Find it on Wayaj: Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar

Find it on Wayaj: Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar

“Atangaye na jua hujuwa” it is a local proverb which means He who wanders around by day a lot, learns a lot” in Kiswahili, the official language of Zanzibar. Indeed, there is a lot to wander around and learn on these islands off the coast of East Africa and part of Tanzania. Their natural habitat and history as a flourishing trading hub across centuries, make them a destination as unforgettable as their name. Of course, a unique island deserves a unique earth friendly resort to complete the experience, tlike the one we’re profiling today.

Originally owned by Benny Andersson of Abba as a private retreat, Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar sits on 50 acres of lush, tropical garden next to a white sand beach and the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

This adult-only resort consists of 15 white-domed “Pavilion” suites dotted along the serene landscape and a t-shaped infinity pool.  Each Pavilion is set in its own private tropical gardens and comes with a dedicated Guest Ambassador, who helps the guests to organize their perfect vacation by assisting them in the selection of meals or advise and arrange activities and excursions.

The buildings are a mix of Scandinavian simplicity combined with the local African and Middle Eastern flair. The windows don’t have any glass, just wooden shutters that allow the sea breeze to waft through the rooms. Each Pavilion has a seating area, a shaded sun deck, a rainfall shower, and two plunge pools where you can lazily soak and view the ocean. One of the plunge pools sits at the foot of the bed to naturally cool the main room. These eco-designed dwellings also have domed roofs to collect rainwater for the gardens and to reflect the heat of the sun.  

Yes, sustainability is definitely part of the magic of this place! With solar power and a state-of-the-art water treatment plant that recycles their waste water for use in toilets, Kilindi is making a bold statement about responsible resource management. Run by the Elewana Collection of 16 boutique lodges, camps and hotels across Kenya and Tanzania, they’re known for unique accommodations in iconic locations.

Elewana Collection’s CEO, Karim Wissanji, explains to Wayaj that the origin of the name Elewana is the Swahili word meaning “harmony”, a concept that underpins the company’s philosophy and influences the way they deliver unforgettable experiences. “We continually strive to leave as little impact as possible on our surrounding environment, while creating a positive impact on local communities through our Land & Life Foundation.”

Poetry competition promoted by Land and Life Foundation at Kitich Engilai Primary School

The Land & Life Foundation is part of Elewana’s commitment to responsible tourism ensuring future generations can enjoy the wonders of Africa. “Land & Life believes that the sustainability of East Africa’s wildlife and habitats depends on four key actions,” he says. “Securing land for conservation, protecting species and their environment, providing tangible benefits to the people who live alongside wildlife, and educating the next generation of conservationists. Land & Life achieves this through four core programs. their Wildlife Warrior Program, School Support, Medical Support, and Nature Conservation Program.”

The company’s work continues in Zanzibar. The resort collaborates with the community on a regular basis to keep the area’s beaches clean and supports the local school with donations, with a water tank recently donated to the school.

In addition, Elewana Kilindi offers a training program. “We take four applicants every three months to take part in our in house training program,” Kim Juergens, the resort’s General Manager explains, “They get practical experience working for one month in the kitchen department, one month in the maintenance department, and one month in the laundry department.”

The Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar has won a myriad of awards since it opened in 2010, including best Luxury Beach Villa, Best Marine Safari Experience, Best Design, Best Safari Spa/Retreat, and Most Romantic Property. Actually, this romantic resort is a fantastic option for a honeymoon!

We are proud to have such a great destination on Wayaj. Kilindi is proving that the future of tourism, and especially tourism that offers top quality and authentic experiences, is green!

 

Cover photo by Camilla Frederiksen on Unsplash,  All other photos courtesy of Elewana Collection

Find it on Wayaj: Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald

Find it on Wayaj: Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald

Just in time for the peak ski season, today we launch our series of hotel profiles with Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald a century old family run property which combines traditional Swiss hospitality with a commitment to modern sustainable practices.

Sustainability efforts

 

“The decision to be more sustainable came from my parents in 1986,” says Philip Hauser, great-grandson to Johann Hauser who built the Belvedere. In 1907 Johann named the establishment “Belvedere,” which means “beautiful view.”

