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Certified Green in the Caribbean

April 13, 2009 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
 


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All 200 villa-style suites at the Verandah Resort & Spa offer views of the sea

As we’ve done several times in this issue, Travel Agent once again chatted with Guido Bauer, CEO of Green Hotel Certification, to determine which are the best green hotels in the Caribbean. And here are the three resorts he says top the list:

The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua

The Verandah Resort & Spa, an eco-friendly luxury retreat on Antigua’s
northeast coast, was one of the most recent properties to receive green
certification. The resort, which is one of the newest members of Elite Island Resorts, only occupies 12 acres of the 30 acres it was built on, says Steven H. Heydt, president of Elite Islands Resorts.

“We
designed the property with an emphasis on environmental responsibility
and sustainable tourism, while not sacrificing the luxury aspects of an
upscale resort,” Heydt says.

The property overlooks the reef-protected waters of Dian Bay, features hiking trails and is bordered by Devil’s Bridge National Park with its dramatic landmark rock arch.

Its
200 villa-style suites all feature the resort’s verandahs with views of
the sea. Suites have indulgent touches, such as flat-screen TVs,
king-size beds, Internet access and romantic soaking bathtubs built for
two, plus homey touches like a microwave, mini-fridge and a living room
area.
The suites afford unobstructed ocean or bay views and enable
greenery to grow under and around each structure to blend with the
environment.

Southern Palms Beach Club, Barbados

Prior
to becoming the CEO of his company three years ago, Bauer was a
sustainable advisor for various hotels and airlines for 15 years. Since
joining Green Hotel Certification and touring different destinations
and facilities to see which fit the green bill, he says Barbados is by
far ahead of the pack with more legit green hotels than any other
Caribbean island.

Among the best in Barbados are Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Coral Mist Beach Hotel and Blue Orchids Beach Hotel. But the best of the best, according to Bauer, is Southern Palms Beach Club.

The resort sits on a beach on the South Coast in St. Lawrence Gap
that is an active nesting ground for the endangered hawksbill turtle. A
nesting or hatching is a must-see between the months of June and
August, but hatchings may be seen as late as December.

Southern
Palms Beach Club has identified key environmental aspects related to
the operation of its hotel in Barbados. These include the rational use
of energy and water; solid waste and wastewater disposal; reduction of
greenhouse gases; proper disposal of hazardous materials; noise
reduction; and the use of biodegradable cleaning materials.

The resort also has a comprehensive Environmental Management System in
place that addresses key environmental concerns as well as issues of
health, hygiene and safety. The hotel actively supports a carbon-offset
program.

According to its mission statement, “It is the goal
of the hotel to identify, monitor and improve all aspects of
environmental sustainability on an ongoing basis, to ensure that all
operational legislative and regulatory requirements are met, and to
preserve natural resources in Barbados and the Caribbean.”

Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Jamaica

While Bauer cited all Sandals resorts as great green properties, he singled out Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa in Jamaica, which was, in fact, the first all-inclusive to become Green Globe Certified and recently became the first—and only—resort to earn Platinum Certification from Green Globe.

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Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa in Jamaica was the first all-inclusive to become Green Globe Certified

Sandals
Resorts successfully modified its water systems and energy
requirements, adjusted its waste management program and bolstered its
already-strong social involvements within the community to earn the
important certification.

“Even in its early days, the
company’s outreach efforts stemmed from a sense of unequivocal moral
obligation to protect a region it calls home,” said Stewart Moore, CEO of EC3 Global,
a leading international environmental and tourism advisory group. The
company delivers Green Globe Benchmarking & Certification services
to its members internationally.

“Since its birth, Sandals
has worked hard to help preserve its Caribbean home and help elevate
the islands in which we operate, as well as its people,” noted Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International.

Still Green to Green

Although
Bauer didn’t want to specify any resort names, he did cite some
destinations whose resorts still have a thing or two to learn about
going green. Bauer says that St. Lucia’s resorts have to do “lots of
work” when it comes to green tourism, and that there has been “no work
done at all” in Trinidad & Tobago.

To contact Guido Bauer about how to become green certified, agents should call 310-929-7460 or e-mail [email protected].


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