MGM Resorts, Kimpton Earn Green Certification for 22 Hotels

MGM Resorts, Kimpton Earn Green Certification for 22 Hotels

MGM Resorts International and Kimpton hotels have received green certification for almost two dozen properties in California, Nevada and Michigan.

In the recent surge of certifications, the green validation of 12 MGM Resorts sites recognizes efforts to reduce energy and water consumption and other environmental impacts at some of the larger, high-profile properties in the U.S., including two hotels in Las Vegas' new CityCenter development and the Bellagio.

The certifications for MGM Resorts are also significant because of the company's use of the Green Key rating system. Green Key is best known in Canada and is a recent addition to the third-party systems used by the lodging industry in the U.S. Other early adopters include the Hyatt and Carlson hotels.

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants celebrated the Green Seal certification of 10 San Francisco properties two weeks ago. The hotels received certification at the silver level, the second-highest of three, under the Green Seal Standard for Lodging Properties, GS-33.

The achievement means that more than 80 percent of the 50 Kimpton hotels now hold Green Seal certification. The boutique hotel company is aiming for 100 percent Green Seal certification at the silver level or better. The 10 Kimpton properties receiving certification were the Argonaut Hotel, Cypress, Harbor Court, Monaco San Francisco, Triton, Palomar San Francisco, Prescott, Serrano, Sir Francis Drake and Tuscan Inn.

The Green Key rating system ranges from 1 to 5 Keys. The more keys, the better the rating.

Two of MGM Resorts' properties at CityCenter in Las Vegas earned 5-Keys ratings -- the 61-story ARIA Resort & Casino and the Vdara Hotel & Spa, a luxury property with 1,495 suites and no gaming or smoking.

In addition to its hotels, MGM Resorts has a 50 percent investment interest in the 67-acre CityCenter development. So far, six buildings in the complex, which opened last December, have been awarded LEED-Gold ratings -- the 47-story Mandarin Oriental, a non-gaming hotel and residence; the Crystals retail and entertainment district; the Veer Towers, a residential development with two 37-story glass towers; the ARIA and the Vdara.

Nine MGM Resorts properties received a 4-Keys designation: Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York-New York, all in Vegas, and the MGM Grand Detroit. Circus Circus Las Vegas earned a 3-Keys designation.

The certifications are the result of an aggressive environmental program that the company adhered to despite tough economic times and financial problems that bordered on bankruptcy.

"We gritted our teeth and never dropped one single environmental program," Cindy Ortega, senior vice president of Energy and Environmental Services for MGM Resorts, told "That's a big testament to the company's commitment."

Asked whether such large properties can truly be considered sustainable, Ortega replied, "If you think about what it means to be sustainable, we wouldn't travel at all, but we would also be really limited (in outlook and experiences)."

"One of the biggest contributors to quality of life is leisure time," she continued. "We focus on providing experiences and entertainment to vacationers, and we try to do it in a way that is more environmentally conscious ... When people travel, it's good to have choices and the ability to extend (green) principles into their leisure."

The company chose Green Key as its certification label because the system is exacting and includes audits in addition to a review of the information that hotels submit to the program, Ortega said. "They do follow up and that was really important to us," she said. "We feel they're the real deal." In contrast, "some green ratings systems can make the impostors seem as green as those making actual efforts," she added.

MGM Resorts' selection of Green Key helps establish the system as a leading program in the U.S., said Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News and a guest writer for

"MGM is very active in pushing sustainability in its resorts and is certainly one of the top companies in the U.S. to do so," Hasek added. "When you think of mega resorts, you might think, 'My gosh, what a waste of energy and water ...' but if you dug down a bit, you'd find that MGM is very attentive to energy efficiency, water conservation and green building."

Image courtesy of CityCenter and MGM Resorts International.