Yes, staying at a “green” hotel feels warm and fuzzy—but years of greenwashing has caused eco-friendly hotels to lose both credibility and cool factor.

Enter 1 Hotels.

Starwood Capital Group chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht is making the eco-hotel relevant again with his new green-luxe lifestyle brand 1 Hotels. The first property in his “mission-driven” hotel group debuted this March in South Beach, and the second, 1 Hotel Central Park, debuts in NYC this July. Here are five clever ways the brand is making green cool again.

1. Boxed water replaces plastic water bottles.
Minibars are stocked with water from the sustainable company Boxed Water is Better. The company’s paper cartons are made out of 76% paper so that 100% of the package won’t last in a landfill for 100-plus years as PET bottles do. The Boxed Water Company also gives back: One percent of revenue is donated to reforestation and world water-relief foundations.

2. Paper note pads aren’t necessary when you have a chalkboard.
1 Hotels is committed to minimizing paper waste. Rather than put notepads in every room like most hotels, they’ve sourced mini chalkboards and chalk-tipped pencils to grace your bedside table.


3. Slippers have been swapped out for organic cotton socks.
Hotel slippers are an afterthought, often scratchy, and three sizes too big or small. Most hotels either throw slippers out upon guest check out or wash them, upping the hotel’s water usage. Guests at 1 Hotel will instead find cozy organic cotton socks that are meant to be kept as a souvenir (and, trust us, you’ll want to).

4. A sand timer in the shower acts as a friendly reminder that every drop counts.
Thirty percent of hotel water use comes from the restroom, largely from the shower. And admit it: When you’re on vacation it’s nice to indulge in a long, hot shower. But states like California are amidst a drought and every drop counts. The EPA has allotted funds to create a wireless system that will track how much water a hotel guest uses to get them to modify their behavior, but 1Hotels has an old-fashion solution: a sand timer.

5. Wooden key cards are way cooler than plastic.
The global hotel industry goes through 30 billion plastic key cards every year, which is the equivalent of 150,000 tons of plastic. When you check into a 5-star hotel, being handed a plastic card also feels a bit, well, cheap. 1 Hotels has crafted circular key cards from sustainable woods including sapele, cherry, bass, birch and black walnut. Not only do they reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, but they feel more sophisticated than a plastic square.

Want more? Check out our ultimate guide to hotels around the world!

All photos courtesy 1Hotel