Travelers in the dark this weekend - for a good cause

If you're planning a nice meal in your hotel restaurant on the evening of March 27, don't be surprised if the ambience gets a little more romantic than you expected.

Hotels all over the world will be flipping the light switch in aid of Earth Hour, a global energy-saving effort described by WWF as a "24-hour wave of hope and action."

Many properties will dim or extinguish exterior lights, dim interior lobby and corridor lights and leave notifications for guests to boost awareness. Some, though, have even more planned.

Hilton, which owns 3,500 hotels around the globe, will host candlelit dinners in some locations, the firm said earlier this week. Guests at Hilton's Hawaiian Village resort have all been invited to switch off their televisions and head to the property's lagoon for a special presentation of Hawaii's ghost stories, myths and legends told by famous Honolulu storyteller Lopaka Kapanui.

Five hundred Marriott hotels will participate in the switch-off too, kicking off a month-long environmental awareness month that will see Marriott hotel staff participate in local clean-up programs. In London and Paris, staff will assist in the clean-up of the Thames and the Seine, whilst employees in Hong Kong, China and South Korea employees will join tree-planting programs.

All 60 of Fairmont's hotels and resorts will join Earth hour, switching off principal lighting. Guests of Kenya's Fairmont Mara Safari Club have been invited to sit under the stars in a lantern-lit restaurant, and listen to the resident naturalist talk about conservation and Maasai-style environmentalism. In contrast, the Fairmont Dallas will host an Earth Hour Happy Hour, serving local organic appetizers and an "Ecotini" cocktail.

The InterContinental Singapore will also host a special happy hour for the event, whilst the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre is to organize an Earth Hour poolside cocktail party for all in-house guests. Last year, the group's hotels in Australasia saved an estimated 22,100 kWh of electricity during Earth Hour - enough to make 800,000 cups of coffee.

Guests in transit during Earth Hour 2010 might notice the difference as well. Abu Dhabi International Airport, for example, intends to extinguish the lights on its second runway altogether, routing traffic to its primary runway. The iconic pylons that mark the entrance to Los Angeles's LAX International will also be changed to green and then switched off altogether between 8:30 to 9:30 PM.

For more information on Earth Hour, visit http://www.earthhour.org

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