We care about sustainability and want to travel green as much as we can. On our trip to Legoland California, we stayed at the Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad, which was a quick, easy walk to Legoland.
Not only did we save on parking fees at Legoland, we enjoyed more eco-friendly, green amenities than we’ve seen in a hotel in a long time.
Why is this resort and hotel successful in their green initiatives?
They make it easy for their guests to participate.
There are convenient recycling bins.
There are signs in the lobby restrooms, in the elevators, and in the guest rooms which encourage green travel.
Even our kids were pointing them out.
It’s often difficult to travel green when on the road, but staying here enabled us to minimize our impact
Guests are much more likely to participate in eco-friendly activities when they’re quick and convenient, and they are actually asked to do it.
Easy ways to go green when traveling
A TripAdvisor travel survey shows travelers are more than ever willing to:
- Turn off the lights when they leave their rooms: 88%
- Hang and reuse their towels: 80%
- Recycle: 57%
Now that this has become almost second-nature to guests, some proactive hotels and resorts are introducing even more ways to travel green.
One of Grand Pacific Palisades’ most interesting initiatives is their toiletry donation program.
It makes such perfect sense, and we were interested to learn more about it.
Toiletry recycling at Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel
In your room, you will find the usual toiletry items: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and two bars of soap, one for the bathroom sink and a slightly larger one for the shower…but I would recommend bringing your own Best Travel Hair Dryer.
To be a truly green hotel guest, you would bring your own from home and not use them at all. But typically, most guests open and use one of more of these personal care products.
And during a short stay, you won’t use these five items in their entirety.
Whatever is open and left is thrown away and is wasted.
At best, you might be able to recycle the bottles. Until now….
Clean the World recycles toiletries
Grand Pacific Resorts partners with Clean the World, an organization which collects and donates partially-used toiletries items that guests leave behind.
Renée Wagner, Director of Creative Services & Brand Management for Grand Pacific Resorts, said, “Last year, they helped us keep over 21,000 pounds of waste out of landfills and supplied impoverished communities with hygiene kits.”
According to Wagner, one of their challenges is education and about adopting new habits. She said,
We need help raising awareness about not tossing toiletries in the trash. Our housekeepers aren’t allowed to reach in the trash. The only way these items are recycled is when they’re left on the counter.”
The impact their resort in Carlsbad has made so far is impressive.
“In 2017, we recycled 2,500 pounds of used toiletries, giving Clean the World the ability to distribute nearly 8,000 bars of soap to poverty stricken countries around the world,” according to Gaby McCray, Grand Pacific Resorts’ Senior Marketing Coordinator.
Educating hotel guests
We learned of this program before our visit to the resort but we didn’t see any information about it in the room or in the lobby.
Therefore, the only thing which would make this better would be if they were to promote this program in the room itself.
They could put in on a small sign in the bathroom, next to the toiletries, or include it on a small card with the room literature.
We always thought we were being helpful by throwing away our used soap so the housekeeping staff wouldn’t have to handle it.
However, being they are not allowed to touch it, in this case, it would be useless.
We never would have known about this program had we not asked about their sustainable practices in advance.
This is really a unique and easy program for guests to participate in.
We hope more hotels will start doing this so it will become second-nature like other green hotel practices.
The housekeeping staff isn’t allowed to pick these items out of the trash, even if they are on top.
So it’s important for guests to leave them out on the counter.
Easy ways to go green at Grand Pacific Palisades
There are so many ways this hotel makes it easy for their guests to go green when staying here.
Right away, we noticed all of these ways to green our hotel stay.
There is recycling right outside when you pull up to the Grand Pacific Palisades — just on the other side of the posts so it’s not unsightly.
It’s so convenient for those of us who’ve made a road trip and want to empty our cars of food wrappers, paper, plastic containers and bottles, etc.
Recycling in their underground parking lot
We were surprised by the great number of recycling and garbage cans in the parking area.
It was very convenient to recycle aluminum, plastic, and paper in their separate containers.
After a day at the beach or sightseeing, vacationers usually have brochures, park maps, fast food packaging, and more to dispose of.
