Hotel Online  Special Report


3Rivers Lodge in Dominica and Sunscape Casa del Mar
in the Dominican Republic Named the 2005 Caribbean
Hotel Association Green Hotels of the Year


Miami, Florida (July 2005) – The Caribbean hospitality industry’s growth continues to have a major impact on the environment. Sensitizing hotels and fostering a way for them to integrate better social and environmental practices into day-to-day business decisions is a critical first step to preserve the tropical paradise. Working towards that goal each year, the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and American Express recognize those Caribbean hotels that have positioned themselves at the cutting edge of social and environmental responsibility. “Being environmentally conscious is not only important to the community, but it also makes good business sense,” says Dee Rodriguez, Vice President Establishment Services, American Express Latin America and Caribbean Division. “We congratulate the award winners for their enlightened environmental practices which are truly a model for the region.”

The 2005 CHA Green Hotel of the Year Award winners obtained the highest combined scores, based on their performance in the following five criteria: Environmental Management & Stewardship, Infrastructure, Awareness, Conservation, and Health & Safety:

left to right-Dee Rodríguez, American Express; Berthia Parle, MBE, President of the Caribbean Hotel 
Association; and Representative from the
3Rivers Eco Lodge, in Dominica.

left to right-Dee Rodríguez, American Express; Daniel Hernández, General Manager, Sunscape Casa del Mar Resort, Dominican Republic, 2005 Green Hotel of the Year, Large Hotel Category; and Berthia Parle, MBE, President of the Caribbean Hotel Association.
Small Hotel Category
The 3 Rivers Lodge, Dominica

The 3 Rivers Lodge, located in Green Globe-certified and renowned ecotourism destination Dominica, lives by a fundamental goal: to live in harmony with, and have as little harmful impact as possible, on the unspoiled natural beauty of its surroundings and community. Their aim is driven by a belief in their role to protect and enhance the environment for guests, as well as the residents of the local community. Keeping in line with their goals, every aspect of the hotel has the environment in mind. The management embraces a sustainable lifestyle, minimizing the use of all resources, and monitoring all systems.

The sun powers the entire property. Even the water supply is pumped from the river using a solar powered pump, which works in silence to avoid disturbing the surrounding natural habitats.  Likewise, solar hot water heating systems are used. To minimize water consumption, gray water is treated and then re-used in the garden, and campers use dry toilets.

The hotel composts all kitchen and garden waste, and uses that compost to grow as much organic food as possible without the use of chemicals or fertilizers. A truly original invention is the modification of a pick up truck that has been retrofitted to run on used vegetable oil as well as diesel fuel.  With the ‘cooking oil truck’ they have reduced harmful emissions by some 93%, and are able to re-cycle oil that had been previously discarded by local restaurants in local rivers and ravines.

Whenever possible, the hotel avoids purchasing packaged goods. The hotel shops locally, recycles and uses biodegradable products, and tries to keep waste products to a minimum.  Water, electricity, gas, solid waste and paper consumption are monitored daily to continuously find new ways of reducing usage.

An important aspect of 3 River’s philosophy is to involve the local community.  Employees come from local villages, and they are trained in sustainable living. As an Eco-Lodge, the hotel owners feel that community-based tourism is essential in order to ensure that their local friends benefit from the hotel’s existence. Bearing this in mind, the hotel offers a number of local community based activities for the visitors’ enjoyment, which, at the same time, help many native people earn money to provide for their families. The activities give guests a true taste of life in Dominica, as seen by a Dominican, and are as innovative as they are engaging. Some of them include:

  • Learning traditional farming methods and how to make & taste one of Dominica's national dishes - Calalou Soup.
  • A day at an organic herb farm, discovering traditional herbal medicines & remedies, and tasting various bush teas.
  • Coffee and cocoa preparing and roasting – where tourists can take some home at the end of the day.
  • Visits to the local village primary school - getting to know the kids, sharing experiences with them and learning the local history.
  • Band practices with the local Reggae and Calypso stars - The Blazing Squad.
  • Learning to make ancient knitting or flower crafts, among others.
These are just some of the responsible practices that 3 Rivers Eco Lodge proudly undertakes.  As a result, 3 Rivers was voted into the top ten of the Green Globe 21’s "2004 Best Practices Award".  The property also came in 3rd, with a first honorable mention, in the International Hotel & Restaurant Association Environmental Awards.

