Sustainable Spa-ing: Spas, Hotels, & Products That Are Truly Eco-Friendly
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” This principle is the basis of a major eco-friendly buzzword, sustainability. Being sustainable and working towards sustainability ensures the next generations will still be able to enjoy the world as it exists naturally, that “we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”
In recent years spas, hotels, and product lines alike have been working to create eco-friendly products and spaces and we just couldn’t wait for Earth Day to give the proper kudos these companies and properties deserve! Here’s a list of spas and hotels we love that are taking sustainability to heart plus, a seriously (SERIOUSLY) sustainable brand’s headquarters!
Not only is St. Maarten’s Dawn Beach Resort & Spa the only major Caribbean property to install and use Phase One solar panels, it’s also the first Westin in the world to use solar energy to offset the resort’s energy consumption! This investment, made in July, saves the equivalent of annual power to 111 homes or CO2 emissions from driving 1.2 million miles in an SUV. The resort is undergoing a full install of a system that will facilitate energy to its 317 guest rooms, restaurants, restrooms, laundry facilities, and spa. The goal here is to eventually use solar energy for most of the resort’s overall fuel consumption and to operate strictly on solar for six hours per day once the project is complete next year.
Malaysia’s French-themed village resort, The Chateau, one of the world’s first organic spa and wellness resorts, knows a thing or two about being eco-friendly. But aside from organic spa treatments and cuisine, the resort is dedicated to sustainability and uses the latest in environmental technology. The resort recycles leftover organic food into organic fertilizer, has a salt water pool, uses bio-degradable chemicals during laundry and washing as well as recycled paper, and has cultivated three organic farms to supply fresh and local product to the kitchen.
Thailand’s Chiva-Som adheres to its Policy on Environmental & Social Sustainability and maintains a Green Globe Certification which recognizes it’s commitment to operating at the world’s highest environmental standard. Examples of Chiva-Som’s sustainability initiatives include collecting waste water and rainfall to process through tertiary treatment and reuse to water the resort’s lush green landscape, using 300-square-meters of solar water heating panels to preheat the water in the resort, and sanitizing all swimming pools with a healthier choice of a sodium chloride system. Chiva-Som is also working with the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program to replace cooling systems with state-of-the-art technology, and low electricity consuming LED lighting is being installed throughout the property. Along with all of these technological initiatives Chiva-Som grows many of its own fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers and composts all organic waste to produce fertilizer plus, the resort seeks out locally produced perishable products and services to help reduce carbon emissions from long-distance transportation. Read even more in Chiva-Som’s Sustainability Report!
This global hospitality group was founded on the basis of driving sustainability. Last year, Banyan Tree Lijiang (pictured) became the first entity in China to receive EarthCheck Gold Certification and four other resorts (Banyan Tree Ungasan, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Angsana Ihuru, and Angsana Velavaru) began to seek Silver Certification. Not only are all hotels and resorts sustainably designed, the company’s Greening Communities effort during 2012 resulted in 73,520 trees being planted across 20 resorts – bringing the six-year total of trees planted to 176,000! According to its 2012 Sustainability Report, “More than 30% of the trees were planted in collaboration with communities in the Maldives, and another 30% were mangroves planted in Thailand.” Read even more about Banyan Tree’s efforts in its Sustainability Report.
One of our favorite destination spas practices green initiatives each and every day. In order to protect its natural and bio-diverse landscape, the Rancho La Puerta gardens are fertilized with composted organic matter from garden trimmings and solid waste from the waste treatment facility and the composting toilets. Design, construction, and maintenance at the destination spa take green principles into consideration and craftsman use local materials whenever possible. There are 3.5 acres of farms where the resort cultivates herbs, fruits, and vegetables and leftovers from the dining hall are even donated to a local orphanage to ensure there is little waste. Even maid services use wheelbarrows, and room deliveries are made by foot or bicycle to lower the carbon footprint. Read more about Rancho La Puerta’s Green Initiatives!
Auberge Resorts and Hotels believes in offering a Responsible Luxury. The company has an ongoing Planet Auberge initiative which focuses on its sustainability efforts – blending corporate culture, business strategies, resort construction, operation, and maintenance, and dedication to enhancing the wellbeing of guests, employees, and local communities! In 2011 Auberge du Soleil (pictured) reduced its overall water consumption by nearly 15 percent, its total energy consumption by 2.5 percent, and composted more than 36,000 gallons of food. Sister property Calistoga Ranch even went so far as to replace lawnmowers with Babydoll sheep and offers guests complimentary electric car-charging stations! From the moment of conceptualization, new properties are always designed with alternative energy systems in mind – from water conservation, using reclaimed materials in building, native plants for cooking, biodegradable spa products in treatments, plus dark sky principles – Auberge Resorts and Hotels is definitely operating with sustainability at the forefront.
No stranger to eco-friendly practices and products, Primavera & Amala Beauty products immediately popped into my mind and were actually the inspiration behind this post after visiting their state-of-the-art, 72,000- square-foot carbon-neutral headquarters in Oy-Mittelburg, Germany. In fact, while there I was honored to witness the founder of Amala Beauty, the amazingly humble Ute Leube, being notified that she had just won the Visionary Leadership Award as part of Green Spa Network 2013 Sustainability Awards – her response to her team? “This is an award for all of us.” The products produced there are made thanks to sustainable, organic, and fair trade farming – but the sustainability accolades don’t end there! In May 2011 the company’s new headquarters opened its doors and became Germany’s first administrative and production facility of its size to systematically use sustainable building practices while utilizing feng shui and energy flows to encourage productivity! A unique honey-combed designed green roof saved 20 percent on steel and concrete – which is a CO2 savings of 170 tons. The building heats and cools itself without the use of fossil fuels – rainwater tanks are used for the cooling system in the summer and to flush toilets and the building is heated using an infrared system combined with solar power, a heat recovery system, and an air heat exchanger! Stay tuned for even more about this incredibly enlightening and inspiring visit later this week!