Katie, one of our Asia experts, gives us an insight into the sustainable practices found at our favorite barefoot-luxury resort, Soneva Kiri.
The hotels of Thailand have some unique and remarkable features, some of which are well ahead of their time, but we’ll get to that.
My incredibly eco-friendly boyfriend, who has taught me to brush my teeth with a glass of water, and occasionally turns my shower light off, has finally ground me down and I have come to appreciate all efforts in helping to conserve our planets finite resources. Sustainable responsibility is a key focus for many hotels in Thailand, and fits in line with new health crazes and wellness programs that guests are constantly seeking out.
Soneva Kiri’s Eco Centro has been developed by both aqua-marine scientists and conservationists who have traveled from across the globe. They showed me their many innovative projects to deal with waste.
Their fascinating waste-water filtration systems aim is to use water resources efficiently, stimulate growth of healthy vegetation in the organic garden, remove need of chemical supplements and minimize risks of harm to water resources. The combination of nine species of mopping plants and eight types of effective microorganism are used to maintain a balanced environment. The Tilapia fish are used to naturally enrich the water, as well as do their job munching on the mopping plants. This means the water used in the showers is then recycled once filtered and used on the crops to grow veggies.
The ancient filtration system can be seen below. (A bit geeky I know)
Energy and Waste Disposal
With a lot of mouths to feed (350 hosts on site along with all the guests), they produce a whopping 50 litres of vegetable oil a day. The system in place can turn this oil into bio-diesel. They use this in the food shipping of compost on their organic farm and around the resort.
They also sell their metals and plastics to local manufacturing businesses. Soneva focuses on responsible purchasing and where possible works with the local community to help support their businesses too.
Organic and local produce
I had the great fortune of sitting next to Kevin, Soneva Kiri’s Executive Chef on the very luxurious private plane to Koh Kood. He said the following; ‘I aim to ensure that the food my guests eat is both healing and nourishing and reconnects people with where that food comes from.’ I knew I was really in for a treat. I heard the other day that, on average the food on a westerner’s plate has traveled 1300 miles from field to table, contaminated with all sorts of horrid insecticides, antioxidants, emulsifiers, nitrates and preservatives that I won’t bore you with.
I was blown over by their cuisine, Kevin had built up quite an empire. A couple of examples include their Soneva Kiri Dairy. They use organic pasture-raised cow’s and goat’s milk, from the local farm in Issarn to make a range of yogurts and cheeses, including pecorino, gouda, camembert, fresh goat’s cheese and paneer. If that isn’t enough, they have their very own smoke house, where they smoke the local fishermen’s fresh catches along with local duck and chickens. I struggled to think of anything that Soneva Kiri hadn’t thought of, they even have a solar dryer to make dried fruits and their delicious sun-blushed tomatoes. They have visited all the farms they source their food from, to ensure they are 100% sustainable.
It’s not just Soneva Kiri that is making noticeable changes to reflect increasing global environmental pressures. It is essential that hidden gems like this, manage to maintain the Robinson Crusoe feel. Trust me, you feel a world away from home in many of these hotels, and their sustainable practices have a lot to play in this.
For more information on Soneva Kiri, give one of our Consultants a call on 020 8682 5060 or visit our website scottdunn.com