Last week I had the chance to spend a night at the Hotel Verde just next to Cape Town International. It’s not often you get to stay in a hotel in your own home town, so it always feels a bit odd, but my sister-in-law Mandy won a night’s accommodation, and as she knows what a green lunatic I am, she shared the prize with me.
The hotel boasts a 6 star rating, as well as several eco-friendly features, both from a construction as well as operational point of view. These include:
- A no-idle zone in front of the hotel, no nasty carbon-monoxide out there.
- 3 wind turbines and solar panels on the roof which together generate 11% of the hotel’s energy needs.
- A “human powered” gym – the cardio equipment feeds power back into the electrical grid whilst you workout.
- A system called Ventrinos – you earn credits for taking the stairs, reusing your towels and exercising which can be offset against your final bill.
- All water from the showers and basins is filtered and re-used to flush the toilets.
- A natural swimming pool that makes use of plants and a natural filter to keep the water clean without chemicals or chlorine.
- Recycling facilities all over the place – the staff all take a turn to separate the recyclables for further processing by the city.
- 11kms of buried pipes which function as a geo-thermal heating and cooling system – keeping the hotel at a comfy 22 degrees C without aircons.
- A garden planted on the roof of the lobby and lounge areas helps cool this part of the hotel as well whilst adding some lovely greenery that you can see from the higher floors.
- Instead of a guest book they have 2 sheets of metal against one wall that you can write on with a washable marker. When the wall is full they take a picture and then erase it.
- Preferential parking for car-pool or low emission cars in the funky, graffiti-ed basement.
- A regenerative drive elevator that generates power as it descends.
- Low-flow, aerator fittings on all taps to use less water without a loss of effectiveness when washing.
- Proper dual-flush toilets.
- Double-glazed, spectrally selective windows that reduce noise and heat inside.
- An indoor green wall that generates oxygen during the day.
- Sensors in public areas to turn lights on only when needed.
- A board in the dining room stating all the suppliers of the produce used in the restaurant, all locally sourced within 60kms of the building.
- Composting using worms and the Bokashi system.
- A 40,000L water tank in the basement that catches rain water and condensation from the roof for use in irrigation, car washing and outdoor cleaning.
- Bee hives in the garden produce the honey used in the restaurant and kitchen.
- Carbon monoxide monitoring in the basement so extractor fans only run when absolutely necessary.
- A Cobiax Void system used in the construction of the foundation has saved 1279 tonnes of concrete (34% of amount required) whilst ensuring structural integrity. These voids are made from 100% recycled polypropylene.
- Drip irrigation to minimise water wastage.
There are other “re-use, re-work and re-cycle” touches which add further charm to the hotel, for instance:
- All artwork in the corridors has been made by school children in grades 8 through 11. Each floor seems to have a different colour scheme and the artwork reflects this, from monochrome mosaics to colourful paintings of the townships.
- Hanging rocks and stones in interesting designs are a real talking point.
- Large slices of old tree stumps have been made into tables.
- Tyres have been turned into funky mirrors and seats.
- Old glassware has been re-made into light fittings.
- Re-cycled glass has been turned into small, smooth pieces and stuck onto a wall.
- A roaming bookshelf consists of books that have been left by previous visitors. You may take a book to read, or leave one you have finished in turn.
- A charity suitcase collects clothing you no longer want, or have no space for in your souvenir-stuffed baggage, for the homeless.
The thing that really struck us about the place was how quiet it was inside the hotel. You would never imagine you are a stone’s throw from the airport. Also without the incessant running of air-conditioners the noise throughout is noticeably reduced.
So if you are ever in need of a room near the Cape Town airport its really worth a stay. There is a shuttle to both the airport and the waterfront, so you could even holiday from there haha. Seriously though I was very impressed.
Location: Michigan Street, Airport Industria, Cape Town.
*featured image: the walking track in the hotel garden