Ok, ok, we know our usual MO is fun and romance and larking about in suites, but at the heart of all our hotel lovers frivolity lies a deadly serious message: travel is a force for good. And on countless occasions over this past 18 months, our conversations turned to the post-Covid travel landscape and what we can all do to make it better.
It was the main topic of conversation, in fact, when our CEO, Tamara, was invited to speak on Citizen Femme’s ‘Passport to…’ podcast earlier this year with Emma Harding, CEO of Scott Ideas. If consumers and businesses were too devastated, too exhausted from the pandemic, they wondered, and ‘revenge’ travel took hold, would any previous good intentions become collateral damage?
The more it was discussed, though, the more it felt like much of the onus was being placed at the feet of consumers – to ‘make the right choices’ and to rethink their behaviours – when really, to enact real change and lead by example, the industry must act as a united front. Inspired by this discussion, the Big Conversations currently happening at COP26, and the world tentatively re-opening, we wanted to revisit something Emma first spoke of last summer: A Promise To A New World. The premise is the same: what promises can we make to ensure we continue to heal, repair and respect this planet? Here are some heartfelt pledges from a selection of visionary hotels around the globe…
Luciano Lusardi, general manager, Borgo Pignano
Borgo Pignano share a common vision with a collection of sustainable leaders in hospitality: to transform travel into a catalyst for protecting biodiversity, celebrating cultural heritage, and improving the social and economic well-being of local communities through business success.
Borgo Pignano’s commitment to sustainable tourism is rooted in its water and energy conservation combined with its organic farming principles across the estate and through every aspect of its operations. Specific elements of ‘sustainability in action’ include its organic vegetable garden where fresh produce is picked are served daily in the hotel’s two restaurants. Borgo Pignano has a full time herbalist and dedicated bee keeper to support the biodiversity of the estate, and supplement guest’s daily nutritious and organic consumption on property. Most recently, Borgo Pignano has begun producing its own wine and olive oil from its organic vineyards and olive groves to enhance its self-sufficiency goals, whilst minimizing its environmental impact by sourcing additional supplies locally.
Robin Hutson, founder, the Pig hotels
As Founder and Chairman of The Pig hotels, we have over the past 10 years worked hard to reduce food miles to the absolute minimum by developing our kitchen gardens, by growing fruit and vegetables ,by rearing pigs, deer and sheep and by producing honey, eggs and mushrooms….all of which is consumed without leaving our land.
On behalf of our team I pledge to redouble our efforts to produce even more of our own food. Of the food and drink that we are unable to produce, we will do everything humanly possible to source from within 25 miles and eradicate as many food related air miles as possible.
Eric Darde, CEO of Beaumier Hotels (Les Roches Rouges)
I promise to ensure economic performance is sustainable by ensuring our practices are ethical; engaging with our local communities and contributing to the economic development of our regions. We commit to raising the bar on social performance, acting for health, safety, well-being and diversity at work. We desire to create lifelong memories, embrace the real wealth of making our guests, teams and collective by connecting them with nature and people, and reconnecting everyone with the essentials of life.
Isabella MacDonald, owner, Kinloch Lodge
Our pledge is our commitment to creating an ability to exist constantly. It goes beyond our environment and also includes the people and communities within it. Sustaining our spectacular, yet fragile, ecosystem is at the heart of everything we do: be it our kitchen garden and polytunnels where we grow many of the herbs and vegetables you’ll find on your plate, our extensive list of biodynamic and organic beverage options, or our natural spring that provides fresh filtered water to all of our guests.
Amrit Rajaratnam, owner, Thotalagala
We pledge, as a group of niche, boutique properties, to keep sustainability at the forefront of all that we do, to buy from our local farmers and grow our own produce in order to reduce our carbon footprint and that of our guests, and to be mindful of our surroundings and the preservation of our culture, heritage and legacy.
Antonio Sersale, owner, La Sirenuse
I pledge to focus ever more closely on what is close at hand. If there’s one thing lockdown taught us here in Positano and on the Amalfi Coast, it’s that there’s no need to search the world for great food, great artisans, and great staff. They’re all right here in our backyard. We recently launched a burger menu at Franco’s, Le Sirenuse’s streetside bar, using only local ingredients – even the beef comes from Agerola, in the mountains above the coast. Sourcing locally reduces waste, packaging and carbon emissions. It allows small towns like ours to thrive, it fosters creativity and shows young people that you can reach for excellence without leaving the home you love.
Paul Robinson, chief operating officer, Bawah Reserve
We pledge to continue to do everything we can to conserve the spectacular natural surroundings of the islands that make up Bawah Reserve and the Anambas archipelago. We commit to our reliance on renewable energy by installing a solar farm to increase our use of solar power thereby reducing our use of fossil fuels. We will champion marine and reef conservation and turtle hatchling protection as a WWF Signing Blue partner. We will educate and inspire employees, guests and the Anambas community on the importance of sustainable initiatives and living with an earth-first philosophy.
