In honor of World Ocean’s Day on June 8th, these hotels are making waves with their marine conservation efforts.
The life source and lungs of our world, the ocean covers 70 percent of the planet and produces at least 50 percent of our oxygen. It supports humanity, provides earth’s biodiversity, regulates our climate and more. Unfortunately, as fish populations are becoming depleted and coral reefs are being destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than giving back. To protect and preserve the ocean for our future, we must create a new system and recognize those that are creating a positive impact.
From a California resort that uses biodegradable bamboo room keys, to private islands using deep seawater to power air conditioning, these ocean-friendly hotels where World Ocean’s Day is every day, are among some of the best doing their part to save our waters.
The Brando, Tetiaroa (www.thebrando.com)
The Brando is one of the most luxurious eco-resorts on the planet. A pioneer in the hospitality industry since opening in 2014, The Brando was the first resort in the world to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the organization’s highest accolade, using airstrip solar panels for energy and hot water heating, coconut oil biofuel for additional power generation and more. Following a precedent set by the InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa (also owned and operated by Pacific Beachcomber), the Brando installed a Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) system, which pulls icy deep sea water from 3,000 feet below the shores to reduce energy demands by nearly 70%. This innovative solution was recently awarded a Solar Impulse Label in April 2021, recognizing this efficient, clean and profitable solution with a positive impact on environment and quality of life. All energy is renewable, generated from solar panels and coconut oil biofuel, while waste water is used for sustainable irrigation. Protection of the abundant tropical fish and surrounding marine life is core to the resort’s mission, and there is an EcoStation for scientific research that guests can visit. The on-site Ecostation is operated by the Tetiaroa Society which has attracted some of the world's leading scholars on Pacific/Island/Ocean issues to guide the various research programs including coral reef ecology. One of the ongoing projects includes the Ocean Acidification Program, which focuses on understanding the corals sensitivity to climate change, ocean acidification in particular, so that scientists can better plan for the preservation of reef systems for future generations to come. The Tetiaroa Society and The Brando are also primary sponsors of The Blue Climate Initiative, an idea spawned by former President Obama’s visit to The Brando a few years back, which harnesses ocean-based strategies to combat some of Earth’s most pressing problems.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach (www.theranchlb.com)
Sustainability is at the forefront of this boutique coastal ranch, as it takes great care to minimize its environmental impact. The property recycles glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers, swapped plastic key cards with biodegradable bamboo room keys, operates a half-acre organic farm and compost program, and irrigates with reclaimed water – saving 20 million gallons annually. As of last year, the resort has positioned itself as a founding member of Beyond Green, a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges exemplifying sustainable leadership and supporting a variety of ocean conservation initiatives. The resort features two ocean-friendly restaurants, Harvest and Lost Pier Café, and are both certified by the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation criteria includes a comprehensive list of ocean conservation practices such as the elimination of Styrofoam and plastics, providing reusable tableware, following proper recycling practices daily, and more. In an effort to preserve clean channels, volunteers from the resort maintain a 0.75-mile stretch of the Aliso Creek Channel in Mission Viejo and have removed over 2,500 pounds of trash and debris since the initiative began in 2015. To champion ocean conservation in younger generations, the resort has launched an exclusive partnership with The California Coastal Commission and the Ocean Institute, providing ocean mentorship and camping activities for kids.
Eleven Experience (www.elevenexperience.com)
Eleven Experience and the private foundation The Grassy Creek Foundation (GCF) work together to support a diverse roster of organizations which benefit various communities and environmental causes. GCF also develop on-the-ground initiatives, many of which overlap with locations where Eleven operates. Together, the two organizations collaborate to support local communities through direct charitable activities such as clean-up efforts and environmental outreach and education. In order to both clean up harmful debris in the ocean and pay a day wage to fishing captains whose source of income has been cut due to the pandemic, Grassy Creek Foundation teamed up with Ocean Aid 360, Eleven Angling, and other local partners recently to host an invitational clean-up event called the Ghost Trap Rodeo in Key West, Florida. "Ghost Traps" are abandoned crab and lobster traps. These abandoned traps are a hazard to marine life, as they often continue to trap fish and crustaceans and endanger animals and vessels that collide with or become entangled in them. Over the course of the three-day event, seven Key West charter captains hauled nearly 20 tons of derelict or abandoned fishing gear and debris out of the ocean. These events are planned throughout the course of this year with the goal to provide financial help for local captains during the pandemic while also cleaning up the ocean.