Having these convenient receptacles for easy sorting and recycling make guests much more apt to do it.
They have a free hotel shuttle which will take you within a five mile radius.
When we checked in and asked about it, they told us we could call to arrange a pickup with 30 minutes’ notice.
So many times, hotels have their shuttles idling outside, waiting for guests.
We were happy to learn that at Grand Pacific Palisades their shuttles don’t sit running, waiting for guests who may or may not need services.
It makes so much more sense this way and is so much better for the environment.
And really, when we walked on our first day to Legoland and saw how close it was, we didn’t bother to call the shuttle for a return pickup.
Walking is a great way to travel green.
Lots of recycling throughout the grounds
There were convenient recycling bins by the family pool area and splash pad and throughout the grounds.
It’s rare to see these fantastic bins which separate out the recycling, but there were so many of them here.
They really take their recycling seriously and make it a priority.
Take the stairs
While the elevators are easily accessible, the staircase is right in open view in the lobby, conveniently located by the concierge desk.
The stairs beckon guests to enjoy the floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the Olympic-size adult pool and incredible views of the city and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
It’s always a green practice to take the stairs instead of riding the elevator.
We took some time to enjoy the spacious lobby playing games and hanging out.
Convenient recycling and minimizing resources
You will find convenient recycling in the lobby as well.
The concierge area has the San Diego Union Tribune for guests to enjoy.
Remember back in the day, when hotels would leave a newspaper outside of every guest door?
It’s nice now that there is less waste.
They also offer water with limes and lemons with small recyclable plastic cups with a garbage can to recycle them right there, just inches from the cups.
It was so convenient for someone who wanted to take a small drink to then recycle their cup.
They offer reusable pool wristbands instead of paper ones for access to the pool.
Throughout the hotel, in the elevators and public restrooms, you will see signs encouraging guests to Tweet the ways they are going green with #goinggreen.
These eye-catching and attractive signs definitely influence guests to make green choices.
Signage politely reminds guests to turn off the lights and adjust the thermostat when they leave their rooms, and to reuse their towels.
Incentive to decline housekeeping service
Once you are in your room, there are more ways for you to minimize your impact.
While we’ve declined housekeeping services before during other hotel stays, we’ve never been compensated to do so.
If you are staying for more than one night, you can decline cleaning service the next day.
We’ve done this before on trips — to travel green but mostly because we didn’t want cleaning staff in our room because of our electronics — we’ve never seen an incentive to do so.
Here, when you decline housekeeping service, they will give you a $5 voucher for their gift shop.
Being we were going to do this anyways, it was a nice bonus.
You simply hang a card outside your door by 2am to let them know.
Of course, the day you check out, they have to clean your room so that doesn’t count, but the other days it does.
We stayed for four nights and were able to decline service for three days, “earning” $15 in vouchers for the shop. (Our kids were thrilled.)
The small shop offers sun protection, lip balm, hats, Ty beanie animals, handmade greeting cards, candy, snacks, (granola bars, trail mix, etc.) ice cream pints, water, sodas, and more.
Reuse your towel
Additionally, they have a hanging sign in the bathroom encouraging guests to reuse their towels to conserve resources.
When I looked under the sink for a hairdryer, I was surprised to find a blue recycling container.
This was a fantastic find to be sure; however, I’m not sure how many guests would know to look there to find it.
We brought cereal and snacks with cardboard boxes and needed to recycle our Legoland map, so it was great we were able to recycle these items.
And while we brought our reusable water bottles, we still had a few plastic Gatorade bottles to recycle.
It would be good for the hotel to mention this in the same notice about recycling the toiletry items.
We loaded that recycle can; it truly was a great green thing to see.
Didn’t need to eat out at every meal
Also, because there was a mini-fridge in our room, we brought yogurt, fruit and vegetables.
There was also a microwave.
This reduced our reliance on eating out at restaurants for every meal, which also is a healthier and greener way to travel.
Toiletry recycling program
Again, you can leave your toiletries out for them to donate to others.
Easy to travel green here
We were able to see all of these green initiatives during our stay.
It was fantastic to think how many guests are able to minimize their impact because Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel supports and encourages these best practices.
