As we celebrate Earth Month this April, it's vital to recognize and highlight leaders in the hospitality industry who prioritize sustainability, community involvement, and cultural leadership. Brian Edson, the co-founder of The Good House Hotel & Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California, is one such leader.
With a background in real estate investment and a range of experience in finance, marketing and entertainment, Edson's creative leadership has made The Good House Hotel a prominent destination in Southern California. His experience with natural hot spring soaks inspired him to build a place of peace and relaxation for others. With continued efforts to support diverse entrepreneurship and activate inclusive community programming, The Good House is a true gem in the area.
EBONY: How did you come up with the idea for The Good House?
Brian Edson: The Good House began as a dream to create a retreat for artists, creators and musicians in the desert. Owning and operating a hotel was not part of the plan. As they said, you make plans and God laughs. My friend and now partner David Shaker convinced me to take a trip out to Desert Hot Springs to experience the natural mineral springs at a neighboring hotel. At the time, I was struggling with insomnia, and after one soak in the mineral waters, I had the best sleep of my life. I knew this place was something special.
Why is sustainability important to you? How does this reflect in your business?
Sustainability and longevity are key concepts of a business set to flourish. We plan to be here for the long term, and implementing sustainable practices as part of our standard operating procedures was very important for us. We are simply stewards of this place while we are here, so treading lightly is a goal of ours while having maximum impact on the experience.
Being in Desert Hot Springs, what is most special is the water. We have some of the best hot spring mineral water in the world. With this in mind, we take a great responsibility to respect and take care of the water. Its healing benefits inform everything we do on the property and set the tone for healing, wellness, and relaxation for those who visit us.
Another prime example is that we have rosemary, mint, and citrus fruits that naturally grow on the property. We use these herbs and fruits throughout our juices and dishes. Some of our wellness practitioners even use rosemary bundles for smudge sticks!
The head of F&B, Chef Van Stevens, also sources most of our produce from local farmers, supporting our community and reducing pollution from delivery trucks and services. We are also expanding our green footprint by growing even more produce on-site. We have done a lot of research on what foods thrive in the desert, so we are excited to expand this. To me, sustainability is all connected. By supporting local businesses, there is a ripple effect that takes place from enriching your community to cutting down on air pollution, with more factors in between.
How can a business support diverse entrepreneurship and foster community relationships to enhance the overall guest experience?
Something that is always top of mind for us is to support diverse entrepreneurship. As the only Black-owned hotel in the greater Palm Springs area, we want to empower others in the industry to thrive by offering the property for the exploration of various programming and experiences. Our purpose here is to support each other. The more we give, the more we will get back. This has helped us foster great relationships in our community to provide a better experience overall for our guests.
In what ways can we, too, become Power Players as far as being more sustainable, and eco-friendly?
Being conscious of single-use products would be step one, in addition to donating used products to those in need. We need to make a point in our household not to simply throw old things away that can be used more. We donate a majority of our clothes, electronics, and other items to various donation centers so that their useful life can continue with a new owner, versus filling up a landfill.
As a business owner, I think the most important thing is that you should always invest in your people and invest in your community. When I invest in a property, I do so with the surrounding community in mind. To me, ecotourism means hiring locally and giving people a chance to grow with your business. By empowering community people, you are ensuring that any tourism that comes into your city directly supports those who live here. We also work with local practitioners to support their businesses and clientele. Additionally, we aim to offer menu items that are healthy, using the freshest produce to increase access to health and wellness not just to the visitors but to our locals as well.
Tell us your all-time favorite sustainable product or gadget.
My Zero Water Filter paired with a Hydro Flask.The combination of the two has me using far less plastic over the past few years, and I simply cannot go back.