AFRICA’S MOST EXCLUSIVE CASTAWAY ESCAPE: A PRISTINE UNDERWATER WORLD WITH BRILLIANT CORALS AND ABUNDANT MARINE LIFE
Miavana is a private-island hotel located on Nosy Ankao, off the northeast of Madagascar. The island itself is surrounded by a pristine reef offering superb snorkeling and diving opportunities as well as turtle, whale and dolphin watching, fly-fishing, deep-sea fishing beyond the reef, helicopter trips and more. The forward-thinking and sustainability-minded Time + Tide brand behind Miavana consider themselves to be guides and guardians to sublime landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and rich cultures. With their conservation heritage dating back to 1950, the brand’s very own Time + Tide Foundation contributes more than $300,000 per year to community, health, education and wildlife conservation. In Madagascar, Miavana is uniquely positioned on a protected island with a full-time environmental team trained in wildlife monitoring and reforestation, meaning that they have the opportunity to take a more hands-on approach to conservation on the island which, to date, has involved the monitoring of nesting sea turtles on Nosy Ankao, carrying out marine and terrestrial biodiversity surveys, seabird ringing and monitoring, as well as championing a Crowned Lemur Conservation Program.
HOW: Mavros Safaris (www.mavrossafaris.com) offers journeys to Madagascar from $11,384 per person based on two guests sharing. This price includes three nights at Miavana, return helicopter transfers from Nosy Be, all meals, butler, selected premium wines, top-shelf spirits and bar drinks, laundry, conservation levy and select shared activities. The price also includes return international flights to Nosy Be.
ISLAS SECAS, PANAMA
A SPECTACULAR OCEAN WILDERNESS, WITH SUPPORT FOR MARINE CONSERVATION AT ITS HEART, SET ON A FAR-FLUNG, 14-ISLAND ARCHIPELAGO
Located in the Gulf of Chiriquí, the privately owned Islas Secas is the ultimate destination for a marine-focused, adventure-rich trip of a lifetime, with conservation at its very core. The region is home to the largest coral reefs off Panama’s rugged Pacific coast, beautiful beaches and two vast, protected marine parks. Teeming with exceptional sea life, thousands of species of wild fauna and flora and a little-touched, Jurassic Park-style setting, this is one of Central America’s best-kept secrets, far less explored than its Caribbean cousin. The 20 miles between Islas Secas and mainland Panama allow endless opportunities to explore the vibrant waters of the Gulf, creating an untouched ‘marine playground’ for guests. Living in harmony with its surrounding environment, Islas Secas is considered an environmentally preserved protected area under Panamanian law. The privately funded Islas Secas Foundation also partners with conservation organizations to support efforts from mangrove restoration to marine area protection, as well as environmental education in Chiriquí.
HOW: Rates at Islas Secas start from $1,500 per Casita, per night on an all-inclusive basis, including all F&B, select activities on and off-island, and road and boat transfers between the city of David Airport and Islas Secas. For more information, visit islassecas.com
INDONESIA’S PRIVATE ISLAND ECO-RESERVE IN THE REMOTE ANAMBAS ISLANDS
Bawah Reserve is an off-the-beaten track group of six tropical islands in the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia, located between Malaysia and Borneo. The stunning sustainability-minded retreat, home to sheltered marine conservation lagoons and powder white beaches, offers guests a chance to truly explore these remote islands, as well as contributing towards protecting their future. The resort is a pioneer in eco-friendly practices, a plastic-free environment and all-encompassing marine and forest conservation. Bawah is certified by WWF Signing Blue program as a five-star destination for responsible marine tourism – the first resort in Indonesia to receive this distinction. The surrounding seas of Bawah are reputedly 10 times more diverse than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and, in order to protect the environment, the reserve launched the Anambas Foundation; an independent charity aiming to protect and improve the overall ecosystem. The foundation works alongside local communities to educate on ways to combat the negative impacts of fishing and waste management. In 2020, the foundation saw significant developments through the launch of new initiatives for mangrove conservation and Integrated Waste Management (IWM) on the surrounding Anambas Islands. Guests can also spend time with Bawah’s expert marine biologists who educate during snorkeling trips, kayaking adventures or even over a drink the Boat House bar.
HOW: Rates at Bawah Reserve start from $1,980 per night for two people on a full board basis including daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar, a host of land and water-based activities. For more information visit bawahreserve.com. For more information on the Anambas Foundation, visit www.anambasfoundation.org