Archive for March, 2014

The Only Major Resort in the Caribbean to Use Solar to Replace Their Energy Consumption

The View Ain't Too Shabby Either

The View Ain’t Too Shabby Either

We could use a Caribbean vacay right about now and we’re particularly fond of eco-friendly resort options like The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten too. Not only the first Westin hotel or resort in the world, but also the only major resort in the Caribbean to complete and utilize solar panels to replace its energy consumption throughout the resort. Can you believe that? Namely, that it’s the only major resort doing this in a such an ideal location. Get with the program, hoteliers! This game changing move allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times.

Installing the panels

Workers Install Solar Panels at The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa

In fact, the resort began taking advantage of the island’s abundance of sunshine in 2007 with the installation of solar panels to heat the water used in the property’s guest rooms. The resort’s owner, Columbia Sussex Corporation, working with OneWorld Sustainable, completed the installation of 2,602 Lightway solar panels for a total system capacity of 755 kilowatts.

The completed solar system will produce approximately 1,223,000 Kilowatt hours per year. This is enough electricity to power – get this – 111 average sized American homes. The system will avoid 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or the equivalent of CO2 emissions from energy used by 43 homes annually, or 707 acres of forest preserved from deforestation by carbon sequestering.

An Ocean View Room

An Ocean View Room

Dan Szydlowski, Regional Director, says it best. “With sunshine nearly guaranteed year round, we saw only positive attributes to making this capital and environmental sustainability investment.”

So, a shout out to the Westin… and a reminder to other hoteliers to get enLIGHTened!

$345/night

 

 

 

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In Need of a Zen Retreat? Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the Oldest Zen Monastery in the US, is Your Spot

A Yurt on the Tassajara Grounds

A Yurt on the Tassajara Grounds (c) David Silva

We have a thing for yurts. And, when you take a yurt and throw in some yoga, tasty vegetarian cuisine, and coursework with spiritual leaders helping you on the pathway to mindful living, what’s not to dig? To that end, every year, most people don’t know that the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center opens its doors to the general public for an annual guest season from May 1 – September 14, 2014. Zen and meditation seekers, yoga lovers, artisan foodies, and everyday people looking to unplug and rejuvenate are invited to experience a truly serene environment at Tassajara, the most remote and oldest Zen monastery in the United States, located 25 miles southeast of Big Sur, CA.
The Stone Room

The Stone Room (c) Ben Guevara

For the 2014 guest season, the Tassajara Program Schedule 2014 will offer up retreats in six specialty areas, all led by some of today’s leading teachers: Body and Mind, Mindful Living, Creative Expression, Engaging Earth, Spiritual Practice, and Zen Study & Practice.
Fine vegetarian cuisine

Fine vegetarian cuisine (c) Margo Moritz

This includes sessions/retreats that focus on all or some of the following: yoga, healing, culinary arts, and reawakening your wellspring of creative action by letting gifted artists help you become more open, confident, daring through words, movement, sounds, images, or the surprisingly powerful traditional ink brush.
Calligraphy (c) Mitsue Nagase

Calligraphy  retreat (c) Mitsue Nagase

Standout retreat leaders for the 2014 guest season include Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Poet, Author, Zen Buddhist Priest), Jane Hirshfield (Internationally Renowned Poet), Dale Kent (Author, Tassajara: Dinner and Desserts), Andrew Mellen (Author, More Love, Less Stuff), Marc Lesser (Google Meditation Workshops, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute), Sessei Meg Levie (Google Meditation Workshops, Zen Buddhist Priest and Life Coach), Janet Stone (Celebrity Vinyasa Yoga Instructor), Donald Moyer (Founding Director, The Yoga Room, Berkeley, CA), and many others.
So go zen, mini-gurus.
 
Weekend rates for shared dorms start at $121 and private cabins and yurts from $267.

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