|The Kristiania Lech // (c) 2011 The Kristiania Lech|
Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is encouraging its hotels to adopt responsible environmental, economic and social practices with its “Caring Luxury” program.
SLH, a collection of small, independent luxury hotels, has launched this initiative at a time when travelers are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact tourism has on the community and environment. Caring Luxury initiatives allow SLH properties to maximize the benefits of tourism, such as creating jobs, enhancing awareness of local culture and assisting in conservation and protection of local habitats.
SLH raised more than $540,000 for charity through the support of more than 200 events. It supports charitable organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Tuesday’s Children, Room to Read, Sparks, The Prince’s Trust and Chase.
Around the world, SLH properties are adopting programs to promote responsible and sustainable travel. The following examples demonstrate the types of "Caring Luxury" initiatives being taken at its member properties.
Villa Mangiacane, Italy
Villa Mangiacane in Florence embraces a wide variety of charitable projects, from art preservation in Florence to support for Shona sculpture by contemporary artists in Zimbabwe. The hotel also supports handicapped and disadvantaged children in Harare, Zimbabwe as well as other charitable projects in Africa.
Kristiania Lech, Austria
The Kristiania Lech is Austria’s first carbon neutral hotel. Nestled in the Arlberg area of the Austrian Alps, this property has implemented a climate protection strategy in collaboration with ClimatePartner. Climate Check-In at this property evaluates every guest’s carbon emissions, including travel to the hotel, and then gives guests the option of offsetting their emissions via an investment in a climate protection project.
Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica
Hotel Punta Islita’s Responsible Tourism program emphasizes the four pillars of the We Care Punta Islita Model: Community, Art, Responsibility and Environment. Deep in a threatened tract of tropical dry forest, the hotel’s regent biologist is hard at work on conservation strategies to protect the endangered area. For example, the hotel recently collaborated with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment to protect a threatened sea turtle nesting area from poachers.
The Talbott Hotel, Chicago
One of the first Green Seal Certified hotels in the U.S., the Talbot purchases wind energy credits to offset 100 percent of the property’s carbon footprint. Guests can opt in to the Green initiative simply by pressing the “eco-mode” button on thermostats in their rooms. This button alerts the staff to change the bed and bath linens only every other day and allows the room temperature to vary within eight degrees while the guests are not in the room. The Talbott then purchases a one-month carbon offset that erases each guest’s electrical carbon footprint at home.
Ka’ana Boutique Resort & Spa, Belize
The Ka’ana’s “Trade Trees for Travel” program allows guests to offset their carbon footprint with a complimentary ginger lily to plant upon departure. Guests can also contribute a larger plant for a fee that goes to the Liberty Foundation, an orphanage in Belize City. The hotel is also launching a program to give children under 12 staying at the hotel free meals. For every meal consumed, they will provide a meal for a local child at the Marla’s House of Hope orphanage in Belmopan, Belize.
Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands
The Pacific Resort Aitutaki uses alternative fuels and waste management to create a sustainable property. The hotel recycles used cooking oil into biodiesel for their diesel vehicles and outdoor torches. It is also experimenting with using biodiesel in weed whackers and outboard motors. As part of their waste treatment program, gray water from the hotel’s treatment plant is recycled into their tropical garden.
Aleenta Resort & Spa, Thailand
The Aleenta is devoting its efforts toward protecting Thailand’s four species of endangered marine turtles. The hotel has created the Marine Turtle Foundation to support turtle repopulation, rehabilitation and education. The hotel matches guest donations of THB40 per night to the Turtle Sanctuary at Khao Lumpee-Haad Thaymuang National Park. A full time representative from Aleenta works alongside the staff of the Marine Turtle Foundation to tend over 200 turtle hatchlings and rehabilitate injured turtles.