What are they doing behind the lavish & top notch services – those luxury branded hotels?

Do you ever look into hotels’ sustainability measures or their policy on corporate social responsibility (CSR) when booking a room or dining in their fancy restaurants?

I am all too curious as to what goes on behind all the lavish and top-notch services in luxury hotels, so much that my recent dissertation was on this subject matter.

Interestingly, such sustainable measures are hardly retrievable on the property level unless you officially request for them. Is it true that no one cares? Or that such exposed information will act against the hotels’ luxurious branding? Sustainability and luxury can and should co-exist today! Hence for my research, I interviewed a handful selective hotels in Hong Kong to uncover those practices their loyal customers should be aware of and be proud of.

One of my favourite green initiatives is the roof garden adopted by the Four Seasons Hong Kong – naturally to grow herbs and vegetables for the hotel’s own usage. (There are certainly other hotels practising similar initiative.)

Growing a garden of any sort in urban settings is not entirely easy. Is there space? Does the chef water the plants? Do they have time to manage it? Are they economically viable? When some chefs are aiming for the Michelin stars and others for profits, it is heartwarming to know that an extra mile is made for the customers and the environment.

Since I was not a police or detective but a masters student, my data collection ended at the interview with the hotel, ie, without actual access to the garden. Some questions remained – how big is it? Is there really one?

Went home and continued my research on this Four Seasons’s initiative. There at their corporate website is a video of Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker at the Atlanta property.

Robert grew up in a farm hence brought his interest and expertise into good use at work. The garden is substantial!
“Taking Local to the Next Level in Atlanta’s Garden Oasis” retrieved at http://livingvalues.fourseasons.com/2011/03/18/taking-local-to-the-next-level-in-atlanta’s-garden-oasis/

Robert hasn’t just grown a garden but also introduced a beehive to produce inhouse HONEY, which also means building an urban habitat for pollination sake!!!

Back to Asia, I finally witnessed with my own eyes a plot of herbs garden last week at the Four Seasons Singapore.

It was on a quiet stretch of pedestrian area just outside the staffs’ entrance.
Organic, low carbon.

It was a small plot; it was a simple implementation but it moved me.

Small & simple gestures can be meaningful. Next time when your visit your favourite hotel, please ask them what are they doing for sustainability. This simple gesture will trigger a demand and those who made an effort will be happy that their customers do care!

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