Laurel Pointe Hotel is North America’s first climate commitment hotel

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Often, things billed as “sustainable luxury” fall short of legitimate eco-friendliness or true luxury. Laurel Pointe Hotel offers both. The first hotel in North America to join The Climate Plaza and British Columbia’s first carbon-neutral hotel, the Inn at Laurel Point is tucked into Victoria’s Inner Harbour, offering not only stunning water views, but a five-star experience, and a commitment to sustainability that goes beyond greenwashing.

The stunning property boasts a total of two hundred well-appointed rooms and suites, each furnished with a private balcony overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbor or the city’s downtown skyline. The sun-flooded lobby offers floor-to-ceiling windows while the entire hotel is heated and cooled using a marine cooling system consisting of 114 heat pumps that use seawater for incredibly efficient temperature control.

“We’re a curious team always looking to improve how we do things, and looking at our business through a sustainability lens presents opportunities and challenges us to be better,” explains Ada Coote, general manager of the Inn at Laurel Point. “As a leader and the first carbon-neutral hotel in BC, it’s part of our culture, it’s not just what we do but who we are.”

Coote notes that more and more guests are looking for businesses that show concern for the environment — and that means more than just picking up and reusing their own towels.

Laurel Pointe Hotel
(Photo: Vince Classen / Inn at Laurel Pointe)

Keeping things carbon-neutral can be a bit of a challenge in the kitchen. According to Executive Chef Ken Nakano, who runs the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Aura, the gastronomic team sources the best available options with their local farm partners – but keeping up with rising costs has proven challenging. The culinary team has battled rising costs while reducing its carbon footprint a step further by tending to an on-site garden tailored to the kitchen’s needs.

“Going into our third year, we are able to identify which varieties work best and plan accordingly. We rotate our crops throughout the growing season to keep pace with Aura’s menu development. Our garden is constantly evolving to keep all of our menus on top of the season,” explains Chef Nakano.

According to Chef Nakano, the building’s unique architecture itself provides many microclimates that support the culinary team’s approach to growing and experimenting with a variety of local and foreign products for our guests to enjoy. These garden-fresh crops guide his menu in season.

“The prospect of working at the peak of production is very exciting for us and inspires our ‘of the moment’ vegetarian offerings,” he says. “Some of the ingredients that excited me this year were calamansi, sea buckthorn, ginger, lemongrass and Japanese ume. The umeboshi I make with ume fruit in July is a staple in our pantry that we use year-round. The variety of products we can create from our garden variety is amazing. I am equally excited about our potatoes, cabbage, kale and sunchokes,” he says. “The curiosity and learning opportunities created by this project deepened our connection to the local food system.”

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