According to Philip, climate change has been obvious to the family for many years. “Therefore, a decision was made that we have to help conserve our nature, as well as our heritage.”

At the Belvedere, every effort is made to respect nature and conserve resources. The hotel was awarded the “Travelife Gold” certificate for ecologically responsible hotels and utilizes a wide range of energy-saving technologies, some of which are unique to the Bern area.

“Our hotel is connected to a wood-fired heat plant at the bottom of our valley, the first of its kind in the region,” Philip explains. “The idea of this plant came from a local hotel owner and was built by the area’s hotel association in cooperation with BKW (the Bernese power provider) and the local municipality.”

The plant is fired by waste wood from sawmills and construction sites, as well as storm-felled wood from local forests and is CO2-neutral.

At the hotel, more wasted energy is also utilized in the form of “waste heat,” or in this case, the heat wasted by being released into the environment from the air conditioning/ventilation system. This source is used to heat water for the Belvedere’s indoor pool.

The 56-room hotel also installed heat pumps to warm the indoor pool area and the outdoor saltwater Jacuzzi. The transfer of heat with heat pumps, which use electricity rather than combustion, is another highly efficient option. All electricity for the Belvedere is generated in a nearby hydroelectric power station.

“Instead of a highly energy-intensive system for air conditioning,  the hotel is cooled by cold water from the ground  during the summer”, says Philip “The plan is to then use this warm water backflow to again heat the pools and water for other facilities.”

Read more about Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald’s sustainable practices

Restaurants

 

The hotel’s Restaurant Français is a member of the French gourmet association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and offers inventive cuisine using fresh, homegrown ingredients featuring Swiss specialties, as well as light fusion food with a Mediterranean influence.

On Monday evenings the hotel offers a peek behind the scenes with a visit to the kitchen with chef Florian Stadler and his crew. Thursdays feature an extensive dessert buffet and Friday is steak tartare night when Philip’s dad Urs Hauser prepares fresh steak tartare right at your table.

Also onsite is the rustic Spycher fondue restaurant where you can enjoy a raclette, the typical cheese fondue, or special Belvedere-style fondue “chinoise.” This type of fondue is similar to Japanese shabu-shabu and features thinly-sliced meat and vegetables cooked at the table in a pot of beef broth and wine accompanied by delicious dips.

The hotel

 

The southern-facing rooms at the Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald offer panoramic views of the Eiger, while those on the north side look out on the Wetterhorn peak. The hotel also features a saltwater Jacuzzi outdoors in the garden in addition to an indoor whirlpool next to the pool.

On the property you can also enjoy a Finnish sauna and a glacier steam bath while the whole family can warm up in the “heat mine gallery.” According to Philip, this unique type of sauna has a temperature of 50-55 °C (122-131 °F) so it’s a bit cooler than the typical Finnish sauna. Finish off with a tropical rain shower or an icy mist!

Did you know that …

 

The Eiger is considered one of the  10 most difficult mountains to climb, so much so that its north face side has earned the nickname of Murder Wall, and for this reason it has been the protagonist of several movies like “The Eiger Sanction” (1975) directed and starred by Clint Eastwood, and “North Face” (2008).

The Jungfrau region

 

Outside the hotel the Jungfrau region offers endless possibilities. Since the hotel is located in the Bernese Alps, it’s a prime winter sports region with skiing, snowboarding, sledging, and winter hiking. Stay three nights and you’ll receive a two-day ski pass or hiking/sledging pass.

Discover the 213 kilometers (132 miles) of slopes in the three ski areas of Grindelwald-First, Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen and Mürren-Schilthorn. Each has amazing views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. Also the non-skiers of the party can enjoy the region that has numerous winter hiking trails and spectacular sleigh runs like the “Big Pintenfritz”, the longest sleigh run in the world snaking down a full 15km (9.3 miles)!

For those on their first foray to the slopes, BodmiArena recreation area offers ideal conditions for novices. Also nearby, the Snowpark Grindelwald-First Park has beginner’s slopes, as well as an expert zone plus half pipes and bag jumps where you can try the craziest single or double flips and spins.

Click here for info on activities in the Jungfrau region.

