As you can probably guess we love to stay at stylish green family-friendly hotels or villas, as all of these criteria are important to us. Just as this applies to other areas of sustainability, for sustainable travel to become mainstream, we must make it look good, attractive and inspiring. That was also our starting point with SLA (a chain of organic salad bars). Green (and sustainability) should be in your DNA, Stylish the way you present it and Family-friendly is absolutely essential given that our holidays are usually with our daughter nowadays.
The other day when I wanted to make a reservation at a restaurant in a modern Dutch hotel, I was told that children under 8 were not welcome. I was pretty surprised. The same applies for a few hotels that I wanted to book in Bali. On the other hand, I also understand that people without children often come for peace and quiet, but it is definitely a win-win situation if you can create a place where you can offer tranquility as well as be family-friendly.
Nina at SLA
For me it’s very much about the total picture. I think the most important aspect is that a place is run by people with passion and taste and think/act from ideals. This is a long list, I know, but if you can tick these boxes, the total picture will be just right. There is so much attention to detail and love in the Stone House and Babylonstoren, that everyone who visits will feel this immediately upon arrival. And the great thing is that both places have been built with respect for nature and in my view that is essential these days.
Nina with her Daughter at The Stone House in Bali
In actual fact I was mainly involved in setting up SLA and that is over 5 years ago now. After SLA was on track, I focused on / helped setup two other special companies (the creative agency PUP and online magazine Bedrock). I have stopped working for both companies and now have time to focus on welcoming our second daughter into our family.
The garden at Babylonstoren in South Africa
Nowadays there are so many beautiful sustainable brands. This makes me really happy, because in this way I believe we can also bring about change within the larger population. I just hope that an increasing number of people will see that there is no other way than the green way, because our planet is screaming for change.
The family suite at The Stone House in Bali
The production and consumption of meat has one of the biggest impacts on our planet. The choice of what we put on our plates can therefore have a relatively large positive or negative impact on our footprint.
Thankfully, plant-based food is enormously on the rise and no longer reserved to a small group of tree hugging folks. Rather, the most prominent names in Haute Cuisine (think of Rene Redzepi of Noma who now has a 100% plant based 20 course menu) put focus on plant-based food. Not only because so much variety is possible, but also because it is delicious, and no animal has had to suffer. And perhaps the nicest additional benefit is that you are improving your health as well.
Furthermore, I would advise hotels to offer healthy juices and whole-grain products to their guests and if possible grow their own vegetable and fruit in a vegetable garden or greenhouse.
The greenhouse at Babylonstoren in South Africa
Because locally or in the neighborhood produced items also contribute to a lower CO2 emissions. It doesn’t have to be made from 100% natural materials (but you can of course, think towels made of bamboo or natural/organic care products). And don’t forget to buy second hand/vintage by the way: often cheaper and unique finds.
Which systems should I acquire to make my property more sustainable (reduced water use, LED lighting, lights that switch off automatically after a time period, less washing, green electricity, but also osmosis water in the pool instead of chlorine etcetera).
Make space for your own vegetable garden, vineyard, greenhouse, flower picking garden which guests can also use for an afternoon stroll while at the same time picking ingredients for their dinner.
Nina’s daughter at The Stone House in Bali
Because of our 4-month sabbatical to Bali at the beginning of this year, we are enjoying spending time at home at the moment. Our house is now finally completely finished. So first we are going to enjoy our home. However, secretly we’ve also been talking about our first holiday, maybe to Ekies resort in Greece or our summer holiday house in the forest in Sweden. South Africa is also on our list again and Japan has been on my personal travel bucket list for some years now, but that one will probably have to wait for a few years.