Kiawah Island Golf Resort – An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice

Picture yourself at a lush island resort. The melodic call of sea birds and the sound of breaking waves beckon to you.  Nature’s splendor surrounds you in all directions. Three bountiful meals await you at your choice of 12 dining venues. Your hotel room features luxurious furniture and every amenity you could ask for. The golf course is minutes from your door. If this sounds like an idyllic vacation spot, it is; South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort is all this and more.

Access to nature is readily available at the resort. Photo Courtesy: K

Access to nature is readily available from the resort. Photo Courtesy: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

When I received a press release about Kiawah Island Golf Resort, I have to admit, I was reluctant to write about what appears to be a pricey destination that uses an inordinate amount of resources. It just didn’t seem to be in line with the mission of Blue Planet Green Living. But the more I read about the resort’s environmental policies, the more interested I became.

As a person who has spent plenty of time at conferences, sales meetings, and conventions, I’ve stayed at my share of resorts and hotels. I’ve watched as items that have barely been used are carted off to the dumpster with no regard for the environment. I’ve seen waste on a scale that makes me blush with embarrassment, knowing I was part of the problem. So, no, I wasn’t interested in promoting a resort on our site.

The golf course incorporates natural features. Photo Courtesy: Kiawaha Resort

The golf course incorporates natural features. Photo Courtesy: Kiawaha Resort

But then I read the press release. I found that Kiawah Island Golf Resort does more than just pay lip service to environmentalism. What follows is some of what I’ve learned by reading through the materials provided on the Kiawah Goes Green portion of the resort’s website. If you like what you see here, consider booking your next vacation or event — or even your wedding — at this eco-friendly venue.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort recently earned a 2 Green Eco-Leaf Rating (“Good”) from I Stay Green, which describes itself as the “online social network of environmentally friendly travel.” The resort was evaluated after completing a comprehensive, 70-point self assessment. Conservation measures include: energy-efficient lighting; energy sensors; optional reuse of bedsheets for multiple-night stays; water conservation practices; low water consumption in landscaping; recycling in guestrooms and on the property; paper products made from recycled materials; and more.

But the travel industry isn’t the only group that’s interested in the resort. Audubon International has certified the hotel grounds and the five golf courses as Cooperative Sanctuaries. “To achieve the Audubon Sanctuary Certification, our golf courses and The Sanctuary [Hotel] demonstrated a high degree of environmental quality in a variety of categories, including Environmental Planning, Wildlife Habitat Management, Resource Conservation, Waste Management and Outreach and Education,” according to the company’s website. Following are a few examples of environmentally friendly choices made by the resort and the town.

WILDLIFE CONSIDERATIONS

Oyster lovers who eat at any of the restaurants on the property — or who attend an oyster bake — are asked to recycle their Oyster shells. Why is this notable? Here’s how it’s explained on the resort’s website:

After this oyster bake, the shells will be returned to the sea. Photo Courtesy: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

After this oyster bake, the shells will be returned to the sea. Photo Courtesy: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

In the summer, adult oysters release millions of fertilized eggs. During their development, larvae (young, free-swimming oysters) may travel great distances. When development is complete, young oysters must attach to a hard substrate, ideally another oyster shell. If no suitable substrate exists, the oyster dies. South Carolina has a critical shortage of oyster shells. To properly manage the state’s oyster beds and maintain these important oyster habitats, we must continually replace the oyster shells that are removed from the state’s oyster beds.

The entire island says “lights out” to streetlights (there are none) to avoid confusing sea turtles that nest on the beaches.

CONSERVATION

The resort offers several reverse-osmosis, water-refill stations on the property for guests who bring — or buy — reusable water bottles.

Classroom nature programs offer guests and their children the opportunity to learn about local snakes, turtles, alligators, and other wildlife. The Nature Center provides information about recent wildlife sightings as well as instruction about how to respect the animals and preserve their habitats.

RECYCLING

Anyone who fishes is encouraged to recycle their fishing lines in special collection tubes placed at popular fishing spots and at the resort’s Nature Center.

