How Barbados is leading a new path for sustainable travel
While most hotels in Barbados now have rooftop solar panels for heating and hot water – in line with the government’s 2030 target – Mango Bay, an all-inclusive package in Holetown, is on its way to go further and become the first on the island to adopt solar electricity, with a large-scale off-site photovoltaic power plant expected to be completed by the end of the year. Its owner, Peter Odle (a Bajan national who also owns the Sands and Island Inn hotels nearby), insisted on reinvesting in Barbados, rather than funneling money overseas like most resorts. foreign seaside resorts on the island; 75 percent of its suppliers are local, and a company-owned organic farm helps preserve the country’s agricultural practices.
It is therefore not surprising that the recent renovation of the hotel was aware: air conditioning units without HFCs (the most classic emit harmful greenhouse gases) have been installed; all cleaning products and toiletries in the room are now environmentally friendly; and staff members direct the weekly beach cleaning.
In the hilly district of Scotland, on the less-visited south-east coast, a 53-acre agroforestry project by Indian filmmaker Mahmood Patel is set to set the benchmark for eco-friendly hospitality in Barbados. A farm-to-table restaurant, Mamu’s Café, sources fruits, eggs and vegetables from Coco Hill – the Patel Fruit Forest, which uses permaculture, vertical farming and biodynamic methods to harness and maintain ecosystems unique to the area – and even offers foraging tours for guests as part of their meal.
Nearby, Freights Bay is popular with novice surfers, but guests – who tend to stay in one of the project’s 25 self-catering Ocean Spray apartments – opt for guided hikes and tours of lush Coco Hill; it is the tallest peak in the forest (sitting at 1,085 feet) and offers panoramic views of the rugged east coast.
Visitors to Bathsheba, the surfing capital of Barbados on the east coast, tend to head to one place: ECO Lifestyle & Lodge. The only hotel in the Caribbean to receive a Snail Award for its slow food, its restaurant is becoming increasingly popular for its pescatarian and seasonal plant-based menus, as well as for a lively Sunday brunch (book well in advance) . It’s also great for slow trips, with tourists settling in for the long haul; when they’re not taking breaks on the water you’ll see them running stuff behind laptops in and around the property or drying off in the Cob Sauna (made of clay soil, sand, straw and heated stones wood stove). The hotel has an independent vibe in part thanks to its staff, including founder Kyle Taylor, who these days is also focusing his attention on a new venture – a compostable bottled water company that supplies luxury hotels across the island.