"Green" Asia resorts take the guilt out of luxury stays

Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:30am EDT
 
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Who says you can't have it all? An Asian hotelier is offering luxury, boutique resorts at idyllic destinations and their carbon footprint is small, too.

Singapore-based Alila Hotels and Resorts, which has properties in the Maldives, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia, is one of a handful of hoteliers in the Asia Pacific region that are leading in sustainable tourism, according to independent industry environmental advisory group EC3 Global.

Sustainable tourism aims to make travelers aware of their impact on the environment, both natural and cultural, of their destination, and spans everything from hotel design and construction to what is served on the menu.

"We believe in creating something unique that supports the local environment, and on having very little impact on that environment," Sean Brennan, general manager of the Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia, which opened last month.

"Too long, too many hotels have given too much hot air about the environment, but nobody has really made a difference. What we're doing is not limiting the luxury, just using smart design."

The Uluwatu villas was designed and built according to EC3 Global's "Green Globe" benchmark, and is one of three Alila hotels in Bali. The older properties also have green programs.

In Asia Pacific, 39 hotels have Green Globe certification and Andre Russ, EC3 Global's head of global markets, said the region's tourism industry had espoused environmental standards much faster than other parts of the world.

"Many countries in the region really rely on tourism and recently we have seen a shift in the way hoteliers in the Asia Pacific together with tourism destinations address sustainability," he told Reuters.   Continued...

 
<p>The exterior of a three-bedroom villa at Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali is seen in this handout. Singapore-based Alila Hotels and Resorts, which has properties in the Maldives, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia, is one of a handful of hoteliers in the Asia Pacific region that are leading in sustainable tourism, according to independent industry environmental advisory group EC3 Global. REUTERS/Alila/Handout</p>