#TRAVEL: A SUSTAINABLE STAYCATION AT 1 HOTEL TORONTO WITH BOOKING.COM
The pandemic certainly has changed the way we think about travel and look at the future as global citizens. Whatever your comfort level is with hopping on a plane right now for an escape, surely we all can agree we’re in need of a much-deserved break after all we’ve been through these past three years. Luxurious staycations more than ever growing in their appeal. Looking a layer beneath, travelling sustainably is also becoming a hot topic. But how does one do it all – vacation well, in ways that are eco-conscious, yet do so affordably?
It’s no mystery that we’re all trying to navigate inflation. Whether you’re just trying to buy lettuce for your salad or fill your tank with a bit of gas, money is at the top of our minds. One of the world’s leading online travel platforms Booking.com surveyed 33,000 travellers from across the globe for their annual Sustainable Travel Report for 2023. They found that 52% of Canadian travellers feel that sustainable travel just isn’t affordable. And with the wide perception that the economy isn’t going to improve any time soon, how do we prioritize what is right, yet also right for our budgets? Also, if we’re doing right for the future of the world we’re living in, should we be incentivized at least with deals?
Within that same survey, 65% of Canadian travellers said that they want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months. 75% of these feel that the global energy crisis and rising cost of living is impacting their spending plans. By that same token, 51% feel there just aren’t enough sustainable travel options available.
What exactly is Sustainable Travel?
Like many, I honestly wasn’t quite clear what it all meant. Something about the term itself inherently feels complex, ambitious and unattainable. But truly, it can encompass the smallest of gestures. At its core, it’s about having an awareness and making choices that benefit conservation, wildlife and the local community.
Eating locally and supporting farm-to-table restaurants while travelling can be counted as a step. Some of us are already doing this in our everyday lives. But on an even more micro scale, it can be things like taking public transit, shopping with a reusable tote or drinking with your own water bottle while vacationing. Or how about just turning off your A/C when you’re not in your hotel room?
When I think about pre-pandemic life and travel, I used to insist on my sheets and towels being changed daily at the hotel. Just because I was on vacation and thought I deserved it. Post-pandemic, I’ve realized that this is something I wouldn’t even demand at home, so how could I expect this while travelling?
When we put it this way, the concept of Sustainable Travel doesn’t seem so scary anymore. The key takeaway is that we are now asking questions and rethinking our old lives and habits.
How Booking.com is making it easier to travel sustainably
As mentioned, part of the problem travellers face is the perception that there simply aren’t enough sustainable travel options. Whether you’re searching for accommodations on Booking.com’s website or app, you’ll notice that they now have a search filter called “Travel Sustainable properties” that allows you to easily find only properties that have earned Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable badge, a global, first of its kind and independently validated recognition programme. With the launch of the program in November of 2021, they are looking to remove some of the mystique of travelling sustainably and helping make it easier for accommodation partners to contribute to sustainability efforts and be able to showcase this to travellers. When using the filter, search results come up and are grouped into three tiers, denoted by leaf badges. Level 1 properties have implemented some impactful sustainability practices, while Level 3 properties have made large investments in their practices.
You can even filter your search for electric and hybrid car rentals in 110 countries, and see the Total CO2 emissions when searching flights.
The bottom line is that while ending inflation might be out of our hands for now, Booking.com is helping make it easier for travellers to find the right sustainable options for them, anywhere they want to go.
We have a duty to leave a place better than when we were there.
1 Hotel Toronto
We had the pleasure of enjoying a stay at this gorgeous property, which boasts 112 guest rooms and suites. It is tucked away from the King Street West bustle, yet also close enough to it all. 1 Hotel Toronto is just one of many sustainable accommodations in the city and a perfect staycation choice if you just need a quick recharge with the mileage. It manages to balance sturdy sustainable design and architecture, with an oasis-like mood that is apparent the moment you are welcomed through its wood doors. Their service is phenomenal and attentive to guests’ every need.
It’s all in the details here, whether it be energy-saving Smart Thermostats in guest rooms, 100% cozy organic cotton linens to nestle you into bed, or tumblers and carafes made from reclaimed wine bottles and glass.
On a grander scope, the hotel draws inspiration from local artists, chefs, builders and the community. An example being their 1 Kitchen restaurant, green and woodsy in decor. They not only serve delicious, mindful offerings on their menu, but are also committed to generating zero waste. They have an interesting selection of cocktails and an array of biodynamic wines. The trout crudo and 1K gnocchi are both musts. And if you have room for dessert, the carrot cake.
The hotel is also home to Casa Madera, a chic and sexy purveyor of elevated Mexican cuisine. You literally do not have to leave the hotel to get a variety of refined dining experiences and this is the proof. Cocktails are scintillating and some come in flames and smoky, providing a fun little delivery experience. Recommended are the pacifico striped bass, ceviche blanco, tiger shrimp and arrachera (wagyu beef) tacos. Peanut butter mousse for dessert – no question. It is a spectacle.
If you’re there on a weekend, Harriet’s Rooftop has one of downtown Toronto’s best scenic skyline views, plus an incredible brunch.
1 Hotel Toronto is 100% certified carbon-neutral, while being LEED-certified for energy efficiency in heating and cooling. In addition to saving energy, annually their measures account for 167 tons of CO2 reduction. Above this, the hotel is home to 3,300 plants, including native plants within rooms and suites.
On a personal note, for those of us who can’t live without our pets, 1 Hotel Toronto welcomes them with open arms. They were just so wonderful and kind to our dear Beanie, always greeting her and offering her treats every time we passed through the lobby. They even offered to take footage of us for my Reel (see below). It’s thoughtfulness like this that separates a great experience from an outstanding one and 1 Hotel was exactly the latter. Eco-friendly and pet-friendly. It’s a win-win.
Sustainable Options in the City
There certainly is no shortage of eco-friendly things-to-do and eat around 1 Hotel Toronto. A short trek away just off the Bayview/Bloor Don Valley Parkway exit, is environmental community centre Evergreen Brick Works. The space is full of trails and gardens, public art, a market with local artisans, craftspeople and small-batch producers, and more.
The Grape Witches are situated at Dundas x Ossington. It is a wine bar, a patio, a shop, an event space, a wine agency & a wine club, offering private tastings of rare organic, biodynamic and natural wines from all around the world. Fascinating to learn the stories about these wines which are hand picked and very hard to find here.
stackt market is North America’s largest shipping container market and it is literally a walk across the street from 1 Hotel Toronto. Their mandate is to support local art, music, social enterprise and cultural communities. Fast dining options include amazing selections from local chefs like Trevor Lui at Baobird, tacos at Ocaso Tacos by Rául D’souza and so much more. Beanie is a huge fan of kitschy pet clothing and supply store, Our Haru. A must-see. We may have had a little shopping spree.
Toronto is such a vibrant, diverse and ever-changing mecca. Isn’t it time you re-discovered it?
Booking.com makes it easy to find sustainable options whether you are travelling far away or enjoying a staycation near home.