The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a beautiful new hotel, is located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Whoever said environmentally friendly and upscale were mutually exclusive? Not so at this Gulf Shores hotel!
I’ll be honest, when I heard I’d be staying at a lodge, my expectations were not that high. That and the fact that it is part of the state park and I had visions of low budget lodging. But I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the Lodge at Gulf State Park.
The location, as part of the Gulf State Park, gives you direct access to over 28 miles of hiking and biking trails, besides the beachfront locale. There’s just a short stroll on to the beach from this hotel. I’ve stayed at lots of beach front properties but what makes this one so special is that because it is owned by the state and they own miles and miles of the land, it means you can look in either direction and not see large condo buildings nearby and it is not likely that the beach will be full of people elbow to elbow.
Impressed with the gorgeous views and pictures yet? I was too! But it is nice to know that the Lodge at Gulf State Park is both eco-friendly and has gone above and beyond to be environmentally friendly. Just look at this list of boxes the Gulf Shores hotel checks:
* The buildings are designed to reduce energy usage by 32% and interior water use by 35% relative to a typical facility.
* Fifteen percent of building materials are recycled materials.
* The restaurant utilizes recycled or compostable materials for to go items.
* 70-75% of construction waste was recycled instead of going into a landfill.
* Passive cooling techniques are utilized which include building orientation and wood screens to filter sunlight and reduce energy usage.
* Condensation from the HVAC system is collected and recycled to replace water in the pool. Summer average is 8,400 gallons/day!
* Guest Room A/C units installed with sensors that cut off unit if balcony doors or windows are left open or ajar.
But the Lodge at Gulf State Park is good for wildlife too. It’s no secret that Gulf Shores received a hefty settlement from the oil spill years ago and they’ve put that money to good use, establishing programs that help protect natural wildlife in Gulf Shores. Here’s some ways the hotel has made themselves animal friendly.
* No lights point towards the beach – the lights are all shielded and directed away from turtle nesting areas. Site lights on the beach side of The Lodge are more amber in color to be less confusing with cool (blue/white) moonlight on water.
* Floor to ceiling glass windows in the main lobby have bird friendly safety measures within the design.
* About 75% of the site is dedicated to landscaping using native species that can thrive without irrigation, chemical pesticides or fertilizers. By planting native species, the coastal landscape is restored, and habitats have been created for native birds, nesting sea turtles and the Alabama Beach Mouse.
But just because a hotel is environmentally friendly, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be upscale too. The two are not always mutually exclusive, though many environmentally friendly hotels would make you think otherwise.
Large porches are perfect to sip on a cup of coffee in the mornings. There were several mornings during my stay when I brewed a cup of coffee and just sat on my porch just taking in the ocean views and that ocean air. I like that each room has large dividers between them for lots of privacy.
Perch bar on site offers a great place for cocktails. Aptly named, Perch, offering a gorgeous waterfront views perched above the water is perfect as it is getting dark or enjoy it with the heat lamps in the fall like I did.
Beautiful lobby to hang. A cozy fireplace was perfect in the cool fall days when I was at the Lodge at Gulf State Park. But the modern beachy decor suited the hotel fantastically well. I stayed at this Gulf Shores hotel for 5 days, so if I ever started to long for different scenery the lobby was warm and welcoming.
Instagram worthy Infinity pool. While it may not have been warm enough in November when I visited the Lodge at Gulf State Park, that didn’t mean I didn’t eye that pool and make a mental note to come back and lounge in it during warmer weather. The pool, while not huge, overlooks the ocean and would be great to sip on a cocktail.
So, when are you booking your stay to the Lodge at Gulf State Park? Pro tip: late fall when all the families and crowds have left is the perfect time to visit Gulf Shores!