Whether it’s winter or summer, this is a great location to spend some time enjoying nature if you want to do it in a sustainable way, look out for Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald on Wayaj!

5 Ecofriendly Beach Destinations

Easter is behind us, this means that if you haven’t finalized your summer travel plan yet, you’ll end up with two alternatives:

  • Get the leftovers, that is: not exactly the destination/room/experience that you were planning
  • or be prepared to spend a lot of $ to get the destination/room/experience you want.

Spending a lot of money and getting the leftovers is also a possibility, but we’re trying to keep things positive here. The gist of it is: it’s time to plan summer vacations!

Whether you are a jetsetter or a backpacker, if you plan to have an eco-friendly vacation, on Wajay you’ll find the ideal destination. Here are a few suggestions based on travel types, fashionable, active, with kids, splurge and budget , to help you planning your perfect earth friendly beach escape.

Glitz and glam: Grand Hotel Cannes

Since the Belle Epoque, when it was the favorite summer destinations of aristocrats from Europe and beyond, Cannes has been the summer playground of the rich and famous. At the center of all the action, on the famous Croisette, the palm-lined boulevard that runs along the shore, the Grand Hotel Cannes offers the perfect balance of old-time glamour and modern sustainable luxury. Not only the hotel offers organic and/or locally produced food, ecolabel or natural cleaning products and participates in a carbon offset program, but it also supports several humanitarian charities and actively promotes the welfare, diversity and development of its employees. Knowing this can only enhance the pleasure of drinking a glass of organic wine on the hotel’s private beach or enjoying a sustainably produced meal in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

Active: Tranquilseas Ecoresort

If vacation means indulging in your favorite sports and activities in every waking hour of the day, then head to the Tranquilseas Ecolodge, where the only quiet thing around you is the sea. A Green Star certified PADI center, this ecoresort offers a variety of excursions aimed at appreciating the beauty of the ocean and of this Honduran island. Scuba diving in one of the largest coral reefs in the world is the main attraction, but yoga, deep-water fishing, golf, ziplining and numerous excursions keep guests busy between dives.

With Kids: Puri Dajuma

Beach and kids is always a winning combination, especially if your destination has specific facilities for them as does Puri Dajuma. Throughout the beautifully landscaped grounds of this eco-resort in West Bali, guests can enjoy 2 infinity pools, 20 km of pristine beaches, waterslides, 3 kid pools, for swimming and several relax areas. To restore energies between adventures, 3 restaurants and 4 bars, serving international cuisine as well as vegetarian menus, can satisfy every taste.

The hotel has a babysitting service and it offers several kid-friendly excursions like the visit to the Pulukan Ecotourism State Plantation to learn all the secrets of rubber trees, and to a local turtle conservation program run by the WWF.

Splurge: Bawah Island

If you plan to vacation like an eco-queen, Bawah is the place to choose. Indeed, this award-winning private archipelago epitomizes the definition of ecoluxury, as far as beach destinations go.

6 Virgin islands, 3 crystal-clear lagoons, 13 powder white beaches, 150m high primary forest, that’s what Bawah Island resort offers to the lucky 70 explorers who can afford the min. $1,780 a night (min. 3 nights) on this unique resort. The price includes full round-trip (including flight) transfers from Singapore, daily meals (breakfast, lunch and a-la-carte dinner), full unpacking service, soft drinks, wellness center and surface water sports.

The resort offers a variety of accommodations: from the romantic Garden Suites, immersed in the lush tropical greenery, to the cabins over the water, ideal to enjoy the unadulterated energy of sun & sea around the clock.

Budget: Tinos Ecolodge

Located on the namesake island, one of the lesser known, and therefore still peaceful, Cyclades isles, Tinos Ecolodge offers a full immersion in authentic Mediterranean lifestyle. Two stone houses, off-the-grid and built according to local traditions and sustainable architecture principles, on a promontory facing the sun rising on Mykonos the Aegean, accompanied by the soundtrack of the bells, goats, birds, cicadas and bees. Those are real priceless eco-luxuries and you don’t need a big budget to enjoy them!

We hope that this post helped you to find ideas and inspiration for your next green vacation, if you need more download Wayaj and you’ll discover many more breathtaking sustainable beach resorts from all around the world!