Ways they are going green as a resort
Before our visit, we asked about the behind-the-scenes ways they were going green as a hotel and resort to be environmentally conscious and responsible.
In addition to learning about their partnership with Clean the World, Ms. McCray told us about:
Water conservation through landscaping
They planted succulent gardens and indigenous drought-resistant landscaping to drastically reduce the need for watering.
They’ve installed smart thermostats and LED lighting which reduces energy usage.
They have a committee which works to educate their guests about sustainability and works to reduce waste costs.
They offer monthly “lunch and learns” on health topics for their staff.
Staff gets involved
As an organization, the employees are encouraged to give back to their local communities.
They continue to do so in many ways.
Grand Pacific Resorts gives back
Staff helps in their communities
They encourage their employees to give back by helping in their communities.
You can see all their projects and the ways in which they’ve helped to learn more.
ResorTime donates to charities
The rental arm of Grand Pacific Resorts is called ResorTime.
Every quarter, they donate $2,500 to a non-profit organization.
Their guests and others can nominate and then vote for which charity they want to win the donation.
Working with h2otrashpatrol
Ms. Wagner explained how Grand Pacific Resorts’ leadership team and members of their resort staff works with h2otrashpatrol in their marine cleanup day outings.
This paddle boarding video shows some of what they’ve done and how they’ve helped.
Hotel close to Legoland California
We choose this hotel due to its proximity to Legoland California.
We loved the option of being able to walk to a major area attraction.
On the Legoland property there is also the SeaLife Aquarium and the seasonal Legoland Waterpark.
What’s great is you can literally walk to Legoland in 10 minutes.
Where the crosswalk is from the hotel, you actually cross closer to Legoland (on the other side of the parking booths) than where the shuttle is permitted to drop you off (before the parking booths).
So either way, by staying at Grand Pacific Palisades, you will save the $20 it costs to park at Legoland each day. (Legoland also has a $30 option to park closer to the park but it really wouldn’t be worth it.)
We really cannot overstate how wonderful it is to be able to enjoy your morning at the hotel, and then walk over to Legoland to enjoy the full day there.
Other highlights about Grand Pacific Palisades
We’ve never seen a hotel offer so much to their guests, both adults and families.
We were gone all day, everyday, and unfortunately weren’t able to enjoy their wide range of activities while we were there.
For sure, we are hoping we can come back to enjoy some of these fun things to do.
Grand Pacific Palisades offers
- Schedule of events for kids and adults, including crafts, food, and more
- Olympic-sized adult swimming pool
- Large areas surrounding the adult pool with cabanas, hot tub, lounge chairs, etc.
- All of the comfy chairs in the lobby and by the pools; it would be a true vacation to relax and read in one of them
- Huge family swimming pool
- Splash pad
- Barbecue areas
- Fitness center
- Ping pong and basketball
- Kids’ Club
- Activities Center
- There’s probably even more we didn’t see!
Going green on your trip
Finding a LEED hotel or green hotel
Typically, convenience and price are what people consider when booking a hotel room for their vacations.
We want to travel green and be environmentally-friendly, but we most likely won’t take the effort to find a LEED hotel and certified green hotel.
So when there is a hotel that so obviously cares about being green, it’s great.
The fact that Grand Pacific Palisades makes it so easy for guests to participate during their stay is what makes a big difference.
Carlsbad green hotel stay
We had a wonderful stay at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel in Carlsbad, California.
There was always friendly staff behind the guest services desk and helpful staff in the concierge area.
The lobby, room and grounds were clean, spacious, and bright.
It was one of the few times where we wished we had more time to enjoy all there was to do at the hotel instead of seeing the sites we came to see.
In addition, we felt good about all the ways we were able to minimize our travel footprint, which is often difficult to do when on vacation and especially on road trips.
We were really able to travel green this trip.
We hope to return to the Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel and Resort this fall to enjoy Legoland again and to explore Carlsbad, Encinitas and Oceanside with its convenient location.
Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel Information:
Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel, 5805 Armada Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: (760) 827-3200
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as our stay at Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel & Resort was partially comped. All of the opinions are our own.