Certified Sustainable Business: El Portal

October, 2019—El Portal Sedona Hotel is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Conservationist/Bronze level from the Sustainability Alliance.

It’s easy to feel at home in El Portal Sedona Hotel. Owners Steve and Connie Segner have created a charming, healthy space to welcome guests and their dogs.

The building is made from natural materials wherever possible. Recycled wood from a 200-year-old bridge trellis frames the windows. Floors are sandstone and white oak trellis wood. The reclaimed furnishings, collected by the Segners over decades, give every room an eclectic, inviting feel. The pet-friendly design means there is no carpeting to harbor allergens.

El Portal is extremely energy efficient. The adobe walls are 22 inches thick, with additional foam insulation for the walls and ceiling. Segner is testing a green roof on part of the building, and the results so far are excellent. The greenery keeps roof temperatures to 70 degrees, down from 180 degrees with the original material. He plans to extend the green roof to guest rooms in the future.

The hotel is also efficient in other ways. Rather than using natural resources to build their own pool and gym, El Portal shares the facilities at Los Abrigados. LED lighting, newer kitchen appliances, and commercial laundry equipment all save energy. Water is conserved with low flow toilets and the option for guests to reuse their towels.

A water station in lobby eliminates the need for single-use beverage containers. Guests receive a one-quart bottle at checkin that they refill throughout their stay. Breakfast dishes and room cups are washable to reduce waste, and the hotel participates in Straw Free Sedona.

El Portal is a small operation, which fosters a collaborative, family atmosphere among the staff. Team members manage their own hours and cover for each other when needed. Segner leads by example, inspecting rooms and making some of the repairs himself, while providing real-time coaching as needed.

Community contribution is a core value for the business. They contribute to many local nonprofits, and donate rooms for a variety of key arts events. Segner serves on the board of the Sedona Historical Society, Chamber Music Sedona, and Sedona Lodging Council, and is also active in other organizations. At present he is focused on tackling the critical issue of workforce housing.

El Portal helps guests explore the area in a responsible way. Segner recommends less-used trails to guests looking for a hike. He also donates to Sedona Trail Keepers and is helping to enhance other trail support programs. He contracts with a tour company to offer local experiences that educate visitors and help reduce cars on the road. In fact, Segner is so committed to getting people out of cars that he designed and built the history plaques along 89A to entice people to walk from the hotel into Uptown.