To preserve natural terrain, trees and naturally open atmosphere. Those are the three concepts used in the design and construction of Siloso Beach Resort. Located in the resort island Sentosa and next to the Siloso Beach, this resort maintains a commitment towards nature conservation and intends to be a model in sustainable hospitality.
Every guest is able to join a complementary eco tour in which they would be introduced to the green features of the hotel. The tour starts at the reception area which is on the 7th floor. With trees jutting out of the platform as well as various inclines and slopes, the concept of the preserving natural terrain and trees in the original habitat can be seen from the get-go. The platform is also carpeted with tiles that are made from recycled tyres which provide durable, comfortable and anti-slip surface to walk upon.
Those inclines and slopes led to a walkway on the boundary of the resort compound where the trees on one side of the walkway still looked like a secondary forest. The walkway and all other structures in the resort are constructed using micro-bore piling which causes less damage to the trees and the soil compared to conventional drilling methods. The largest tree next to the walkway was wired to prevent damage to the tree should lightning strike and its health –as with those of many other trees around the compound- is regularly monitored to ensure safety of the visitors. In fact trees are found in the villas and hotel rooms, branching out from the floor and reaching up to beyond the ceiling. Some fast-growing trees are encased in glass and the leaf litter from these trees form small ecosystems on their own which can be observed from the hotel room.
This natural design and proliferation of ecosystems mean that pest would require a constant effort, as the resort’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Karl Fischer acknowledged. But here, integrated pest management reduces the need for artificial pesticide. The villas are situated next to a pond such that mosquito population will be controlled by their natural predators. On top of that bacteria is used to target and eliminate mosquito larvae. This is much less harmful than conventional fogging, especially in terms of the effects to human health.
Beside using natural design, the resort is also committed to efficient use of resources to minimize its environmental impact. This can be seen from the use of energy and water efficient appliances fitted in the hotel rooms. The need for air conditioning is reduced by natural cooling effect of green roofs. Food waste is composted in the wormery that contains 100 trays of worms to date and the compost goes to Siloso Beach Resort’s very own vegetable and herb rooftop garden. But their positive impact does not stop there. They produce much more compost than they need in the garden and thus the resort contributes this compost along with the knowledge of wormery, to other organisations including schools.
These initiatives are hard work in their setup and maintenance. Interestingly, the resort employs the help of people with special needs for these tasks as well as visitor-facing jobs. This is a statement of their commitment to empowering those marginalized in society and recognizing the potential they have which have been put aside due to discrimination. This is not an easy decision as the stereotypes and prejudices against them have on rare occasions caused misunderstanding with visitors of the resort. But as Mr. Fischer puts it, “This attitude is precisely what needs changing and so we hope to do that by working with them in our resort”.
It is important to note that, with all the sustainability initiatives implemented in the resort, there is little emphasis on individual effort such as minimizing water use and recycling. One might wonder whether this approach could lead to long-term change in attitude towards environmental and social responsibility on the part of individual visitors. To that, Mr. Fischer responded, “We encourage visitors to take part in [the sustainability movement], but first and foremost we view it as our responsibility to act on it”. Indeed, the effects of seeing and experiencing these sustainability initiatives on the individuals remain to be explored, but it is true that businesses have their own responsibility to step up. For Siloso Beach Resort to take ownership of its own sustainability is a commendable move that needs to become a norm in other hospitality businesses and in the private sector in general.
- Siloso Beach Resort: http://silosobeachresort.com/