Tourism has been changing over the years. The consciousness of travelers as a result of such hot topics as climate change or social responsibility has dictated a new era which calls for sustainable tourism.
In this new scenery, ecological, sustainable and responsible with social and environmental values, the hotel industry is increasingly glamorous. A charming example of this is Inspira Santa Marta, a hotel located in the heart of the city of Lisbon, chosen Best Green Hotel in Europe in 2016 and now nominated as finalist for the World Travel Awards 2017 in the category of Green Hotels. We interview its CEO, Nicolas Roucos, to get a first-hand look at the eco-sustainable details he gives us.
The travelers are here on leisure or business but either way they value more staying in a hotel that supports the environment and social causes.
As he explains, eco resorts have existed as of the late 80’s but there are very few Urban hotels with an Eco-Responsible Concept at its base. The company was conscious of the fact that this would be a challenge in terms of investment but that the return would be there nonetheless. Inspira was thus created, as the first Urban design hotel brand in Portugal.
Inspira Santa Marta is a Boutique Hotel in Lisbon city center with an award-winning concept built on the basis of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. There we can enjoy a perfect kind of harmony that only a Feng-Shui atmosphere can create.
Each area of Inspira Santa Marta Hotel was designed bearing in mind the perfect conditions to optimize the principles of this Chinese philosophy. The decoration was carefully selected and most rooms are located according to their main functions and energies. At this 4-star hotel in Lisbon, we can feel the presence of the five elements of the Feng-Shui philosophy: metal, tree, water, earth and fire.
This never ending quest for balance is intimately related with the respect for the environment, promoted and developed by Inspira Santa Marta Hotel. Sustainability is part of this green hotel identity and this is reflected on the low impact materials and daily operation, reducing its own ecological footprint. Here, the most updated technology allies our comfort and environmental concern.
In this respect, its concept Doing the right thing! works like an umbrella that comprises the three main pillars of our identity, in which this hotel plays a part: Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development.
Also, we can enjoy the flavors of the portuguese gastronomy at the restaurant Open Brasserie Mediterrânica, one of the few Lisbon city center restaurants with a Gluten Free Certificate. With a Mediterranean inspired cuisine, the Chef chooses the best local ingredients, always customizing the menu according to the products’ seasonality and freshness. The menu comprises a wide range of options including vegan, vegetarian and Lactose-free dishes.
The road of this hotel has been tough, said Roucos. When we opened the hotel, we set ourselves a positioning in the market. The toughtest has been to stick to that positioning (the pricing also) no matter what. This attitude paid off and we are now positioned as a top four star hotel in Lisbon, with prices higher than a quite a few 5 star hotels….
There is nothing more important than “Do the right thing!”, enjoy a holiday break or a working environment in a sustainable manner – This is our motto.
From the outset, the important thing was to learn. Whilst most of the procedures and theories worked it was important to fine tune those, and have the courage to change the ones that didn’t. For example, we started serving breakfast from a menu in order to minimize waste. We quickly discovered the clients would order various items and consume only a few so the quantity of waste generated was actually worse – we quickly moved to a buffet breakfast instead. The hotel today is successful because we always had an open attitude to change.
We ask him what is the ecological value provided by the hotel. We are a hotel that is certified by third parties such as Greenglobe, or Travelife Sustainability as a Sustainable Hotel, holds European ISO certifications, a Zero Carbon certification. In other words, we are a hotel offering its guests a sustainable and responsible – he answers.
That is luxury. Definitely! – he explains. The world and economy we live in are very pragmatic and architecture and eco-design makes sense from the point of view that you are investing in infrastructure and equipment that will later on allow you to save energy as well as other resources.
Just to finish our interview, we ask Nicolas Roucos to give us names of other companies that, due to their ecological or sustainable character, are worth appearing in our magazine. As hotels go we could name a few: Boutique Hotel Stadthalle in Vienna, Landgut Stober in Brandenburg, Germany, Hotel Milano Scala in Italy or Rio do Prado in Portugal, Did you mean hotels or other types of companies? If you were referring to companies, maybe you could mention our amenities provider, A62/Groupe GM who are Greenglobe certified.