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green practices


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green practices

Green Practices

Blanketing 900 acres of a region blessed with natural attributes, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa holds deep roots as an environmental partner while achieving new heights in eco-hospitality.

In 2010, the Resort introduced an Environmental Management System minimize environmental impacts on our property. Led by the Green Committee—a volunteer group of Resort employees committed to eco-stewardship—the Resort has implemented dozens of programs to protect and preserve the surrounding environment. The following items have been put in place for resource conservation during the last decade and continue to be a part of standard operating procedures.

The Green Committee

This volunteer group of Resort employees is tasked with the planning, organization, and execution of green initiatives across the property. Each year, the Green Committee also participates in Adopt a Highway (US 31), Adopt a Stream (Acme Creek), and Adopt a Beach (Bayside Park and Resort beaches). Furthermore, the Green Committee hosts a weeklong celebration leading up to Earth Day and sponsors a recycled art contest in November in honor of America Recycles Day.


  • In 2013, electric vehicle charging stations were added. They are regularly maintained and updated to service new vehicle types, including Tesla vehicles.
  • In 2016, the Resort replaced an aging boiler with a Micro CHP (Combined Heat and Power) unit, which has an engine that runs on natural gas to generate electricity with useful heat—clean hot water—as a by-product of cooling the engine. The Micro CHP is estimated to save up to $20,000 in electric energy each year, and received an EPA certificate of approval for commercial emission standards.
  • In 2017–2018, LED lighting was installed throughout the Resort property.


  • Recycling bins are in rooms, offices, meeting spaces, and common areas for the collection and recycling of paper, cardboard, and #1-7 plastics throughout the Resort.
  • Guests are provided with a linen reuse option.
  • The four primary cleaning products used by housekeeping are green certified and waste bags are bio-degradable.
  • Housekeeping participates with a company called TerraCycle, which pays one penny for each empty shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottle. Twice a year, that money is donated to local groups such as the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, the TART Trail, and others.
  • Plastic straws are now available by request only at our Food and Beverage outlets.
  • The Resort transitioned to a nontoxic, biodegradable hand sanitizer (containing aloe), through Ecologic Solution.
  • Food and Beverage services now use compostable dinnerware and utensils for room service deliveries.


  • Food waste is collected at the clubhouse and all hotel food & beverage outlets for composting by a local non-profit recycler, Bay Area Recycling for Charities; approximately 100 tons annually.
  • Bay Area Recycling for Charities helps recycle hard-to-recycle materials such as mattresses and Styrofoam.
  • Most plastic bottles and cans are collected and sorted from golf course waste bins for either return for deposit or recycling.
  • All scrap metal, (steel, copper, aluminum and brass), is taken to a local recycling center.


  • Certified as a Michigan Turf-grass Environmental Steward, the Resort was lauded by the Environmental Institute for Golf for retrofitting maintenance equipment with recycled catalytic converters.
  • Buffer zones have been established surrounding most waterways with a minimum width of 3–5 feet ranging to well over 100 feet. In 2009, an additional 30 acres were designated as no mow zones, allowing these areas to become naturalized.
  • An on-site composting program has been established to capture plant waste and reuse it for various projects as topsoil.
  • Eco-friendly hydraulic oil is used in all mowing equipment.
  • Three tractors were equipped with emission reducing exhaust systems in 2007. • Native plants, trees, and grasses have been utilized in ornamental beds and lawn areas during any new landscaping.
  • Native rocks and boulders have been utilized in landscape areas rather than manufactured concrete products during any renovations to landscape areas.
  • An herb garden was created to source herbs used by Resort dining venues.


  • 2015: "Keep Michigan Beautiful Award"
  • 2012: Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program - Legacy Property
  • 2011: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council Business of the Year
  • 2011: Green Lodging Michigan: Leader Certification
  • 2008: Green Lodging Michigan: Leader Certification
  • 2006: Michigan Turf-grass Environmental Stewardship Program - Certified Environmental Steward
  • 1998: Golf Course Superintendents Association of America - Environmental Stewardship Award
  • 1997: Audubon International: Cooperative Sanctuary Certification
  • 1995: Traverse Area Recreational Trail: 2.5 Acres Wetlands Mitigation
  • 1992: Michigan Chamber of Commerce: Environmental Quality Award
  • 1989: Michigan Recycling Coalition: Business Recycler of the Year
  • 1982: Michigan Outdoor Writers: Clean Waters Award

Learn more about our green practices here.

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Instant Gratification

HydraFacial delivers results on first treatment

By Cymbre Foster

When Spa Grand Traverse cosmetologist Sandra Umstead received her first HydraFacial, the results were so amazing that she knew it was something she wanted her clients to experience as well.  
HydraFacial is a patented technology that marries a deeply cleansing facial treatment with relaxation.
“After just one visit, this medical-grade procedure leaves the skin with improved clarity, texture, and tone,” Umstead says.
I admit I needed convincing that it could be that good when I arrived at the spa for my first HydraFacial. Truth be told, I’d rather spend my money on a new pair of shoes than skin care, and I didn’t think she would be able to do that much with my neglected, sun-damaged, slightly saggy, middle-aged skin.
Was I ever wrong.

Instant Results
A HydraFacial is a three-part treatment that begins with cleansing that removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin. Next, salicylic and glycolic acids are applied to break up any dirt and oil that's clogging pores. Then the HydraPeel Tip is used to painlessly suction out blackheads, dirt, oil, and impurities, while hydrating, plumping, and nourishing serums are simultaneously applied to the skin.
“No more manual extractions that may leave the skin blotchy and inflamed,” Umstead says. “The powerful serums break it all down, allowing the vacuum to pull it all up.”  
The best part is that after just one HydraFacial, you will see immediate results. I certainly did.
“This treatment satisfies our need for instant gratification, so clients can’t wait for the next treatment,” Umstead says.
Corrine Olson is one of those clients.
“My favorite facial at the spa is the HydraFacial,” she says. “It’s the first time I can say that I noticed results.”
Each treatment starts with before and after photos.
“We have the ability to compare them side by side after your treatment,” Umstead explains. “This allows us to better track your progress every time you come in.”
For many clients, seeing those results is motivation not just to come back, but also to continue better skin-care regimens at home.
Umstead pulled up my pictures, and, to my surprise, I had fewer lines on my face and my skin was truly hydrated — literally glowing, in fact.

Part of a Skin-Care Routine
Since Umstead has consistently treated herself to HydraFacials, she no longer needs to wear makeup. Her skin did look flawless.
For long-term benefits and correction purposes, Umstead recommends treatments every six weeks. For maintenance, she suggests having one each season.
“This treatment is fairly active, and I like to think of it as waking up the skin,” she says.
“It’s invigorating and satisfying in many ways, which keeps clients coming back for more.”
When a friend commented on how nice my skin looked the day after my HydraFacial, I had to agree.
“You will leave with your skin glowing, looking healthy, hydrated, and with overall better skin tone,” Olson says. “I plan on keeping this as part of my skin-care routine.”

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