Marie-Louise Scio, founder and creative director, Il Pellicano Hotels
As part of our new Sustainability Programme, Il Dolce Far Bene, we pledge to ‘doing good for the planet and doing good for the people’. I believe we have a duty to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of the natural systems that surround us. We commit to reducing our impact on the environment as follows: by decreasing our energy consumption and emissions generated wherever possible, and to responsibly manage our water use and continuously work to minimise waste production. I also believe that our employees are the soul of our company and our guests are our driving force. We commit to nurturing our employees by offering opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Arnaud Zannier, founder and CEO, Zannier Hotels
As CEO of an international hospitality group, I see ourselves as responsible for everything and everyone we impact. Now more than ever, we must continue to reinvent luxury hospitality. At Zannier Hotels, we make the pledge of putting conservation, heritage preservation and cultural respect at the center of our offer. Thus, since its creation, the group has made sustainable development one of its strategic priorities. In October 2020, Zannier Hotels became a member of ‘Green Globe’, with the aim of independently assessing and improving our hotels’ environmental and social impact, according to international standards.
Sonu Shivdasani, founder, Soneva Group
Sustainability has always been integral to our philosophy at Soneva, ever since we launched Soneva Fushi in 1995. And while we have had some wonderful achievements along the way – becoming fully carbon neutral across our resorts in 2008, establishing the Soneva Foundation in 2010 to support global sustainability projects, measuring our impacts with the hospitality industry’s first Total Impact Assessment in 2014, and launching the Soneva Namoona initiative with our local Maldives islands in 2019 – we must always strive to achieve more. That is why I pledge to never stop challenging myself and others to do even better. To never stop innovating for positive change. To never stop holding our company and our industry accountable. And to never stop respecting and guarding the precious natural environments where we are so lucky to have our resorts.
José António, founder, São Lourenço do Barrocal
We at São Lourenço do Barrocal are dedicated to authenticity, and in leveraging self-sustainability. We promote good quality of life that rests upon a virtuous cycle that embraces nature, agriculture, hospitality, small businesses and land ownership. Our 200-year old heritage as a family-owned estate and our commitment to the local culture and to the building of a permanent local community that values all the genuineness of the Alentejo, fosters a type of tourism concerned in respecting and experiencing all that the area has to offer. From local products, to food, history, landscapes and stories, we believe this is the right way to contribute to the development of the local economy, our own business and a sensibility towards the land and the region. We’re making sustainability tangible following these principles in our daily actions, while leaving a legacy and a sense of belonging to a very special place for future generations.
Alex Eagle, founder and creative director, Oakley Court
As a designer I respect things that are made to last and I want the world to have more of them. I want to help those that exist to last even longer, which is why many of my design projects are inspired by finely crafted items from the past. I pledge to honour this, continuing to adapt these pieces for new form and purpose by respecting their original craftsmanship and materials while at the same time applying the skills of today’s craftsmen and specialists to give them new life for a new age. To create the new we do not have to reject what has gone before – Eagle & Hodges’ latest hospitality project, Oakley Court, exemplifies my commitment to this. We should learn from it, treat it with respect, and give it a new lease of life.
Roland Fasel, chief operating officer, Aman
Aman’s philosophy, since its conception, has been focused on establishing a symbiotic relationship with the host community and the environment of each destination. Sustainability at Aman is based on 4 key pillars of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) criteria – local heritage, local culture, environmental protection & social responsibility. Aman is focused on the future and is using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap to establish its strategy and encourage a universal approach to sustainability. In 2021 we are focusing on four SDGs of Quality Education, Climate Action, Life below water, and Life on Land. They epitomize our strategy at all of our locations. Many of our properties have already eliminated single use plastic, supported local farmers and vendors and sponsored education for instance, yet we are now making sure that we can say we have a common denominator in terms of sustainability throughout the company.
Rita Soares, CEO and founder, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova
Our vision for the future is related to a new way of traveling with responsibility; spending time with family and friends, learning about the local culture, habits and traditions. We put a lot of importance on time, space, nature and respecting the tradition and the culture of Alentejo. Our mission is to educate through wine, through gastronomy, and through our many other experiences. It inspires a philosophy of preservation and creates the energy to leave a legacy for future generations . We hope sharing this way of living can be an example of preservation as a tool for a better world.
Caryn Hibbert, founder, Thyme
My pledge is to nurture a love of nature and wild spaces in everything we do. Inspired by the land and the seasons we strive to reconnect our guests to nature, telling stories of flora and fauna that through their beauty and wonder, instil a will to protect, restore balance and allow nature to thrive. We hope to spark conversations which explore evidence based solutions and action for coexistence and embed an understanding that in nurturing nature, we nurture ourselves.
Lynn Easton and Dean Porter Andrews, owners, Zero George Charleston
We pledge to expand our commitment to sustainable travel and dining by researching the latest eco-friendly practices and environmentally responsible initiatives. In the last year we have upgraded our kitchen equipment and HVAC systems to the latest generation of energy saving technology and we are now partnering with entrepreneurial local farmers who use sustainable agricultural practices, supporting them with seasonal buying commitments. This in turn has allowed them to expand their herds and plantings.
