Being green or having any kind of sustainable practices has often been washed with the same paintbrush and seen as fringe, small-scale and, often, rural. But the times they are a changing, and incorporating any kind of eco or empowerment practices is gaining a cutting edge, urban and sophisticated feel to it. There are exciting manifestations of this in South Africa in so very many shades of green and while, yes, we do have the expected fabulous eco lodges along the Wild Coast, we also have the hip and happening – luxury to budget accommodation options in Cape Town too. And deep in the heart of the wealthiest square kilometre of South Africa, Sandton boasts the Davinci Hotel which oozes sustainability throughout its glamorous black and white themed glory.
Having to be in Joburg for an awards ceremony I grabbed the chance to experience how green can be luxurious, how green can be urban, how green can be large-scale and how green can be chic in black and white. The decor is clever and creative and makes you want to take a photo at every turn, mixing the glint of mosaic, the curve of baroque furniture and then clean lines highlighted with only African art. All in black and white. Sound like an intriguing mix? Well it’s worth the visit!
But far more intriguing for me was the manifestation of their sustainability practices. I can’t tell you the joy of running a rare indulgent bath knowing that all the water had been heated by the 117 solar panels on their roof. They have enough solar panels to provide hot water to all their guests in over 200 hotel rooms and suites. I find that impressive. But what excites me most is that this stands as an exemplar to all other luxury hotels in our country, that going green does NOT mean having to compromise on the standards you would like to offer your guests, quite the opposite, it heightens them. The challenge is on to see which other hotels will follow suit.
Other elements I enjoyed were knowing that all the waste is recycled or composted, can you believe they have active worm farms to process the organic waste deep in the parking lot basement? How fabulous. And those small touches, like delicious homemade yoghurt for breakfast in small re-usable glass jars just made me smile and realise this is a big city hotel with a heart. My only advice would be that they come up with creative ideas to do away with any single-use plastic in their system, such as plastic water bottles, but this is a challenge we all face and I don’t doubt that Davinci will rise to the occasion as they have to other sustainability goals.
So, if you find yourself needing to stay in Sandton, ask the right questions and make sure that the hotel you choose meets your needs as well as those of the planet. Your night’s sleep, I promise, will be all the more sweeter.
To find out more about Davinci Hotel’s eco and empowerment practices or make a booking click here.