Responsible Hotels: going beyond hospitality, lending a helping hand

By Dian Hasan | June 10, 2009

In the age of increased awareness of “doing good”, it’s a breath of fresh air to know that this philosophy has permeated into all business sectors, including the travel industry. Across the world, some hotels have taken on humanitarian missions while providing upscale hospitality. Here’s a look at some of these good corporate citizens. Clearly geographical constraints do not limit one to deliver goodness and positively touch the communities, the environments and flora & fauna they do business in.

Anantara Golden Triangleresponsible-hotels-01-g_Anantara Golden Triangle


Anantara Golden Triangle (Thailand): One of the world’s most socially responsible hotels is in Thailand. Overlooking the Mekong River at the point where Thailand, Laos and Burma converge, the Anantara Golden Triangle resort offers refuge to work elephants and their human entourages. Through The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, Anantara offers shelter, healthcare and schooling to the mahouts (trainers) and their families, recruited from Thailand’s major cities where they often lived in the streets. For more information: Anantara Golden Triangle


Grootbos Lodge_ZA_side-of-gardenGrootbos Foundation_florence-and-a-plant


Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa): This luxury game lodge about an hour’s drive east of Cape Town blends environmental and social activism through the Grootbos Foundation which is dedicated to preserving native landscapes and training unemployed or unskilled local people in how to make a living from doing the same. Graduates of the program have started their own nurseries and are helping government agencies manage and re-establish native plant communities. For more information: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve


Lapa RiosLapa Rios_Carbonera School_leassons


Lapa Rios Eco Lodge (Costa Rica): Dozens of local kids are becoming the first in their families to attend school thanks to the efforts of this rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula. Carbonera School is supported by both cash donations and an online “wish list” that solicits books, games, sports equipment, flashcards, disposable cameras and other teaching materials. For more information:  Lapa Rios EcoLodge


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Ol Malo Lodge (Kenya): When severe drought devastated northern Kenya between 1999 and 2001, the Ol Malo Lodge responded with a number of programs – under the banner Ol Malo Trust – to help the local Samburu people. Their humanitarian slate runs a broad gamut from healthcare and clean water to education and cottage industries. For more information: Ol Malo Lodge


Jake's Jamaica_www.dimanodimages.comsunset-seapuss7210Jake's Resort, Jamaica_jakes13Jake's Resort Jamaica_Breds Foundation_sbcompkids


Jake’s Resort (Jamaica): Originally created by the resort, Breds Treasure Beach Foundation promotes education, environmental awareness, healthcare, cultural heritage and sports in this rustic fishing and farming community on the south side of Jamaica. The foundation also supports the local response and recovery to hurricanes and other emergencies, as well as annual community events like the Gospel Christmas Party. For more information: Jake’s Resort


responsible-hotels-06-g_Nihiwatu Sumba_Indo_www.forbestraveler.comNihiwatu_Sumba Foundation_our_health_projects


Nihiwatu (Indonesia): Thousands of Sumba islanders have already benefited from various health, education and economic stimulus programs created by the resort’s eclectic Sumba Foundation. Nihiwatu also teaches by example – recycling all of its waste, powering its generators with bio-diesel, rescuing endangered wildlife, and offsetting its own carbon footprint with a plan to plant 160,000 trees over the next seven years. For more information: Nihiwatu


Turtle Islandresponsible-hotels-07-g_Turtle


Turtle Island (Fiji): Turning his back on the tumultuous modern world, Harvard-educated Richard Evanson bought an uninhabited Fijian island in the early 1970s and transformed it into the epitome of a rustic chic resort. Along the way he also started the Yasawas Community Foundation to fund local healthcare, employment and education initiatives. Turtle Island also helps local villagers help themselves by providing seed money for backpacker and budget accommodation. For more information: Turtle Island


Hotel_de_la_Paix_CambodiaHotel de la Paix_Cambodia_Sewing Training Centre_13


Hotel De La Paix (Cambodia): This chic boutique retreat near the ruins of Angkor Wat supports a number of community efforts in and around Siem Reap including Shinta Mani Hospitality School,  orphanages, schools, hospitals, home building, drinking water well drilling, a vocational institute for youth, and a Sewing Training Center run by monks that teaches young Khmer women how to make a living with cloth and thread. For more information: Hotel De La Paix


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Adrère Amellal (Egypt): If Paul Bowles could do it over again, this is probably where he would set The Sheltering Sky – a wildly romantic resort in Egypt’s Western Desert. Nestled beneath a red-rock cliff on the edge of Siwa Oasis, Adrère Amellal has become a pillar of the isolated desert community by stocking its kitchen with local produce and its gift shop with handicrafts produced by Siwa artisans. Through the Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative, the lodge is also helping to establish a micro-credit scheme whereby Siwans will be able to restore their rock-salt dwellings into boutique hotels and other tourism ventures. For more information: Adrère Amellal


Sri Lanka Vil Uyana  Resort 3responsible-hotels-10-g_Vil Uyana_Sri


Jetwing Vil Uyana (Sri Lanka): Rather than poach skilled staff from other resorts, Vil Uyana decided to start its own hospitality school in the Sri Lankan countryside. In addition to learning English and Japanese, disadvantaged young adults enrolled at the academy learn all aspects of the hotel business, from people skills and public relations to cooking and catering. Graduates have found employment at Vil Uyana and other top resorts around the island. For more information: Vil Uyana

Inspiration: Forbes Traveler

This entry was posted in Ecotourism, Green Travel, Humanitarian, Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Travel, VolunTourism and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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