With the things happening around the world today, it’s not surprising that sustainable practices are inching into the forefront of many people’s (and countries’!) priorities.
In one of your latest articles, we talked about sustainable restaurant design trends that continue to grow. For this round, we’re going into hotel trends.
Coupled with this growing consciousness, the world has slowly started to open up this year and many are back to their regular programming of travel – for work and leisure. Due to the drastic changes of the past couple years, people are now demanding this sustainable change in hotels. According to a recent survey from Booking.com, 83% of respondents mentioned that, after the pandemic, they realized a growing desire to travel more sustainably. Also, half of them admitted that COVID-19 made them more aware of their impact on Mother nature and local communities.
Today, hotel experiences are no longer boxed in the antiquated idea focused solely on the rooms. Instead, this revolves around the overall experience of stay – soaking everything in beyond the room and lobby, seeing much more beyond the requisite amenities.
Therefore, as hotel operations gradually crawl back to normalcy, many have been implementing changes into their designs and processes that cater to sustainability for the conscious traveler.
Photo source: Unsplash | Slow Ibiza
‘Sustainability is the baseline from where any aspects of creation must start,’ says Bernadette Blanc, architect and creative director in an interview with ArchDaily. `We have to look into all the basic aspects, be specifically diligent about the vendors we work with and the pieces, products, and materials they can provide, the ability to work with local manufacturers and artisans and support the skill and craft whilst also keeping sourcing local. This is not only fundamental to the final product quality but also the overall story of sustainability.’
If you’re also starting to get on this sustainability journey, these are some of the hotel designs and practices you can look out for.
Sustainable hotels nurture nature
Nature brings an abundance of opportunities for a hotel to be sustainable. For this point, we’re not talking about the frequently mentioned methods of reducing energy consumption and waste. Although still incredibly important, that’s not enough anymore. Instead, we’re telling you: don’t stop there. Truly conscious hoteliers look at the environment and also contribute a positive regenerative impact.
Some ways in which this can be done are through organic farming, vertical and biodynamic gardens, reforesting, coral propagation, bird feeding or wildlife conservation, etc. The last few may be more challenging to reach for hotels in the city, but vertical gardens and other biophilic approaches can still be done. Through the natural formations and designs of nature, not only will the hotel look beautiful but all these new additions will contribute to a unique multi-sensory experience for the guests.
Photo source: Unsplash | Markus Spiske
Preserve and protect cultural heritage
As you start traveling again, your curious mind starts to soak in the interesting new things that surround you. We are all aware that traveling expands horizons, helps you realize new ideas and gives you a chance to step out of your comfort zone and discover something new. Therefore, as the conscious traveler becomes more demanding in her desires to see the beauty of the world and taste other cultures, showing and experiencing local heritage in her stay is a must-have.
Sustainable hoteliers become custodians of local traditions that help preserve, protect and promote these heritage practices for generations more to come. As you explore more cities, you’ll notice these grounded touches in luxury and local hotels that dot a city – abandoned villages brought back to life, dilapidated structures transformed into beautiful architecture that mimic a local way of life. Varying elements of this local culture can weave throughout a hotel, from its architecture and design, small decorations and cuisine and even on staff uniforms and interior perfume.
Photo source: The Brando | Luxury Resort in French Polynesia’s private island of Tetiaroa
Prioritize local community
Following from the previous point, sustainable hotels can do well in preserving local heritage and culture by supporting its own people. Hiring locally means the hotel is part of the land, and not only there to attract tourists or earn a profit at the expense of the people who live there. Local ownership also creates a sense of value for the people; who in turn, can take better care of the place because it is a reflection of them and their culture.
Apart from opening opportunities to work within the property, conscious hoteliers also tap on the potential of the overall local community. From produce and food, local furniture and design to art and experiences. As these are driven by the people who know the heritage best, guests will have an authentic experience of the place and better appreciate what it can offer. And, these sustainable hotels are appreciated too, as they respect local resources and develop the area.
Photo source: Luxury Link | El Monte Sagrado Hotel and Spa, Taos
New luxury in guest experience
If you noticed, we’ve been hinting at this very important point since we started talking about hotels that nurture nature. Guest experience wraps everything up nicely for the conscious travelers who value the sustainability trends in hotels today. As the view of hotels and travel continue to expand beyond the room and lobby, so too does the meaning of luxury. While luxury travel, at its core, means status and often spills over to material possessions, this idea is shifting towards a more ethical, cultured and tasteful mind above the ‘masses’.
It’s no longer about things; it’s about a combination of all the other senses. What you see, feel, touch, smell and taste – a holistic approach. When you consciously see the growing concerns surrounding the environment, it becomes challenging to overlook. This realization and knowledge can take precedence and because we are aware that sustainability is not cheap, eco-friendly guest experiences then take on a level of sophistication and a status of ‘new luxury’. It’s probably apt to say that luxury hotels no longer need to focus only on the excessive, big, shiny and grandiose, but should learn to pay attention on the small and meaningful too.
Photo source: Conde Nast Traveler | Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape, in Bali
Because eco-friendly hotels take notice of their environment, they come up with sustainable activities circling one notion – preserving it while showing off its beauty and potential. Conscious travelers are willing to get their hands dirty, this gives more avenue for hoteliers to be creative in ideas for activities. Education tours on organic farming, appreciation of vertical gardens, fruit picking and harvesting, marine wildlife preservation experience, are some ways to show off your grounds while educating guests of the hotel’s sustainability mission.
As you experience the great travel comeback, take note of the trends above while selecting your next hotel and travel journey. There’s a lot a hotel stay can do for your overall experience.