is a Travel Green Wisconsin member that’s earned more than double the required 30 points for certification.

Exterior of The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee
Photo courtesy Travel Wisconsin

Named the Top Hotel in the Midwest by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017, it’s an impressive hotel in the heart of Downtown Milwaukee.

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These hotels have the best sustainability practices in the Midwest! Find hotels in Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas that have excellent conservation practices or LEED certification.

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