Why Greensboro, North Carolina? Because that’s where Proximity Hotel is located – and a hotel like this deserves to be noticed no matter where it is. It has a modern design, is independently owned, has state-of-the-art features, and is managed small – all qualities we admire. But the most important thing to say about Proximity is that it has a real shot at becoming the greenest hotel in North America – and has the LEED Platinum certification to prove it.

If there’s an environmentalist’s paradise, this is how you get there. Proximity is built with recycled materials, heated by solar energy and cooled by geothermal. Efficient lighting conserves energy, efficient plumbing conserves water, and even the elevators return energy to the system by charging as they descend, just as a hybrid car charges its battery while braking.

But this is only half the concept. The other half is that you’d never know about any of these eco-friendly measures without looking for them – they never detract from the guest experience. The rooms are just as spacious, well-lit, and comfortable as you’d find in a regular luxury hotel, and the emphasis on sustainable local food sources isn’t in poor taste either. If you’re trying to save the world by visiting one hotel at a time, this is a great place to start, but even the most decadent carbon lover will find it hard to fault the comfort of Proximity.