As conscious travellers, we try hard to choose sustainable alternatives when it comes exploring the world. While what we pack and what activities we choose to engage with are not too hard to control, choosing a responsible type of accommodation can often be a little more difficult. Downtown in Cairns, Australia, hotels have developed an eco-friendly approach to accommodation, banning the use of single-use plastics.
Under the banner of “responsible luxury”, a group of hotels is trying something new in sustainable travel. Each is situated within striking distance of two World Heritage sites – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – and they are all committed to redefining what a sustainable hotel experience looks like. From swapping out plastic key cards for wooden ones, to removing plastic water bottles and straws, the hotels are dedicated to providing a more eco-conscious service. Refillable bottles deliver quality soaps and shampoos and coat hangers are made from recycled cardboard, while paper wastage has been eliminated by providing guests with iPads in each room in some instances.
The hotels even go as far as farming their own cattle station for the meat on their menus. Knowing how and where their cattle are being farmed ensures the highest level of animal welfare. Over 80 percent of produce served in their restaurants is sourced within a three-hour radius of the properties, which cuts back on carbon emissions and supports local growers in the process.
All of the properties support community-driven non-profit organisations such as Citizens of Great Barrier Reef, who educate people on how everyday actions impact the reef environment. Other partnered organisations include OzHarvest, a social enterprise which collects unused food to repurpose and distribute to communities in need.
At the Bailey hotel, guests are rewarded for opting out of having their room serviced, receiving credits to spend at the in-house restaurants and bars. Located just one block from the Esplanade, Bailey is known for its passion for art and gastronomy. The creative core of the hotel can be seen throughout; walls are decorated with artworks sourced from the local community. The hotel boasts 255 five-star rooms and suites and three restaurants and bars including CC’s Bar and Grill for steaks and seasonal fare, the Milk Bar and Pachamama, which fuses Latin flavours from around the world.
In the spirit of embracing environmental change, renewable energies are a high priority at Riley Hotel and solar panels are utilised throughout each property. Additionally, all the writing materials provided onsite are made from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council certified paper.
Next time you’re visiting Cairns and would like to cut back on your environmental footprint, consider booking into an eco-conscious hotel.