Editorial: Fairmont's SMI - Business of the Year

There is an undercurrent of unease flowing through the Sonoma Valley about the impact large hotels may have on the remarkable quality of life in our community.

Some Sonomans are defining a “large” hotel as anything with more than 25 rooms, never mind that the hotel industry generally rates “large” hotels as having 300 rooms or more. We’ll happily apply that term to the largest hotel in the Sonoma Valley, even though the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa maxes out at 226 rooms. Compared to any other lodging in the Valley, it’s certainly large.

But we are hard-pressed to find anywhere in its governance, in its relationship with the community that surrounds it or in its corporate philosophy, a negative consequence emerging from its size.

To the contrary, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn (let’s just call it SMI) is the gold standard for community commitment and sustainable practices. Reflecting values long established by its corporate policies, and practiced at every Fairmont facility, SMI lives its values like few corporate entities anywhere.

Indeed, at a Thursday awards breakfast, when SMI was honored as the annual Business of the Year by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the executive director of the Sonoma Ecology Center, Richard Dale, lauded Fairmont as “probably the top corporation in the world for sustainability.”

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