Kew Green Hotels to manage Morocco’s first eco-village

MOROCCO: UK-based Kew Green Hotels has been appointed by Earth Holding, as the hotel management company for Azembay, the first eco-village in Morocco, North Africa. 

MOROCCO: UK-based Kew Green Hotels has been appointed by Earth Holding, as the hotel management company for Azembay, the first eco-village in Morocco, North Africa. 

Azembay, which is due to reopen next year, will feature 206 villas and apartments, waterfront restaurant, a spa, conference and events spaces and a kids club. 

Set in 1,000 hectares of forest and leading to a private beach, Azembay is known as the first eco village in Africa, and was built to international energy efficiency standards.  

Through its partnership between Earth Holdings, Kew Green Hotels, intends to build an international brand which provides a purely sustainable experience. 

Chris Dexter, CEO of Kew Green Hotels said, “We are delighted to welcome Azembay into our family of hotels as we continue to expand our international hotel portfolio. At Kew Green Hotels, we set ourselves apart by combining years of experience with strong commercial awareness to deliver operational excellence and industry-leading profit delivery for hotel owners and partners.” 

Azembay will be the pilot project of this brand, the first to be developed globally, which will focus on making sustainability and well-being the essence of a new travel experience. 

Azembay will be autonomous both in terms of water and energy supply, producing its own drinking water, vegetables through a permaculture field and school, fishing boats, and an animal farm – all of which will serve the five restaurants of the village and supply a basis for activities both for adults and the kids’ club.  

Activities will feature educational elements for guests to learn about leading a more autonomous and sustainable lifestyle. The resort will be car-free with green mobility including horses, mule carts, and electric vehicles.

Youssef Benamour, owner at Earth said: “We are thrilled to be working with hotel management specialists, Kew Green Hotels, to realise our vision of delivering a pure-play eco resort, offering laid-back luxury that both harnesses and enhances our local community and natural environment, offering our guests an authentic experience in this stunning area of Morocco. We are also pleased that Azembay serves as a blueprint for innovation to showcase best practices in sustainable development technologies” 

The resort is just 45 minutes from Casablanca and just over an hour from Casablanca International Airport. 

Kew Green Hotels launched in 2001 with one hotel and is now a leading hotel management company with more than 55 international hotels.

Kew Green Hotels has pledged to become Net Zero by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Accord Target. Kew Green Hotels also became Planet Mark certified through measuring and reducing its carbon footprint. It measured scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, using data from 2019, which has been the most comparable year of trading. It aimed to reduce its footprint by 10 per cent by the end of last year. 

Planet Mark is an internationally recognised sustainability certification for every type of organisation. A Planet Mark certification recognises continuous improvement, encourages action and builds an empowered community of like-minded individuals.

Last month saw “the first eco hotel” opening for the Garden of England, Kent, UK.

Meliá Hotels achieves highest rating in corporate sustainability assessment

SPAIN: Melia Hotels International, one of the leading hotel companies in Spain, has achieved the highest rating in the global travel industry in the latest S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

SPAIN: Melia Hotels International, one of the leading hotel companies in Spain, has achieved the highest rating in the global travel industry in the latest S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

The CSA is an assessment of the performance in sustainability of companies in 2022 and is a comprehensive annual assessments of the sustainability performance of companies across all industries.

It focuses on economic, governance, social and environmental criteria, as well as on industry-specific criteria. 

Gabriel Escarrer, executive vice president and CEO of Meliá said: “In the current complex business environment, sustainability has become as one of the most important values for companies, and for Meliá, especially due to the family nature of our business, it is now a key factor in driving our transformation and responding to the demands and expectations of our customers, employees, shareholders and investors, hotel owners and society in general. For all of them, we are proud to have once again achieved this recognition as the most sustainable hotel company in the world.”

Meliá has taken part in this assessment since 2018, (where is came third in the industry). From 2019 to 2021, Melia achieved the top position in Spain and Europe, and second place globally.

This month the results of the new assessment were released and again Melia scored highly with its environmental reporting and climate strategy but even higher with is Social and Economic and governance.

In 2020 it also has ranked seventh in the Wall Street Journal’s list of the 100 most sustainably managed companies in the world (and the leading travel company) and is the only Spanish travel company included in the list of “Europe’s Climate Leaders 2021” by Financial Times.

Founded in 1956 Meliá Hotels International operates more than 380 hotels across more than 40 countries, under the brands Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus by Meliá, ME by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, The Meliá Collection, INNSiDE by Meliá, Sol by Meliá and Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá. It also has a portfolio of affiliated hotels under the “Affiliated by Meliá” network.

In September last year Melia hotels celebrated World Tourism Day with its Travel for Good campaign.

Image: Melia Hotels

Four Seasons Punta Mita conserves Olive Ridley sea turtles

MEXICO: The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Mexico is doing its part for the sea turtles on its beach by helping to release the hatchlings to increase survival rates.

MEXICO: The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Mexico is doing its part for the sea turtles on its beach by helping to release the hatchlings to increase survival rates.

Olive Ridley sea turtles, the second smallest sea turtle in the world, are intentionally released as a group at the shoreline at sunset, giving them the best chance of survival. 

The hotel has been working with Red Tortuguera AC MEX in support of its conservation efforts for the sea turtles for more than ten years, conducting assisted releases, which increases the survival chances of hatchlings by 300 per cent.

