There is growing concern about environmental awareness around the world, particularly with hot topics like global warming and plastic waste, and hotels are increasingly doing their part to save the planet. The elimination of plastic straws and the disposal of plastic water bottles are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a hotel in Vietnam that goes above and beyond in terms of environmental stewardship without sacrificing style or comfort. And it does it admirably.
Topas Ecolodge is a small lodge on the top of a beautiful hill in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, just 45 minutes from Sapa in northern Vietnam. It offers cool bungalows with a private balcony with a magnificent view of the huge peaks and endless valleys dotted with ethnic minority villages.
Topas believes that the environment and the local community should benefit first and foremost from their activities, and rather than making a symbolic donation or planting a few trees here and there, they are committed to producing real, long-term benefits. The hotel works closely with the local communities while collaborating with DANIDA, the Danish Development Cooperation, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and becoming a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Two large buildings were constructed to house their employees, with areas for growing and cooking their own vegetables.
Almost all of the hotel’s purchases come from local farmers or from the farm and vegetable garden. Local farmers receive food scraps to feed their animals, and cans and boxes are distributed to the community for reuse. They purchased a glass grinding machine to convert the bottles into reusable fine sand for construction and maintenance work, and they use energy-saving light bulbs to reduce their electricity consumption. They also opened a wastewater treatment wetland, and the waters are purified through a biological process using plants and sand. This system prevents the growth of non-natural algae in the local ecosystem. In addition, an organic filtration system treats and purifies wastewater in septic tanks.
The hotel also provides access to education and training to the local population, is the main sponsor of the village school, and provide it with books and writing material. They also share their knowledge and experience with other organizations and schools such as the United Nations International School in Hanoi. Finally, when they organize regularly major events, such as for example the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM), and use the revenue to help the population in needs. Lately they even created a special beer. To create this special beer, Topas has worked with 7 Bridges, a craft beer company because its support for good causes including Blue Dragon Foundation, one of their own charity partners.
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