Friday, 31 August 2012

a green travel fling : the maldives : part two

After the heavy info from part one of my Maldives experience, here is a good news story for you.

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Kandooma. This is definitely the nicest Holiday Inn I've ever seen, and they've been voted the number one Holiday Inn resort in Southeast Asia - no doubt because of the beautiful location and second-to-none customer service.  While I was there I arranged a tour of the sustainability features of the property, which is certainly not a usual request at this resort, and they graciously arranged one for me.

Before I get into all the details, full disclosure: I did not select this hotel based on any environmental knowledge. My decision was purely based on budget and finding a not-so-romantic option since I was traveling solo. There are a few eco-resorts in Maldives, like the exquisite Soneva Fushi, but they were over my budget. I can take no credit for any eco-research, and really just got lucky (but isn't that wonderful! Changes are happening!).

Despite taking a non-eco approach to hotel selection, when I got to my lovely room I saw these glass bottles of water with a sticker that read:
"This bottle contains purified water and is safe to drink. Reusing sterilised glass bottles saves us from disposing up to 150,000 plastic bottles a year."
 


I also saw that the shampoo and lotions were in refillable ceramic bottles, and it was then that I made a point of asking about any other eco-actions of the hotel. I was lucky enough to be taken on a guided behind-the-scenes tour of all the plant-systems on the island by the friendly and charming Bandula. Here are some of the highlights:
  • All water is generated onsite through rainwater collection tanks and a desalination plant 
  • Sewage is treated onsite with the treated water used for landscaping
  • Impressive sorting and recycling system
  • Compost
  • Coral regeneration project, trying to improve what was damaged in the 2004 tsunami
  • All fish served on site is locally caught 
  • Grow some vegetables and herbs for use in the restaurant
  • Grow some decorative plants to keep the gardens beautiful
  • Motion sensors for lights in the office 
  • Switching lights to LED and CFL throughout the resort, including gardens
  • Plans in the next budget for solar panels and solar hot water heaters
  • Cleaning supplies will be made green soon.

Herb garden
Compost! The staff were constantly raking up leaves so the beach
stayed that perfect white sand - nice to see they are composted.
Rainwater collection tanks - they were completely full on my visit.
Desalination plant.
Water purifying and testing lab.
Glass post-crusher - it is sold in Male to be recycled.
More recycling! Think of how many more plastic
bottles would have been in there if they did not
purify drinking water for guests . . .
Saving the world from juice bottles! Each room
has a juicer and oranges are replenished daily.

Just wanted to add another beauty shot! Lovely
reception/bar area with gorgeous driftwood
artworks on the wall.

And another beauty shot - perfect spot for a sunset.
This is a great example of a business that is just getting on with sustainability changes because they know the environmental and financial value of doing so.  So while Holiday Inn Kandooma is not a certified 'eco-resort', I was still impressed with the future plans for the hotel and, most importantly, that staff are genuinely interested in making sustainable changes.  They even asked me for my thoughts and suggestions, which will be passed onto their Green Team, and asked for some resources to locate good green 'home and garden' products.

If you know of any great sustainability products that can benefit the Holiday Inn Kandooma, please get in touch with me and I'll pass along your details. They are aware that Australia makes a number of excellent products (particularly in the solar industry), so I hope to hear from some of you!

If even half of the other resorts in the Maldives are as interested in sustainability as Kandooma, we have a lot to feel good about, and I do actually feel that I was living somewhat sustainably and totally in style on my holiday.

Thanks again to all the team at Kandooma for making this an amazing experience!
xxLisa

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