Travel with Purpose: San Diego’s Eco-Friendly Vibe

Cool Vibes of San Diego - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Cool Vibes of San Diego – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

San Diego has long been paraded as a forward-thinking, green city with a healthy and active lifestyle. So, of course I was eager to check out this city recently when I collaborated with a team from Surfrider Organization and the Hilton Hotels on a Sustainability trip to the region.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

San Diego’s distinctive coastal culture is obvious the moment you arrive at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story hotel, with a sun and sea-inspired design. Its location, adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and across the street from Padres’ Petco Park, is super convenient, with easy access to everything in just a short walk, scooter, or bike ride away. I enjoyed the stunning views of both city and coastline, the relaxing vibe at the pool and poolside bar, great amenities, extensive meeting space (there’s always a conference happening), and trendy dining venues both casual and upscale.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

But what really impressed me by this hotel was Hilton’s commitment to Sustainability. While this is a term that’s oftentimes thrown around loosely, Hilton is redefining sustainable travel and is on a mission to protect the planet by reducing the amount of energy, water and waste they use at each of their hotels. Hilton has promised to cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030.

At the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, they’ve implemented a recycling and waste reduction pledge, which includes using reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, shopping bags, plates and cutlery. I got a first-hand tour of its water reclamation system, which uses grey water to wash all bedding and linens. Their Blue Energy Program and long-term sustainability plan for 2030 are impressive. This hotel is a true leader in the field, and celebrates its 10th year of being in business in December 2018!

Food + Microbrews

San Diego is famous for its microbrews, and I did my best to try as many locally brewed pints as possible (I know, it’s a rough job). The first night I arrived I went with a fellow travel blogger friend to Waypoint Public, a great little joint that has yummy food and a great craft beer selection. They had these awesome coasters that I can totally relate to:

Eat Well Travel Often - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Eat Well Travel Often – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

I also thoroughly enjoyed the brewing tour, beer tasting, and dinner at Ballast Point Brewing, a much larger-scaled brewery where most of the beers are named after marine animals, such as Wahoo White, Watermelon Dorado, and Bonito Blonde. My favorite was the Manta Ray Double India Pale Ale.

Ballast Point Brewery - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Ballast Point Brewery – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

Later, I enjoyed a delicious dinner led by Executive Chef David Scalise at Vela Restaurant, which featured locally sourced ingredients prepared with the chef’s distinct culinary techniques.

Bicycling + Scooter Culture

I was fascinated by San Diego’s bicycling and scooter culture. There are a plentiful amount of bikes and scooters to rent around town, for example Lime Bikes, which allows you to rent either from their app, and then just leave it wherever you want, until the next person rents it. I saw kids, businessmen, conference attendees, bachelorette parties, daily commuters, joy riders, and more all enjoying the fabulous sunny weather and mild temperatures as they journeyed to and fro. It’s an easy enough city to get around, and what a freewheeling and healthy way to explore it!

Hotel del Coronado

I took a ferry ride with Flagship Cruises to the island of Coronado, rented a bike at Bike and Kayak Tours (right near the landing dock), and hopped on a well-marked bike trail to the beautiful Hotel del Coronado, which sits right on one of the nicest beaches in town, known for its gentle surf, sparkling wide-sand beaches.

Biking to Hotel Coronado - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Biking to Hotel Coronado – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

This charmed small town is also know as “The Crown City,” as Coronado means “the crowned one” in Spanish. Take a stroll down Orange Avenue, Coronado’s main artery, which is lined with shops, restaurants, galleries, theaters and the Coronado Museum of History & Art. At the other end of the island, Coronado’s Ferry Landing offers a collection of more than 20 shops, art galleries and restaurants.

Harold Rapoza, Jr., Vice President/General Manager of the Hotel Del Coronado and the author, Kristen Gill. Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Harold Rapoza, Jr., Vice President/General Manager of the Hotel Del Coronado and the author, Kristen Gill. – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

The history of the Hotel del Coronado is fascinating! For example, did you know that in 1920 the Crown Room hosted an enormous banquet for the Prince of Wales, and in 1927 Charles Lindbergh was honored here after his successful solo transatlantic flight.

This National Historic Landmark has a rich heritage of being proud host to celebrities, royalty, U.S. Presidents, and beach-loving guests for 130 years and counting.

After my tour, I enjoyed a locally sourced lunch right on the beach. Talk about a meal with a view!

Executive Chef Stefan Peroutka explains his meal concept at Hotel del Coronado's outdoor setting. - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Executive Chef Stefan Peroutka explains his meal concept at Hotel del Coronado’s outdoor setting. – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

Of course, I also had to try out the Spa – which uses VOYA products, a versatile luxury skincare range from Ireland, with products specifically tailored to each skin type.

Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation is an organization whose goal is to protect the environment, specifically by cleaning up our beaches. They have 80 chapters nationwide, with San Diego being the largest. To date, they have removed 10,000 pounds of trash from San Diego’s coastline. We joined Surfrider for a beach cleanup at Ocean Beach, and cigarettes and single use plastics that the planet cannot ingest were the biggest culprits.

San Diego's Ocean Beach. - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
San Diego’s Ocean Beach. – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

Can you imagine an ocean with more plastic than fish? It’s time to start thinking about what we can do to prevent this from happening. For starters, bring your own water bottle everywhere and do not use single-use plastic bottles. We don’t need straws, and cloth totes are way more efficient and lot more stylish than plastic bags. Recycling is good, but it can only go so far. It’s best not to produce plastic crap in the first place.

Did you know that our nation is made up of more water than land? America’s oceans cover nearly 4.5 million square miles, which is 23% greater than U.S. landmass.

Check out Surfrider’s new flag: The United States and Oceans of America: The Land and Oceans of the Free. The Home and Waves of the Brave.

Surfrider Organization Beach Cleanup Crew - Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018
Surfrider Organization Beach Cleanup Crew – Copyright Kristen Gill Media 2018

Tips on How to Travel with Purpose

Here’s a great list on ways YOU can Travel with Purpose:

  • Turn off the lights, TV, and air conditioning when you leave the room
  • Unplug chargers when not in use
  • Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) to reduce your gas consumption and carbon emissions
  • Hang up your towels for reuse to reduce water, energy, and chemical use
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
  • Be mindful of your shower time to reduce water consumption
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle and fill it instead of using plastic bottles
  • Decline plastic straws or disposable food service items
  • Choose to have your folio and other documents emailed rather than printed

#TravelwithPurpose #SponsoredPost

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