With many recent natural disasters suspected to link to global warming, concern for the environment grows even amongst the most frequent travellers who fly around the world at least once a month on fuel-thirsty aircraft. And, while they may try to do their part by engaging in environmentally friendly practises at home, they look to the travel industry players to help them reduce their carbon footprints when on the road. Below are five hotels that go one step further than the usual initiatives to save the Earth:
The Accor hotel group has adopted a tree-planting programme since 2008 across several properties, with an aim to plant 3 million trees by the end of 2012. Seven tree planting programmes run simultaneously across the world from Indonesia to Brazil.
Green credentials: In partnership with NG Nordest, the programme in Brazil is by far the most successful amongst the seven, which is funded by savings at Accor hotels in Latin America. For example, every time a towel is reused by a guest, the hotel dedicates 50 per cent of the saved laundry cost to the project. Another action is to reforest one of the sources of the Sao Francisco River and since the initiative started two years ago, 110,652 trees have been planted in the area.
INTERCONTINENTAL BORA BORA RESORT AND THALASSO SPA, BORA BORA
Located on a remote coral island amidst the pristine waters of the French Polynesia, this hotel bears the burden of maintaining its beautiful untouched surroundings.
Green credentials: This resort is the first to adopt the Seawater Air Conditioning system (SWAC), avoiding the commonly used air conditioners that emit harmful chemicals into the environment. The SWAC draws water from the ocean, which runs through a heat exchange system and is then redistributed back into the ocean.
ISLAND SHANGRI-LA, HONG KONG
Situated within the heart of Hong Kong’s CBD, this hotel is in a city where air pollution is a major concern.
Green credentials: The hotel has deployed the Nissan Leaf electric, zero-emissions car, used to shuttle guests from the hotel to popular spots in the vicinity, such as the Airport Express Station in Central. The car operates on a first come, first serve basis in two shifts, the first between 0700 and 1000, and the second between 1600 and 1900.
JW MARRIOTT, PHUKET
The large and popular JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Phuket, with three swimming pools, a cooking school and 11 F&B outlets, happens to be located on a nesting spot for large Leatherback sea turtles.
Green credentials: The hotel has teamed up with the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation to organise beach clean ups twice a year, in April and November, as well as shutting off water sports options, even to guests, during the breeding season between November and February in order to help conserve the depleting species.
ST REGIS, LHASA
The St Regis, Lhasa, which opened just last year, is one of the first international luxury hotel brands to set up on the “roof of the world.” The hotel combines its signature offerings, such as the St Regis Butler service, with local culture, incorporating Tibetan art and authentic cuisine in order to maintain its environment and community.
Green credentials: The hotel uses solar panels to generate electricity to heat shower and swimming pool water.
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