Sustainable tourism has been a watch term lately, but "regenerative" tourism takes the trend a step farther: Could we actually leave our beloved destinations better off by having visited?
That’s the goal of Kind Traveler, a new international hotel booking platform that's partnering with vetted local nonprofits as a means of giving back. And good news for us: California is well-represented in the Kind Traveler portfolio.
The company has teamed up with Visit California, local tourism boards across the state, and nearly 60 hotels across California so far. Now, when wanderlusters book their stays through Kind Traveler, at least $10 per transaction (you can always give more) will go toward local community improvements such as providing food to those in need or supporting beach cleanups. The platform also provides information on how to locally volunteer, as well as direct benefits including special discounts or credits on hotel amenities (think spa treatments, dinners, bottles of wine, or room upgrades).
“While giving back to charities connected to destination wellbeing helps California create a sustainable future, studies share that it’s also related to higher levels of trip satisfaction,” say Kind Traveler's CEO and co-founder Jessica Blotter.
Want to give it a try? Here are five standout properties you can book through the platform in Central and Northern California.
A king suite at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley. (Kat Alves)
Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley
This iconic 1862 stay in the Sierra Foothills draws history buffs looking for old fashioned, small town vibes in comfortable rooms with vintage details such as clawfoot tubs and rotary phones.
Stays booked through Kind Traveler will benefit efforts to planting five native flora, maintain hiking trails, or supply kids with necessary nature gear through the Bear Yuba Land Trust. Kind Traveler perks include a guaranteed room upgrade and late checkout, as well as a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a smoothie on arrival.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley
Bonuses for Kind travelers at this luxurious, 73-room resort among vineyards and lavender include early check-in, late check-out, a room upgrade (depending on availability), and a welcome amenity—as if the oversized soaking tubs and fireplaces weren't enough of a draw.
Each guest's $10 donation will benefit Rancho Cielo in Salinas, which provides vocational training to underserved youth in Monterey County.
H2 Hotel in Healdsburg
This LEED-certified boutique hotel is all about style and substance with an emphasis on being eco-friendly—it has a green roof, a solar-heated pool, electric car charging stations, refillable water stations, and cruiser bikes for guests to use. So it's no surprise H2's Kind Traveler partnership keeps the environment in mind. Guest contributions will go toward removing some 250 pounds of trash from the nearby Russian River through Russian Riverkeeper. “Kind Traveler shares a similar value system to our hotels and attracts guests that appreciate the sustainability features and experiences offered at our properties,” says Circe Sher, president of Piazza Hospitality.
When you book with Kind Traveler, you'll receive a $25 restaurant credit for Spoonbar or The Rooftop at Harmon Guest House; wine tasting for two at Truitt Hurst Biodynamic Winery; and maybe even a free room upgrade.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort has incredible views of scenic Lake Tahoe.(Courtesy of Edgewood)
Edgewood Tahoe Resort in South Lake Tahoe
Situated right on the lake, Edgewood is famous for its world-renowned golf course and easy access to Tahoe recreation, not to mention its luxurious spa, new villa suites for groups, and a soon-to-open zen garden. Focused on environmental sustainability—Edgewood regularly sponsors efforts to clean up the lake, plant trees, and make Edgewood Creek a better habitat for native fish—this property's $10 per guest donation goes to Take Care Tahoe, a collective of local organizations dedicated to keeping Tahoe blue.
Kind Travelers will receive a complimentary glass of wine or cocktail at check-in, an additional welcome amenity, a $20 credit for breakfast, and 20 percent off at the spa.
River Terrace Inn in Napa
Located right along the river across from Oxbow Preserve, this Clean the World member hotel is already doing its part with complimentary EV charging stations and a recycling program for leftover bath products. Via its Kind Traveler partnership, River Terrace Inn supports the Land Trust of Napa County, which has helped to preserve and protect over 89,000 acres of land via native habitat restoration, invasive species removal, trail maintenance, and guided hikes.
When you book through Kind Traveler, you'll add a free bottle of wine and free breakfast to a stay that already includes easy access to the legendary Napa Valley Wine Train and the Oxbow Public Market.