Having set themselves the target of building Africa’s greenest hotel, owners Mario and Annemarie Delicio are thrilled by the opening of Hotel Verde . This world-class establishment surpasses everything they had hoped for with regards to comfort, functionality and a level of sustainability not yet seen on the continent.
Part of the BON Hotels Group, Hotel Verde is conveniently situated just 400m from Cape Town International Airport and within easy driving distance of the city’s central business and shopping districts. Designed to meet the specific requirements of travellers on their way in and out of the city, Hotel Verde also has excellent conferencing and dining facilities. But, what makes it unique is the length to which the team have gone to minimise the hotel’s carbon footprint, from (under) the ground up.
Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels, says that the significance of being involved in a project of this nature is invaluable. “The three cornerstones of BON Hotels are Good people. Good thinking. Good feeling. Hotel Verde and the philosophy behind it is where the Good thinking lies. This is definitely one of the most innovative hotels on the continent and we are thrilled to be involved in a project of this nature.”
Sustainable building and running
André Harms, Hotel Verde ‘s Sustainability Consultant, is the expert behind some of the more technical aspects of the building. “We had the opportunity to change the status quo here,” he said. “We looked at different ways of doing everything, right from the word go.”
This includes various methods of “dematerialisation”. The hotel is built with concrete slabs containing recycled materials, using Cobaix Void Formers. Strategically placing these recycled polypropylene, hollow spheres save approximately 1279 tons of concrete, while maintaining structural integrity.
In order to bypass the need for standard air-conditioning systems, traditionally one of the biggest energy consumers, Hotel Verde uses geothermal heat pumps coupled to 100 boreholes drilled approx. 65 metres into the ground, where the temperature is a consistent 19 degrees. Renowned supplier AGO Energy have installed a complex network of pumps and piping specifically designed for Hotel Verde that uses the Earth as a heat source in winter and “heat sink” in summer, boosting efficiency and dramatically reducing operational costs.
Hotel Verde also boasts photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and a sophisticated grey water recycling plant that will reduce the hotel’s water consumption by a massive 37%.
It’s what’s inside
The interior of the hotel has been carefully considered, with a lot of thought going in to the functionality required from its position as an airport hotel, to the visual appeal, all tying in to the green aspect.
“It was very inspirational to have two world travellers such as the Delicios as clients as they have many interesting, unique travel and hotel experiences,” says Liza Wyborn of Les Harbottle Design. “There were a huge amount of ideas to draw from. We obviously had to take into account the required functionality of the hotel as a conferencing facility and airport accommodation, as well as the ‘green’ aspect and the combination of finishes and products that were available for us to use.”
Hotel Verde , a 3 star hotel, has an emphasis on providing a comfortable space for both leisure and business travellers.
Of the 145 luxurious, contemporary-styled rooms, there are four room types available: standard, studio, executive, and an executive suite. There is also an option for inter-leading rooms for families – all elegantly furnished and decorated in the hotel colours, which include grey with purple, orange and green.
Natural, fresh, optimum temperature airflow is fed into every room and will reduce the need to use the air conditioner.
Guests are encouraged to embrace our greening philosophy and will be offered rewards for sustainable practices during their stay. As General Manager of the hotel, Samantha Annandale explains, “We want to educate guests as well as encourage them to minimise their impact on the environment. We have come up with fun, subtle ways to do that, which will hopefully become second nature that guests then take home with them.”
With seven meeting rooms available, seating anything from 8 to 120 delegates, the hotel is equipped to meet all conferencing requirements. There is strong emphasis on natural lighting throughout each of the rooms and everything is geared towards technical convenience of the highest standard.
Hotel Verde ‘s dining experience focuses on health and wellness. All food is seasonal, sourced and produced locally, featuring lots of raw and organic foods, alongside the favourites.
The open plan kitchen provides guests with a view of what is happening, so they can experience the chefs and staff working. An early breakfast menu is available from 04h30 if you have to catch a flight or attend a morning meeting. Alternatively you can select something from the BON Voyage Deli that is open 24/7.
The fully equipped hotel gym is the first in Africa to have power-generating equipment. These machines push power back into the hotel as you work out, showing the amount of energy you are generating.
The surrounding wetlands feature an outdoor eco-trail for all those guests who prefer to exercise in the open air. This trail meanders through the grounds, leading to a selection of hi-tech, outdoor gym equipment.
There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and the business centre is equipped with all the latest technology required to keep guests in touch.
Hotel Verde is embarking on a mission to provide guests with a game-changing experience. “From the moment guests arrive at the airport, we are here to showcase and educate our innovation, whilst offering great value for money and exceeding all expectations” says Guy Stehlik.
In short, Hotel Verde and the BON Hotels team has left no stone unturned when it comes to sourcing, building, furnishing and running this ground-breaking hotel.
Hotel Verde was officially opened by the Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism, Alan Winde, on Tuesday, 27 August 2013