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The cities with the most sustainable hotels revealed

Picture of Ben Gallizzi, Senior Content Editor at Uswitch
Written by Ben Gallizzi, Senior Content Editor, Energy and Electric Vehicles

3 February 2022

With the carbon impact of our travels coming into question more and more, Uswitch reveals the cities around the globe that have the most environmentally friendly accommodation on offer, so you can rest easy.
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The way we live our lives and the impact we have on the environment is an ever-growing topic of conversation. Aside from our energy consumption, one major aspect is the carbon impact of our travel plans, from the emissions released on a long-haul flight to the water usage of a large resort hotel. 

So, for anyone who’s keen to reduce their impact on the planet, you could compare energy and use a green energy supplier or perhaps opt for a more environmentally friendly holiday, and researchers at Uswitch have analysed the green credentials of thousands of hotels around the world to reveal which cities are offering the most sustainable stays. 

Using Booking.com’s ‘sustainable’ filter, the team calculated how many hotels in over 200 of the world’s biggest cities were classed as a more environmentally friendly option. This was then compared with the total number of hotels on offer in each place to reveal which holiday locations have the highest percentage of sustainable stays. (Spoiler alert, Canada features a lot!)

The cities with the most sustainable hotels

1. Vancouver, Canada

The analysis revealed Vancouver in Canada is the city with the highest percentage of sustainable stays, with nearly 44% of all hotels being recognised for their sustainability efforts. Of the 89 hotels listed in the Canadian city, 39 have been awarded the sustainable badge on Booking.com

Of the many hotels that were recognised for their improvements in water consumption, carbon emissions and food wastage in Vancouver, a stand-out stay is the five star Fairmont Waterfront. Nestled on Vancouver's harbour, the Fairmont Waterfront has stunning views of Stanley Park, coastal mountains and the unique city skyline, and it also supports the surrounding environment on the inside too. It homes 250,000 honeybees on its fourth floor as a way of supporting the habitat for hundreds of species of solitary bees. Event planners are offered organic menus, disposable-free service and carbon-neutral options, and they recycle, donate and compost as much as possible.

2. Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, takes second place with over 40% of its 216 hotels credited for their sustainability efforts. Stockholm is widely considered as one of Europe's most environmentally friendly cities and an international role model for climate action, which is why it was named Europe's first European Green Capital in 2010.

One of the city’s leading green hotels is Elite Eden Park Hotel; it is one of the first ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified’ accommodations in Stockholm and it is Green Key certified, which means it follows comprehensive criteria to improve its sustainability. One of the eco-improvements is that they now have electric car charging points in the hotel car park to encourage greener modes of transport.

3. Toronto, Canada

Another Canadian city to feature in the top three is Toronto, where nearly 25% of all the hotels listed are certified as sustainable. 37 out of the city’s 150 hotels are paying more attention to their carbon footprint and the ways that they can offer guests a greener stay.

Notably, 1 Hotel is dedicated to zero-waste and is Canada’s first mission-driven hotel. The hotel promises to divert over 85% of waste from landfills and it has an on-site composter to turn organic waste into reusable soil. They exclusively use local farmers, sourcing over 90% of their produce from within a 100 km radius. The eco-friendly icing on the cake is that both the interior and exterior use repurposed elmwood from a dismantled barn in Blyth, Ontario and fallen Toronto trees have been transformed into the chic decor.

4. Calgary, Canada

Calgary - the third Canadian city in the top five list - is home to 136 hotels and 32 of them have been recognised by Booking.com for their sustainable efforts. The city has implemented its green initiatives, including an advanced eco-friendly public transportation system to enable residents to travel in a green way.

Le Germain Hotel in downtown Calgary is one of the 32 hotels that have been recognised for their sustainability initiatives. For example, they have stringent recycling policies which means they are constantly monitoring products that can be reused, recharged or recycled, and they have recently switched to geothermal heating and cooling as well as energy-efficient lighting systems.

5. Edmonton, Canada

Rounding off the top five places with the most sustainable hotels is (another Canada-based city) Edmonton, Alberta. It is widely considered to be Canada’s most sustainable city (and was awarded the official title in 2018) due to its low environmental footprint, economic security, infrastructure, and social well-being.

A hotel that aligns its eco-values with the credentials of the city is Matrix Hotel; the interior is designed in line with its surrounding environment with natural stone and wood that has been upcycled. Guests are also treated to Molton Brown toiletries, which are famously cruelty-free and eco-friendly, as a result of their packaging using 50% recycled plastics. Also featuring in the top 10 is Lahore in sixth place with over 21% of the 150 Lahore-based hotels boasting great eco-credentials. Two Colombian cities take the next two spots, Medellin is in seventh with 20% of their hotels being sustainable, and Bogota is eighth with 19.6% of all their hotels having eco-recognition. Ninth and 10th place are taken by two South African destinations; Ekurhuleni is ninth and South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg is 10th.

Top 50 cities with the most sustainable stays

RankCityCountry# Hotels# Sustainable Hotels% Sustainable
1VancouverCanada893943.82
2StockholmSweden2168740.28
3TorontoCanada1503724.67
4CalgaryCanada1363223.53
5EdmontonCanada1333022.56
6LahorePakistan1503221.33
7MedellinColombia4699420.04
8BogotaColombia75014719.6
9EkurhuleniSouth Africa111521719.46
10JohannesburgSouth Africa68713219.21
11La PazBolivia911718.68
12AmmanJordan2183917.89
13QuitoEcuador3235617.34
14MunichGermany4107117.32
15SantiagoChile4147016.91
16ChennaiIndia4777916.56
17Cape TownSouth Africa175728916.45
18SharjahUnited Arab Emirates611016.39
19MarrakeshMorocco171027516.08
20BakuAzerbaijan4927916.06
21Dar es SalaamTanzania2273615.86
22IndoreIndia1592515.72
23MaleMaldives32515.63
24CairoEgypt76611815.4
25NingboChina34514.71
26GalwayIreland831214.46
27Kuwait CityKuwait901314.44
28BangaloreIndia76610814.1
29DurbanSouth Africa3745213.9
30BangkokThailand142119013.37
31DublinIreland2052713.17
32Santa CruzBolivia1141513.16
33BrusselsBelgium3855012.99
34AucklandNew Zealand3023912.91
35DelhiIndia233429912.81
36JaipurIndia5947612.79
37PretoriaSouth Africa4485712.72
38ViennaAustria126815612.3
39MontrealCanada3093812.3
40AgraIndia1662012.05
41HyderabadIndia3263911.96
42NairobiKenya163119411.89
43ManausBrazil76911.84
44KolkataIndia4164911.78
45KozhikodeIndia34411.76
46GuayaquilEcuador1702011.76
47DhakaBangladesh1561811.54
48CasablancaMorocco4254911.53
49AntananarivoMadagascar53611.32
50MaduraiIndia53611.32

Will Owen, Energy Expert at Uswitch commented

“It’s brilliant to see that global awareness of the importance of living more sustainably is continually growing, and there are so many easy ways to reduce our impact on the planet – from using a green energy supplier to opting for more environmentally-friendly holidays. 

“Some of the incredible hotels in this list are great examples of how businesses can reduce waste, source local produce and reduce their energy consumption and if this has made you think about your carbon footprint a little bit more, use our carbon footprint calculator to find ways you can reduce and offset your household’s CO2 production.” 

Methodology and sources

Creative Commons
Creative Commons