Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel

This New Haven Hotel Offers the Country's Most Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Sustainability Epic Stays
by Hannah D. Cooper Jun 27, 2024

For almost two decades, a hulking concrete block stood vacant on the New Haven harborside steps from Yale University. Engineered by the modernist architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer, this Brutalist landmark served as the headquarters for Armstrong Tires in the 1970s before being inherited by Pirelli.

Abandoned and facing demolition, Connecticut-born and based developer Bruce Becker saw the potential. Snapping up the deeds, the owner of Becker + Becker set about reconfiguring the monolith as a supercharged luxury hotel with a touch of Bauhaus and earth-friendly credentials.

“Hotel Marcel was created through the adaptive reuse of the iconic Brutalist Pirelli Building,” Becker told Matador. The paneled exterior and two-story void remains almost exactly as the legendary architect left it, but inside now contains 165 hotel rooms and suites, a Penthouse Loggia used for conferences and celebrations, and a restaurant linked by a sustainably savvy ethos.

We hope you love Hotel Marcel! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

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A model for sustainability in New Haven

Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel
Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel

Operating under the Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, Hotel Marcel is one of only 10 LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the United States. As a 100 percent electric business, it’s also slated to be the country’s first Passive House-certified and Net Zero hotel. The eco agenda goes far deeper than banishing single-use plastics and the hotel has eliminated the need for fossil fuels.

“As an Architect, Developer and Owner, I preserve important works of architecture in a way that also protects the climate by designing them to have zero emissions,” continues Becker.

The hotel’s own microgrid and rooftop forest of over 1,000 solar panels generates renewable energy while KONE elevators mean every time you skip the stairs, you’re helping power the hotel. Rooms remain toasty warm courtesy of triple-pane windows and innovative heat pumps. Making it easier for travelers to reduce their carbon footprint, there are 12 Level 2 EV chargers and 12 Level 3 superchargers on the premises.

Becker isn’t stopping there. “Hotel Marcel offers an easily replicable toolkit of decarbonization ideas that, if adopted by other hotel brands, can have a rapid and transformative impact on the hospitality industry to reduce its carbon footprint,” he says. It’s the blueprint for the hotels of the future.

Ivy League accommodation at Hotel Marcel

Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel
Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel
Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel

Becker’s team worked compassionately with Breuer’s daring foundations. Originally assigned to research and development, the two lowest floors contain the hotel lobby, restaurant, and the first sweep of guest rooms. The seven remaining floors hover almost impossibly above a negative space buttressed by columns.

Despite sharing a parking lot with the Swedish furniture giant, there’s nothing flat-pack about the room decor. All units are outfitted with custom modern mid-century furnishings and warm walnut accents. Serta hybrid mattresses topped with luxury organic linens guarantee side, back, and even maverick stomach sleepers the deepest slumber. Those chic stone vanities were purchased from next-door in neighborly spirit.

Everything in these utilitarian yet sophisticated rooms has purpose: nifty garment steamer, a state-of-the-art digital lockbox, and bedside USB outlets. Breuer’s signature Cesca chairs are installed in each room while token wall hangings spotlight local up-and-coming creatives. Up-to-the-moment technology means anything else is at the swipe of the touch panel.

Standard and deluxe rooms peek at New Haven’s skyline and Long Island Sound whereas entry-level rooms are illuminated by a natural solar shower from the lightwell. Trimmed with restored mahogany and ebony plucked from the 1970s offices, Hotel Marcel’s historic suites are the pièce de résistance. With its private lounge, soaking tub, and eye-popping harbor views, the Chairman Suite is worth the splurge.

Super green eats and Haus tipples at BLDG

Hotel Marcel
Hotel Marcel

The hotel restaurant and bar, BLDG, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as weekend brunch in a design-forward, linenless setting next to the lobby. Texan-born Chef Megan Gill takes sustainable farm-to-table dining seriously, with meat, poultry, and organic microgreens sourced from Upstate and New Jersey homesteads and maple syrup from the Catskills.

There are Latin and Italian shades on the modern American menu with chorizo slipped into morning eggs and too-good-to-share whipped ricotta focaccia appetizers. Larger plates look to land and sea, with the likes of miso-glazed salmon and grass-fed local beef. Anything uneaten and leftovers gets tipped into the compost, just one component of the kitchen’s efforts to tackle waste.

Hotel Marcel’s Monday through Friday Happy Hour is an excuse to sample the “Haus” cocktails. “The Pirelli’s” scotch base with ginger, honey, and activated charcoal holds Orientation Week bugs at bay while the rum infused “Sippin On Solar” keeps things green. Perfect for designated drivers, Zero Proof libations are crafted from Seedlip liqueurs.

Hotel Marcel supports all-electric travel in Connecticut

Photo courtesy Hotel Marcel

Your climate-first getaway starts way before check in. Located in the Historic Long Wharf District minutes from the Yale campus, Hotel Marcel is less than a mile from Union Station’s Amtrak platform where you’ll rendezvous with the property’s emission-free Ram ProMaster shuttle.

Road tripping New England? Make your rental a Tesla. Located at the intersection of Interstates 91 and 95, those Tesla-exclusive Level 3 chargers have vehicles road-ready in 60 minutes flat. There’s no finer legacy for a former tire factory than New Haven’s greenest boutique hotel.

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