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Fairmont Hotels - Luxury + Eco-Friendly = Green Travel

Sustainable luxury at the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle & Vancouver

Story by Carly Milne

Voluntourism, eco-friendly vacations... slowly but surely these forms of traveling are becoming the norm, but they're usually characterized by a dirt-under-your-nails charm that makes you a part of the community you're staying in.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes you just need a little luxury. So how can you travel in an environmentally-conscious way and still enjoy some top notch treatment? Take a trip to the West coast and book yourself in at the Fairmont Hotel.

The Fairmont Olympic in Seattle, offers an experience second to none. Check in is a breeze, every room has free internet, the bathroom has an area large enough Fairmont Olympic in SeattleFairmont Olympic in Seattleto accommodate even the largest make-up case and the bedroom has a pillowy-soft king that begs to be jumped on (not that we condone that in a 5-diamond hotel), but where the Fairmont Olympic really pulls out the stops is in their cuisine. Chef Gavin Stevenson sticks to the hundred-mile rule and sources all of his food from locals and lets that dictate his menus for guests.

One walk through Pike Market and you'll understand why this approach is so important to him. Yes, the market has the world's first Starbucks and the infamous fish-throwers, but look beyond the media Pike MarketPike Marketdarlings and you'll find a community that's passionate about their food. Stevenson has cultivated relationships with his favorite providers, insuring the best of the best is available to him whether it's specially-grown heirloom tomatoes, super sweet dried strawberries, or his favorite, morel mushrooms.

Just a 20-minute sea-plane trip away is Penfield Cove, home of a world-famous mussel and oyster farm. It's there that Stevenson sources some of the most incredible shellfish you'll ever eat. The farm's joy over Penfield CovePenfield Coveand knowledge of the shellfish they cultivate is infectious, and you can practically taste it in the meals that Stevenson prepares with them - mussels in a deceptively simple white wine broth designed to highlight the taste of the shellfish itself, oysters so melt-in-your-mouth delicious that you don't even need to add horseradish or cocktail sauce... this is a true food-lover's experience.

Not to be outdone, the Fairmont Waterfront just up the coast in Vancouver, BC offers an equally incredible sustainable experience starting with their rooftop herb garden. It's there that they harvest everything from rosemary to strawberries for use in the dishes from Herron's restaurant. They get much of their produce from Hazelmere Organic Farm, a family owned and operated farm located in nearby Surrey featuring produce so fresh and delicious you almost want to eat it uncooked. But doing so will rob you of the sensory experience created by Chef Wayne Harris and Chef De Partie Colin Burslem. After seven courses showcasing fresh asparagus (with duck so tender you'll never question the existence of god ever again), incredible greens (in the freshest, crispiest salad ever) and a homemade palate-cleansing passionfruit sorbet, you'll be inspired to start your own garden.

But the best is yet to come.

At the Fairmont at Vancouver's International Airport, Executive Sous Chef Patrick Sinclair makes magic with veggies from nearby Granville Island and fish from local fisheries. Sinclair works closely with the Vancouver Aquarium to ensure he obtains fish that are farmed both consciously and sustainably. His creations are simply incredible. Two of the more notable plates in his repertoire? Try one of his scallops - you'll only need one of these hockey-puck sized beauties, seared to perfection and served on a bed of quinoa with a butter bean sauce on the side. But don't forget the halibut, cooked perfectly moist with a tender crust, sitting atop farm-fresh braised vegetables like golden beets and fiddlehead greens.

Maybe you wouldn't normally think of booking your voluntourism trips through a hotel chain... but you should start. Check out Fairmont online for more information!

Read more of Carly's articles on GoGirlfriend:

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