Sustainable by tradition – CGH Earth Coconut Lagoon
In our serie „sustainable by tradition“, I look behind the scenes of the sustainable Green Pearls® Hotels. I would like to know more about the long traditions and history behind the properties and hosts, that make the hotels what they are today: unique green pearls. This second episode of the series leads us to Kottayam in India, where the Coconut Lagoon Resort awaits us with traditional architecture and values.
The resort is part of the family enterprise CGH Earth, which was founded in 1954 with the Casino hotel in Willingdon Island, Cochin. What began as a small hotel for the Port’s visitors has evolved into a large component of tourism that fully respects nature and local ethos. From the Casino hotel, the company CGH Earth evolved in 2004 to offer sustainable travel experiences in exciting destinations.
To do his father a favor, Jose Dominic took over the role as Managing Director, but did not plan on staying in the hotel branch long. The more time flew by, the more Jose Dominic was persuaded by the philosophy and concept – and decided to stay in the company. The Dominics agree that luxury includes an interest for the environment and local people. This basic approach of the host family is represented in the philosophy of the CGH Earth properties. One could say that next to the abbreviation of “Casino Group of Hotels“, „CGH“ stands for the main values of the enterprise – Clean, Green, Healthy!
At Coconut Lagoon, you can sense the spirit of tradition and history at every corner. Especially the distinctive architecture of the mansions tells a story of passed times: Some of these mansions are over 150 years old, and were rebuilt here from ruins of old houses. Beam by beam and timber by timber, the completion of the restoration demanded several years and love for details. The houses were initially established by artisans, whose descendants had to be located for the reconstruction. Unfortunately there are not many craftsmen left that have the ability to exercise the old crafts. Finally, craftsmen in their 60’s were instructed to create the styled woodwork and fine detail of the mansions. Coconut Lagoon Resort is the result of their skill, patience and devotion.
By using local building materials, the use of cement, tiles, wood and steel structure material is reduced. Instead, around 4000 pieces of straw from local markets are used yearly for the roofs of Coconut Lagoon’s houses.
Despite century old architecture, the Coconut Lagoon is equipped with modern energy techniques to save energy with the help of solar systems and a bio gas system. Great emphasis is put on material and waste reduction: Suppliers are encouraged to supply their products in recyclable containers instead of plastic packaging. The paper use is reduced to a minimum and toiletries are provided in reusable packaging. Food waste of the restaurants and staff kitchen is manufactured in the own biogas plant.
In accordance with the philosophy, local employees are hired and also regarding food, it is paid attention to regionality. As authentic as it gets? Well, to get an impression of the local life, guests are encouraged to participate in cultivation initiatives at the organic rice fields and tree plantation initiatives within the resort or in the neighbouring region.