Hotel Verde at the Cape Town International Airport claims to be an ‘airport hotel with a difference’- and boy, they weren’t kidding. Just 400 meters from the airport, the bright green and purple building stands in contrast to the otherwise mundane background.
My work held a workshop at Hotel Verde. A combination of traffic and bad directions had me running a bit late and I rushed into the hotel briefly admiring the huge mosaic at the entrance. Strangely, we were asked whether we wanted to take the lift or the stairs and I opted for the stairs (trying to be healthy after watching this video by ASAP Science).
I entered a stylish conference venue with a sitting area and found all my colleagues already seated listening to a presentation. At first, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary…..
Around lunch time we had a rep from the hotel come speak to us. I thought this was pretty weird as I’ve been to many conferences sans talks from the hotel reps. The rep told us that Hotel Verde has only been open for about a year and it has already gotten some pretty cool things to add to its CV (such as LEED Platinum Certification and Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice ).
As he continued talking, it all started making sense! Hotel Verde is a pretty awesome place – it’s like the lovechild of conservation, style, science, and engineering. They are the first hotel in Africa to offer carbon neutral accommodation and conferencing. Where to even start explaining?! Honestly, there are so many aspects, I’ll just list the ones I found really interesting
- They have 3 huge vertical axis wind turbines that generate energy
- Going down in the elevator generates energy
- All windows are double glazed so you cannot hear the airplanes go by
- Treadmills that generate power
- Rain water capture system and they bottle their own water using glass bottles
- They use recycled tyres under their carpets so that every step you take is a comfortable one
- The eco-pool that is completely chemical free and works with natural filtration (the type you learnt about in school). You can find a guide on how to construct your own eco-pool at home here.
- They have the largest mosaic artwork in Africa
- All around the hotel they have artwork displayed from local schools and communities
Apart from those mentioned above, I was totally taken aback when told that for each of the conference delegates, a tree would be planted in Zimbabwe to offset the carbon emissions it took the delegates to drive to hotel.
We were shown a hotel room which looked really stylish. I wish I could stay there (if I didn’t live in Cape Town of course).
We also ate at the halaal-friendly restaurant and had mocktails around the eco-pool. Many of the ingredients are farmed at the hotel or near the hotel.
The hotel also has their own benefit system. For example, if you spend time on the power generating treadmill, you can earn 1 verdino (equivalent to R5) which can be used towards buying a coffee / lunch / etc. You can also earn these by running around the track (around the wetland) and choosing not to use the aircon.
Hotel Verde is an inspiration in sustainable design. Try something different the next time you need a conference centre, hotel or even if you’d just like ideas for your home!
Ps- I was caught off guard by how awesome Hotel Verde is & didn’t take my camera along! The cover photo and photos (where indicated) are taken off the Hotel Verde website.
Michigan Street, Cape Town, 7490
+27 21 380 5500