“Environmental issues concern not just the air we breathe and the water we drink; they also concern our obligation to each other, and to future generations to protect our planet,” said CHA President, Berthia Parle, MBE. “In the Caribbean hospitality industry, businesses that utilize the most solid social and environmental practices benefit communities and save not only our environment, but our heritage as well.”

Large Hotel Category
Sunscape Casa del Mar, Dominican Republic.

Sunscape Casa del Mar - The 2005 Green Hotel Award Winner in the Large Hotel Category, Sunscape Casa del Mar in the Dominican Republic, is successful proof that sound social and environmental practices are a wise business decision. The property has been certified by Green Globe 21 for four years – led by an all-inclusive philosophy that refers not just to their service to guests, but also to the hands-on involvement of the staff at all levels. 

An Environmental Management System is used to set targets and monitor progress on the property’s environmental impact, conservation of water and energy resources, and improvement of the property’s image among the community. All departments continuously assess needs and identify new projects, as well as the allocation of funds to undertake them. Over a three-year period, they proudly show a 23.5% decrease in energy consumption!

Conscientious recycling minimizes water consumption and revitalizes natural resources. When the property was originally developed, many of the natural underground springs and waterways that ran through it were disturbed and became dry. The new management set out to excavate and reforest to facilitate the survival of the springs, also bringing in indigenous fish that keep the waterways clean.

The water from outdoor showers drain into these natural pond areas that have been reclaimed and maintained with the use of a circulation fountain. Lawns and gardens are also watered with recycled gray water that is treated on-site and passed into a holding tank with live fish – a sign that the water is safe for use.

Energy consumption is controlled thanks to the design of all public spaces in such a way that air conditioning is not needed and natural light filters in to illuminate the areas. In addition, solar panels heat the jacuzzis, photo cells power the pathway lights, and key cards in the guest rooms automatically turn the electricity on and off when the guest enters or leaves the room.

Lacking local outlets to recycle many items, the hotel makes up in alternate ways, such as returning all glass containers to their distributor. In addition, they give fallen trees a new life by turning them into benches and other hand-made indigenous crafts that local vendors can sell to guests.

Reaching out to facilitate sustainable outcomes for the surrounding community, the hotel has connected the town’s sewage to the hotel’s sewage treatment plant, ending the days when the community’s black water would drain out to sea. This is the most recent example of their good neighbor policy, which also includes clean ups, reforestation, and beautification projects year-round.

Green hotel Awards Criteria

The “Green Hotel of the Year” awards demonstrate the Caribbean travel and tourism industry’s continued commitment to pursuing sustainable tourism development in the region.  The awards program is designed to encourage investment in environmentally-friendly technologies and sustainable management practices within hotels and resorts by recognizing those properties that have realized significant achievements in “greening” their operations.

A team of qualified environmental experts performed site inspections and evaluated the properties in five categories:

  • Environmental Management & Stewardship takes into consideration the integration of management, the comprehensiveness and accomplishments of the green team, the implementation of action plans as well as plans for the future;
  • Conservation of Natural Resources takes into consideration the hotels ability to implement the principles of the three R’s; recycling, re-use and reduction of wastes, energy and water consumption.
  • Awareness & Community Activities reviews environmental and conservation training programs for the staff, community awareness and outreach programs, the efforts made to communicate the hotel’s conservation and protection policies to guests, and future plans or commitments to act;
  • Infrastructure & Technology  reviews the hotels use of sustainable or renewable energy technologies, the property design, the use of water and energy saving devices, and capital investments made towards greening the hotel;
  • Health and Safety examines the maintenance of relevant equipment, disaster awareness programs and emergency plans, and the use of natural alternatives for harsh chemicals.
The awards program is made possible by the generous contributions of American Express, a Governing Council member of CAST since its inception.

Lorraine J. Ortiz-Valcárcel
Communications Director
Caribbean Hotel Association
1000 Ponce de León Ave., 5th Floor
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
T + 1 787 725.9139 x244

Also See: Caribbean Hotel Association Recognizes Individuals that Raise the Bar for Caribbean Hospitality; Eustace Guishard, GM of Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla Named “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” / July 2005
Bucuti Beach Resort, Aruba and Sandals Negril Beach Resort, Jamaica Awarded for Environmental Management / July 2003

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