The entire Heckfield Place team
Heckfield Place is a land sculpted by many hands, minds and ideas over hundreds of years. As a forward-looking endeavour, we maintain a humble regard to our legacy while looking forward to a new 250-year plan. Today we act as custodians of this remarkable estate. We are intrinsically connected to the land and must provide for it so it can continue to provide for us.
As such, we pledge to continue our decade-long journey to regenerate our soil through biodynamic practices to encourage life in its many forms throughout our estate. We are committed to curiosity and problem solving, to seeking out sustainable methods wherever possible and to educating ourselves and others – to impart wisdom and inspire change. Our Regenerative document marks all of our efforts to date, and we are committed to growing it as the seasons pass.
Simon Rogan, chef and owner of L’Enclume, Rogan & Co, Henrock, and Aulis
As a team, we pledge to continue evolving and nurturing Our Farm to ensure we remain as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible, while also keeping food waste and transport emissions to a minimum. Thinking of the bigger picture, as a company we are doing the best we can to team up with suppliers who also make it a priority to use low-energy, compostable alternatives – suppliers who work with, not against, our planet. Plastic use is something we will be focusing on to a greater extent in the months and years ahead, in both our restaurants and accommodation.
Jennica Shamoon Arazi, owner, Marbella Club
As a family run hotel, our very personal and emotional bond to the Marbella Club goes hand-in-hand with a mission to not only minimise our impact on our society and environment, but to also leave it slightly better than we found it. Based on a profound respect for our grandparents’ way of life, our natural resources and the people who preserve them, we at the Marbella Club pledge and actively work in the following areas: follow sustainable practices to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment and to ensure energy efficiency; support the efforts of local initiatives, producers and artisans to safeguard ancient traditions and practices; underscore our commitment to the wellbeing of our employees by securing equality of conditions and opportunities; and finally, motivate our employees into being catalysts of change.
Daniel Koetser, owner, Le Grand Bellevue
As a hotelier devoted to the comfort and wellbeing of our guests, we are equally focussed on our future guests’ interests and our beautiful glacial surroundings. I pledge to ensure that a mindset of conscious sustainability for each decision and process within our establishment is core and demonstrated in all of our values, from sourcing practices, energy usage, waste management, staff attitudes and guest behaviour. Continuing on our strong foundation of green-energy such as being powered from 100% Swiss Hydro Power, we shall pursue all routes to ensuring Le Grand Bellevue and all its patrons live not only carbon neutral, but as active participants in the rejuvenation of our planet.
Raj Reedoy, general manager, Salt of Palmar
As the tourism landscape re-emerges in the wake of the pandemic, it is clear that people’s mindsets have shifted as they reassess the ways they will travel in the future. Salt of Palmar recognizes that travellers are now seeking more meaningful experiences, preferring to immerse themselves in the destinations they visit with the intention of forming greater connections with local communities and environments. Throughout the past 18 months, my priority has remained focused on our team members as well as on the communities which surround us, ensuring our ongoing commitment to all things local and sustainable and enabling us now to continue to introduce our guests not only to places but to people – providing a platform to unearth the beating heart of the destination we call home.
It is no secret that one of the greatest threats to coral reefs around the world is climate change as a result of rising sea temperatures. To ensure the reef surrounding Salt of Palmar continues to thrive, this year we are proud to have launched the Salt of Palmar Coral Restoration Project, led by the ecomode society team (NGOs) and with a central aim of increasing the number of heat resilient corals thriving on our Palmar house reef. Guests are encouraged to take part in all stages of the restoration process. Working with our team they can learn how to identify heat resilient corals, plant coral fragments into one of our coral nurseries, and learn how to transplant corals back on to the Palmar and Pointe aux Feuilles house reef.
Another core focus of the team is to continue to recognise the impact and connection between people, plate and planet. Understanding that our food choices have a major impact on the health of our environment and our guests, Salt is committed to good, clean and fair food, adhering to Slow Food Travel and providing a platform for increased visibility to small-scale farmers in the region, all with the intention of preserving local food culture and defending biodiversity.
Olive and Hugo Guest, Founders, Glebe House
We pledge to promote environmentally conscious practices in all areas of our business – whether that’s reducing our waste and eliminating single use plastics, educating our guests on slow food practices through our workshops, working with and championing local and ethical suppliers, or protecting and nurturing the biodiversity and land in our smallholding.
Malik Fernando, managing director, Resplendent Ceylon (Ceylon Tea Trails, Cape Weligama and Wild Coast Tented Lodge)
The past year has been a time of reflection for all of us at Resplendent Ceylon. Never has it been more crucial to re-evaluate our place on this planet and the impacts of our businesses. As Managing Director, I pledge to prioritise climate action in our strategy to rebuild post-pandemic and achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030. We intend on achieving this through nature-based solutions that place traditional ecosystem knowledge at the forefront, while investing in restoration that will regenerate and revive our ecosystems. Through innovative renewable energy sources that inset carbon across our value chain, I also pledge to increase our resilience to climate change while working to mitigate its impacts.