Ten days to vote for Local Hotel Hero

The 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

The 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

There's just ten days left to vote in the Mr & Mrs Smith Awards. There are a range of categories available for members of the public to vote in. The Local Hotel Hero category which champions hotels which give something back to the community and to the environment.

The organisers say, "What makes a hotel a local hero? It's wholly committed to conserving, protecting and enjoying its environment, is fiercely community minded, has an ethical approach, strives to minimise its footprint, and does this all while enhancing the guest experience."

Hotels in the category include: 

DEDON ISLAND RESORT, SIARGO ISLAND, PHILIPPINES

The carved wooden headboards, the droplet-like hanging day beds, the woven masterpiece atop the bar pavilion, everything "like, everything" here is crafted by local masters using local materials and time-honoured methods. The hotel owner's foundation supports local community projects, including the Compostela Project, a sustainable craft-focused village initiative on nearby Cebu island.

1 HOTEL BROOKLYN BRIDGE, NEW YORK, US

As it's built to LEED guidelines - 22 per cent recycled materials and 32 per cent regional materials - much of this hotel's upcycled ephemera tells tales of nearby neighbourhoods: recycled wood from the Coney Island boardwalk, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Bronx-grown trees felled by Hurricane Sandy; a check-in desk fashioned from tornado debris... A high-water mark of sensitive urban development.

DERA AMER, JAIPUR, INDIA

Turn the corner into this luxurious campground and you'll come face-to-face with your new campmates: Lakshmi the Indian elephant and her pals, liberated from gruelling tourist treks in the city to roam free in these wild surrounds. Most of the nothing's-too-much-trouble staff here are from nearby farming villages and will proudly take you to visit - there's a genuine desire to show off the local lands everybody here so clearly loves.

SANDHOTEL, REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

Proudly standing proof that everybody needs good neighbours. The hotel itself is named as a nod to beloved bakery Sandholt next door - and if their easily fetched cinnamon buns don't quite warm you up, staff will happily deliver threads from your other neighbour: Iceland's oldest tailors. This collegial co-operation helped preserve crucial elements of the historic buildings - Nobel laureate Halldor Laxness - once lodged here, too.

SHAKTI 360° LETI, HIMALAYAS, INDIA

Hemmed in high up the Himalayas, it's safe to say this secluded stay has eco-cred to spare: most lodgings run on solar power, waste water is reused and the chef serves a strictly locavore menu. There is plentiful proof, too, that there really ain't no mountain high enough to keep from a commitment to local communities - the buildings are leased so the owners can profit from, and have involvement in the overall experience.

SÃO LOURENCO DO BORROCAL, ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL

Owner Jose Antonio has spent 14 painstaking years restoring his estado with an unwavering devotion to the local land (250,000 roof tiles were salvaged from buildings far and wide; 780 acres of neglected farmland restored). There are admirable commitments to recycling, renewable energy, farm-to-table fare and regional traditions - yet Jose still goes that extra mile, personally marking walking routes and offering balloon rides. 

KAMALAME CAY, BAHAMAS

Seclusion is written into Kamalame Cay's DNA: there are only 19 rooms, spread across 96 acres of wild Bahaman island. Impressively, this also extends to the surrounding waters where invasive lionfish, who disrupt the more peaceful ecosystem by preying on indigenous fish, are captured by local fisherman and served as delicious starters at the laid-back restaurant.

UXUA CASA HOTEL & SPA, BAHIA, BRAZIL

Sponsorship of the town's capoeira school lets children learn without tuition fee worries, fish is bought directly from traditional by-hand fishermen who can use the hotel's wood for repairs and beach bar for well-earned refreshment, and they run a pioneering eco-education initiative for the community's young people. The continuing "Artist in Casa" scheme ensures a steady supply of Trancoso-inspired works to decorate the soothing surrounds.

OLD NO. 77, NEW ORLEANS, US

Here they make good with their Arts District address, partnering with the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts to host rotating exhibitions, give wall space to local collective Where Y'Art and host an artist-in-residence program that lets out-of-town talent lodge for a month to create NOLA-inspired works. It's the little things, too: guests are encouraged to enjoy responsible stays with $5 minibar credit for every day they skip housekeeping.

YURBBAN PASSAGE HOTEL & SPA, BARCELONA, SPAIN

The passage in question is the one that runs underneath this brand-new hotel. Dating back to 1878, the alley  - in the heart of the textile district - was once the haunt of craftsmen and merchants. While many would have bulldozed history to squeeze in a car park or some such, the Yurbban collective have preserved it in a bid to "bring the location back to life and maintain its transient spirit".  This respect for their environment extends to the one per cent of every booking that's gifted to local children's charities.

Criteria for the category are as follows:

DOWN-TO-EARTH

Guests don't always need to know how their waste water is used, or what kind of lightbulbs the hotel has chosen. An eco-friendly hotel will inform, share, show and guide where necessary, and there should be transparency - but nobody wants a lecture.

INNOVATIVE

Buildings that are not just carbon-neutral or low-impact but which lead the way architecturally; pioneering use of new technology or a showcase for traditional methods; trailblazers in the eco-hotel sphere.

COMMUNITY-SPIRITED

Does this hotel give something back? Does it employ local staff and support local projects? Ethical awareness, conservation of all kinds and respect for the larger regional community count.

INSPIRING

Watching turtles hatch, or rare sharks swim over a protected house reef; marvelling at a pristine landscape sound in the knowledge that you are not also polluting it; meeting people who have benefited from community projects - a hotel that can make these moments happen is to be celebrated.

 Vote for your favourite and in all the other categories on the Mr & Mrs Smith website.

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