The tennis center provides a reuse/recycling program for worn tennis nets and balls. Schools and nursing homes are the beneficiaries of much of the old netting and balls. Even guests dogs get in on the fun, when they receive old tennis balls for playing catch. Some 16,200 balls are recycled in a year from the resort’s guests.

BOOKING

A naturalist teaches young visitors about local wildlife. Photo Courtesy: Kiawaha Resort Golf

A naturalist teaches young visitors about local wildlife. Photo Courtesy: Kiawaha Island Golf Resort

With all of the information I read about eco-friendly policies on the resort’s website, I am tempted to visit this family friendly venue. But a look at their booking calendar makes it clear that 2010 is pretty well filled. If I’m going to go, it had better be this year. Perhaps you, too, are interested in a visit to Kiawah Island Golf Resort; 2009 might just be the year for your island eco-vacation. If you do get the opportunity to visit Kiawah Island — or if you take any other eco-friendly vacation, please write and let us know what you think.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Comments

15 Responses to “Kiawah Island Golf Resort – An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice”

  1. Kiawah Island Golf Resort - An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice : Blue … : greengolfstore.info on June 25th, 2009 2:16 am

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  3. Eco resort lover on June 25th, 2009 2:58 pm

    What a lovely eco resort, would you say it is family friendly?

  4. Julia Wasson on June 25th, 2009 3:11 pm

    Hi. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the resort appears to be very family friendly. There are activities for kids, including nature classes and some fun things on the beach. Take a look at their website, and you’ll see a photo of kids playing with a huge, colorful parachute. If you visit the resort, please let us know what you think.

  5. Kiawah Island Golf Resort - An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice : Blue … | GREEN-2009 BLOG on June 25th, 2009 7:59 pm

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  6. Andrea Schumann on June 26th, 2009 12:57 pm

    Your review is extremely detailed. I checked out the Kiawah website and I am very impressed with all of their ecological preservation efforts. It’s so good to know that there are resorts really making an effort to be green. A good site to check for green hotels is http://www.EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com. Thanks again!

  7. Julia Wasson on June 26th, 2009 2:38 pm

    Hi Andrea.
    Thanks for your comments. I’m impressed with the Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s commitment, too. I appreciate the link you sent and will definitely check out the hotels listed there. Please visit us again!

  8. Green Lodging on June 29th, 2009 12:44 pm

    Great review of what looks to be a great resort – truly environmentally conscious. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which really are “Green” – or are just “greenwashed”.

    A dedicated “Green” web site, iStayGreen.org, is helping to make environmentally friendly lodging easy to find and book.

    iStayGreen.org is currently the most frequented online booking site for “Green” lodging (http://www.istaygreen.org). Over 3,500 of the properties listed are environmentally friendly and have been awarded the Green Eco-Leaf Rating.

    The eco initiatives of the property are clearly listed. Users are encouraged to contribute “Green” Reviews and environmentally rate the hotels they visit.

    It’s like Tripadvisor – Facebook – Travelocity all together in one site for the environmentally conscious traveler.

  9. Julia Wasson on June 29th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Thanks for writing to us about iStayGreen.org. As mentioned in the article, Kiawah Island Golf Resort actually earned a 2 rating (Good) from that group. You can feel sure that the resort earned its rating and is not being greenwashed. I encourage travelers to check the iStayGreen site to find the best, environmentally friendly properties they can within their budgets. It’s a helpful site.

  10. Golf Resort Houston on July 1st, 2009 2:01 pm

    Glad to know that there are more courses supporting environmentally sound practices. It’s also great that it is a family place, that way dads can relax and do his thing while the rest of the family also have fun. Pretty informative trivia regarding the oysters too!

  11. Julia Wasson on July 1st, 2009 3:07 pm

    Is your golf resort also eco-friendly? if so, we’d love to hear about it!

  12. catastrophic effects » Blog Archive » Florida, Alabama offer Gulf Coast’s top island golf courses on July 5th, 2009 11:32 am

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  13. Scott Fister on September 29th, 2009 11:34 am

    We recently were awarded the Green Star Award from Golf Digest magazine. you can view the article at: http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2009/11/environment__green_star_awards_methodology

  14. Julia Wasson on September 30th, 2009 6:14 pm

    Great news, Scott. Congratulations!

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