Kauai is appropriately known as the Garden Isle. It is home to Mount Waialeale, known as the “wettest location on earth” and the source of the seven rivers that make up the island. The abundance of tumbling waterfalls between the mountain ridges and Kauai’s wonderfully lush scenery are fed by this network of rivers. The island of Kauai’s natural splendour is on full display in Hanalei Bay, one of the wetter, greener regions of the island where passing showers of rain are commonplace.
The 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, Kauai’s newest hotel with a view of the bay, aims to capture this.
The interior and exterior lines of the open-air hotel are meant to blend together seamlessly to create a sanctuary (which requires less lighting). When visitors enter the site, they are greeted by native and tropical plants, which require less water and upkeep because this is their natural habitat.
To lessen light pollution and integrate into the surroundings without attracting birds, the structure itself was painted a muted green instead of its previous brilliant white colour. Indigenous plants that can withstand drought, such pili grass, are used on green roofs to cut back on the demand for air conditioning. Even the workout center’s flooring is made of recycled rubber.
Over the course of my two nights at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, I just once encountered plastic. The switch to zero waste elsewhere felt rather easy. Corinne Hanson, the sustainability director for 1 Hotel, stated that thinking about waste is not something you should do while enjoying a luxurious experience.
The hotel is 1 Hotel’s flagship establishment and was designed to fully realise the hospitality company’s purpose of honouring nature and serving as a platform for sustainability and change through its opulent properties like New York, West Hollywood, and London.
What can visitors anticipate from a stay at a zero-waste hotel?
The objective is especially important for Kauai, an island that is a part of the world’s most remote archipelago and where sustainability is an urgent issue that calls for rapid action – and support from the hospitality sector. The island is serviced by a single landfill, which is rapidly reaching its capacity.
The hotel is targeting a growing segment of tourists. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2022, nearly three out of every four consumers desire to travel in a more environmentally friendly way than they did in 2021. And over 78% of individuals wish to book at least one sustainable accommodation in the upcoming year.
According to a 2019 Skift analysis, the hospitality sector heavily relies on single-use plastic since it’s affordable and readily available, even if more hotels are figuring out how to be more sustainable.
Recall your most recent hotel experience. Very likely, your room had plastic coffee cups and toiletries. You might have received a reusable water bottle to fill up while exploring the grounds.
Some industries made more progress towards sustainability than the hotel and real estate sectors, according to Hanson. “It is more difficult to transition (hotels) due to their permanent infrastructure, and there are numerous partners involved in choosing sustainable practises. You’re advancing a glacier that is quite enormous. Doing it is challenging.”