John O’Sullivan, regional vice-president and general manager, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico told Sustainable Hotel News: “As part of Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita’s commitment to the preservation of the environment and leaving a positive, enduring impact on the local community, seven years ago we partnered with RED Tortuguera A.C, a local organization dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles in Jalisco and Nayarit, Mexico. Since then, along with our guests, we’ve released close to 1 million sea turtles into Banderas Bay.”

More than 980,000 hatchlings are saved during the August to February hatching season.  The turtle eggs are collected and then protected and incubated for 45 days until they hatch. 

These hatchlings “imprint” on the beach and will be back to that same beach in 15 years to lay their own eggs.   

The partnership between The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and Red Tortuguera AC MEX that contributed to the opening of 12 sea turtle hatcheries along Banderas Bay.

The releasing of the turtles can also be part of meeting and events itineraries and corporate team building activities.

O’Sullivan added: “The Sea Turtle Release is an unforgettable and beautiful experience that our guests carry with them long after they’ve departed. To be able to educate guests about this natural wonder and have them participate in the conservation of sea turtles is extraordinary and continues to be one the most sought after activities at the Resort for couples, families, and groups alike.”

Hotels supporting sustainable practices is something future travellers are keen to champion – as reported by Bloombery Media last year.

Image courtesy of The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita.

The Eden Hotel Collection achieves zero waste and launches Green Champions

UK: Boutique hotel chain, The Eden Collection, has achieved its green goal of zero waste going to landfill over the last year.

UK: Boutique hotel chain, The Eden Collection, has achieved its green goal of zero waste going to landfill over the last year.

The group is now taking steps to get the accreditation by Green Tourism.

The Eden Collection recycled 313 tonnes of waste across all of its hotels in 2022. Of that 30 per cent was recycled, and 50 per cent was converted into renewable energy through incineration. The final 20 per cent of the group’s waste was food waste and this was broken down to create organic matter through the process of anaerobic digestion – where the bacteria breaks down waste in the absence of oxygen.

The group has also announced the launch of its ‘Green Champions’ at every hotel, which achieves the Green Tourism accreditation this year. One member of staff from each of those hotels has volunteered to be responsible for taking the lead on environmental initiatives. This includes using more energy-efficient light bulbs, sourcing local produce, and encouraging paperless bills. 

Jayne O’Malley, group operations manager at The Eden Hotel Collection said: “We are so proud of the work that has taken place across the Group over the past 12 months and we’re really looking to build on that in 2023. We are aiming to be a collection of environmentally responsible hotels, providing intelligent luxury and to assist in achieving a cleaner, safer and healthier world for ourselves, our families and that of future generations.”

The group is working with the Carbon Trust and 1st Waste Management Consultants Ltd, as well as in tree planting and wind turbine projects in the UK.

The Eden Hotel Collection has hotels across the UK, including Bovey Castle in Devon, The Greenway Hotel and Spa in Cheltenham, Brockencote Hall Hotel in Kidderminster, Mallory Court Hotel and Spa in Leamington, and The Arden Hotel in Stratford.

In other UK hotel news, Kent’s first eco hotel opened late last year.

Image: Bovey Castle, Devon – The Eden Collection

Six Senses announces location of Napa County sustainable sanctuary

US: Six Senses has announced its plans for its next wellness and sustainability sanctuary in Napa County.

US: Six Senses Hotels and Resorts has announced its plans for its next wellness and sustainability sanctuary in Napa County.

Named after the natural thermal Aetna Springs discovered in the 1870s, the location was home to a popular resort until the 1970s, and Aetna Mineral Water, which is sold throughout the American West. 

Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs said: “Six Senses Napa Valley will marry the region’s beauty with the unique natural resources of the original Aetna Springs. Working with Weller Development Partners, Pegasus Capital Advisors, and committed sustainability partners, we have the right energy in place to revitalise this precious jewel in the Napa crown as a destination to rewild our guests back to a connection with nature, each other, and ultimately themselves.”

The resort will be located a two-hour drive from San Francisco, on a vast 3,000-acre estate. The existing structures from the previous resort will be sensitively preserved, and the landscape regenerated to bring back the natural mineral springs, with a focus on native planting.

Award winning architects Olson Kundig will be working on the design and regeneration of the old resort buildings. 

Tom Kundig, owner and founder of Olson Kundig said: “There’s so much about this site that I find deeply inspirational, from its layers of history as an agrarian and resort community to its stunning natural beauty. This new project provides a great opportunity to craft an authentic experience for visitors that centres around deepening connections to this special landscape. 

The sanctuary will offer 95 rooms and suites, including ten tent-style structures. There will also be 16 branded residences, which will be serviced by Six Senses and, alongside all the resort amenities, enjoy access to a dedicated lounge.

The investment group, comprising Weller Development Partners, Pegasus Capital Advisors, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, will work with expert partners in sustainability to restore the recreational green spaces, vineyards, and agricultural activities supporting the resort. 

The water bottling program will tap into the natural springs and offset operational water requirements. 

Practices such as rewilding zones and the use of sustainable design and materials will help the resort achieve LEED certification. 

David Cogut, Partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors said: “We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Six Senses, as they embody our ethos of sustainability, health, and wellness,” said “Six Senses Napa Valley will create an extraordinary experience that will stay with guests while restoring and revitalising the property.” 

Six Senses Napa Valley is slated to open in 2026.

Sustainable Hotel News reported recently of Six Senses opening a sustainability focused resort in Grand Bahama also in 2026.

Image: Previous resort buildings on the site, which will be developed