Finding The Planet Traveler Hostel is incredibly easy, even for a small town chump such as myself. It’s located between two awesome and eclecticToronto neighbourhoods, Little Italy & Kensington Market. Rising slightly higher than the nearby buildings, a grid of solar panels points toward the sky, gathering light to feed the bowels of this building. No, this is not a bio-dome. Nope, definitely not a hippie commune. Welcome to North America’s most eco-friendly hostel, The Planet Traveler!
A warm welcome from a green building
Stepping into the downstairs lobby, it feels as if I’ve traveled to the future. A future inspired by the aesthetic design of Apple Inc, with all of the added benefits of sustainable living. In this future, staff wear cool t-shirts, buildings have awesome modern Canadian art on the walls, and travelers try to leave as little impact on the world as possible. It takes me a second to realize that this is real. Why aren’t more places like this? My curiosity was getting the best of me as performed an ocular pat-down of the hostel commons area.
One of the friendly staff members, (also sporting a cool t-shirt) showed me around this modern building. He covered the rules of the hostel, and explained the kitchen etiquette, and then gets into what separates Planet Traveler from the rest of the gang. He explained there is free wifi throughout the entire hostel & several iMac’s situated in the lobby (free to use), should you not be a laptop traveler. A commons area on the main floor allows guests from all over the world to socialize, and another on the 5th floor patio, which offers the best view of downtown Toronto that I’ve ever seen. (See last photo in this blog post! Yea, that good!)
I was then taken to the beating heart of the hostel. I looked through the glass door as the staff member informed me what steps are being taken by the hostel to ensure the smallest ecological footprint is made. The solar panels located on the roof aide in the electrical consumption of the building and also heat the water throughout the hostel.
After pulling my jaw off the floor, I’m told that the entire building is outfitted with LED lights, which allows the entire hostel to be lit by the same amount of power that a typical household toaster would use. A smile creeps across his face as I’m visibly blown away by this information. Clearly the staff is proud to work here. Why wouldn’t they! This place is awesome!
Friendly & Happy Hostel Staff
While making my way to my room, I bumped into another staff member. She was on cleaning duty, but I managed to pull her away from work long enough to chat. She was from Germany and had been working at Planet Traveler for almost a month. I asked how she enjoyed working at this eco friendly hostel. She warmly smiled and told me how much she loved it. She explained that the entire staff are able to switch jobs whenever they want. If she wants to be at the Front of House checking guests in, she can, if she’d rather keep to herself that day, she can do room cleaning.
Having worked at several hostels before, I know how nice it is to get out of doing the same job over and over again. This community mentality really seemed to help. Staff & guests are warm and inviting and generally seem to have the same mentality towards this movement. “These places are great for everyone, hopefully someday all hostels & buildings will be built this way” explained one of my fellow guests.
This hostel takes green to a new level!
I checked into my room expecting the same modern and eco-friendly treatment. I wasn’t disappointed. Clean white walls, fresh linens, and a duvet that was practically begging me to sleep with it. A calming green warmth surrounded the room, allowing me to feel like I’m both in luxury, and in nature. I looked around for the source of this feeling, and spot the upper window pane. A lime green piece of glass tweaks the harsh sunlight, cooling off the room and putting me into a happy state of mind.
Planet Traveler has done everything in its power to promote these feelings of quality, security, and clean ecological living. You don’t have to sacrifice electricity, hot water, or the comforts of home in order to be “Green”. Technology exists to make the impact of our own existence a small afterthought, but it requires clever designers, smart people, and eco conscious members of the community to make this type of living happen.
Travelers are beginning to realize that they have an impact on the places they visit, something that’s easily visible at the Planet Traveler. If you’re in Toronto, and care about the world at all, be sure to book a reservation.
Special thanks to the folks at Planet Traveler for helping out during my recent adventure in Toronto. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Disclosure Boom!