A green hotel is often in name only, but the LEED certified Hyatt at Olive 8 walks the walk. The downtown Seattle hotel boasts a green roof to reduce energy use and a spa that uses only organic products. An aqua cycle program reduces water use by 80% so you don’t have to feel guilty slipping into one of the plush robes. And the farm to table restaurant attracts foodies in the hyper critical local dining scene.

have you stayed at a hotel with a green roof?

The green roof at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle, Washington. Photo Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

You Can Make Every Day Earth Day at a Green Hotel

Seattle is often associated with a commitment to the environment, home to outdoorsy types who bike to work and hike or ski on the weekends. So I was surprised to find out that the Hyatt at Olive 8 is the first LEED certified hotel in the city. The luxury hotel manages to combine environmental consciousness with cosseting; the spa uses organic products, and the windows are specially treated to reduce energy use. A green roof helps with Seattle‘s rain and a laundry program with the nearby Grand Hyatt helps both hotels cut down on water use.

How can you celebrate Earth Day on vacation? Stay at a green hotelThe gorgeous wood in the lobby was reclaimed and the hotel’s assistant manager told me a secret about the toilet paper in rooms. You know how every time you enter a room, the roll is full and the end is folded into a triangle? The full roll completes the look of a perfectly appointed bathroom, but on occasion, you use a few squares. The Hyatt donates all those less than Instagram-worthy rolls to a women’s shelter.

To turn on the lights in the room, you have to insert the key card in the slot by the door. This serves two purposes: you never lose the hotel key, and you turn off all the lights in the room when you take the key as you leave. No returning to the room to find the TV and every light on, as a turn-down service.

Even the hotel’s location speaks to those who are green. The light rail from the airport stops just two blocks away, so it is easy to take public transportation (and the $3 fee is much better than the $50 or so a cab costs).


The central location is near the convention center and shopping, about a 15 minute walk from Pike Place Market and a short walk to the hip restaurants and bars of both Belltown and Capitol Hill.

The Room

Feel better on Earth Day when linens are washed in a green, water-reducing way.

The comfy bed at the Hyatt at Olive 8. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Our room on the quiet floor had a super comfortable king-sized bed and, despite jet lag, we had great nights of sleep. The bathroom had a glass-enclosed shower with paraben and  phthalate-free bath products by KenetMD.

There were plush robes and slippers and a coffee maker that used disposable Starbucks filters; much better coffee than a K-cup and the plastic part was recyclable. The room had a garbage can and recycling bin.


The hotel really shines here, with a first class spa featuring organic and natural local products. A lounge for spa guests has snacks, fruit and infused water (there is also a basket of apples in the lobby for all, along with infused water). Elaia Spa (the name means olive in Greek) offers a Seattle coffee sugar scrub and a Chardonnay grape facial, among other treatments.

How nice to swim in a chlorine-free pool on Earth Day

The saltwater water. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The gorgeous salt water pool leads to sparkling locker rooms, with steam and sauna. Sadly, the hot tub was under renovation when we stayed.

Earth Day

The coated windows in the fitness studio reduce energy use but allow abundant sunshine to brighten the room. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The fitness center is also fantastic. If swimming laps isn’t your thing, there is a state of the art gym plus a fitness studio that offers free yoga and Zumba classes Thursdays to Saturdays (the gym is also for condo owners, who live in units above the hotel). The well- equipped gym has Precor treadmills and elliptical machines with individual screens, stability balls, a bosu ball, free weights and strength machines. There are also plenty of yoga mats for stretching, and if there is no class in the studio you can use its expanse to exercise.


Local produce for Earth Day

Farm to table cuisine keeps the Earth Day credo; here, seasonal halibut and ramps. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Urbane, the farm-to-table restaurant, uses local produce and seafood. I had fantastic halibut with ramps, perfectly cooked, and a delicious salad of local beets with goat cheese from a nearby dairy. There were a couple of purely vegetarian dishes as well. The restaurant also has a great list of local wines and spirits. Herbs from the green roof are used at the restaurant.

For a quick snack, or morning coffee, the Victrola roasting company, a local mini chain (you may have heard of the other local chain, Starbucks) has a cafe with pastries and excellent caffeine choices.

What Works for Families

  • Huge indoor pool
  • Refrigerators in rooms
  • Bowl of delicious (not Delicious) local apples in the lobby

What Doesn’t Work for Families

  • Not all rooms have a tub
  • A quiet floor is a great touch, but families aren’t welcome on it; when my kids were little, I would have wanted a quiet floor so they could get to sleep without loud hall conversations disturbing them

Note: I received a special media rate for my stay; opinions expressed are my own.