GETTING THE GREEN LIGHT
At Constance Hotels and Resorts, environmental credentials are part of the appeal.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts made at its six properties across the Indian Ocean, Constance Hotels and Resorts has been awarded Green Globe certification for the third consecutive year. This highlights its commitment to protecting the planet after becoming the first Mauritian hotel group to receive the accolade in 2014. All Constance properties have met at least 89 percent of all Green Globe criteria, far above the required minimum of 50 percent.
In Mauritius, Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince
Maurice heat swimming pools with solar power and collect rainwater for irrigation. The hotels work with local recyclers to reduce waste, particularly plastic bottles and used batteries, while organic kitchen and restaurant waste is composted and used within the hotels or distributed to local planters.
Both properties in the Seychelles combat fresh water scarcity by using solar- powered desalination systems.
At Constance Ephelia, grey water from all the facilities are filtered and used for irrigation, and sprinklers come equipped with sensors that turn off the systems during times of high humidity and rain. To reduce the use of plastics, glass bottles in hotel rooms are cleaned, sterilized, and refilled on a daily basis. The resort also plants mangroves on shore with the support of international wildlife foundations and scientific organizations. The same initiative is carried out at Constance Lemuria on Praslin Island, which has pioneered a turtle conservation program since 1998. The beaches here are important nesting sites for endangered hawksbill and green turtles, and the hard work of both resort staff and the local community has paid off, with an increase in the number of turtle nests each year.
Over in the Maldives, Constance Halaveli produces its own still and sparkling mineral water through an in- house bottling plant that has been operating since 2011. A “reefscaping” coral regrowth program has brought new life to the lagoon around the resort, helping to repair the damage caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Constance Moofushi has also done its part by installing energy- efficient lighting and appliances; switching to non-toxic cleaning products, paints, and sealants; and phasing out disposable tableware. Dishes here are prepared with locally grown organic food as far as possible, with seafood procured from local fishermen who harvest their bounty using sustainable practices.
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white light that briefly appeared in Blitar when Sukarno died in 1970. This anecdote strikes me as being very Indonesian—blurring the line between myth and reality, with a dose of mysticism thrown in for good measure.
We later join the throngs of pilgrims on the steps to Sukarno’s tomb, beneath a soaring three-tiered roof and flanked by the graves of his parents. Most visitors kneel on the polished marble, their eyes closed and hands opened in prayer. Some toss rose petals, jasmine, and
cananga flowers onto the tomb; the sweet aroma of incense wafts into our nostrils.
After touring Penataran and a brief stop at Simping—the mortuary temple of the first Majapahit ruler—Bama and I retire to Tugu Blitar in time for a late lunch. Sukarno was an ardent enthusiast of Javanese culture, and had he been alive today, he would certainly appreciate the hotel’s many references to tradition, from the waitstaff attired in Javanese dress to the snacks served every afternoon at Waroeng Jawa, a shaded, antiques-strewn space that pays homage to the humble warung food stall.
Waroeng Jawa also provides the backdrop for a three-hour cooking class led by chefs Winarno and Musinem, who showcase several Blitar delicacies. The first is nasi pecel— rice with a medley of boiled vegetables in a fragrant peanut sauce, served with a hefty slab of fried tempeh and a
rempeyek cracker. We observe them preparing kotokan kutuk, or freshwater fish slathered in spiced coconut milk, tomatoes, and tart bilimbi fruit. Next up is the coastal treat tahu tek, fried tofu soaked in soy sauce and shrimp paste sweetened by palm sugar. Kue lumpur telo ungu, round “mud cakes” made of steamed taro, flour, and generous portions of coconut cream, give our subsequent meal a sweet finish.
On our final afternoon in Blitar, we return to Penataran. Once the state temple of Majapahit, it is also where the 14th-century prime minister Gajah Mada made his famous oath, the Sumpah Palapa, declaring that he would fast from spices until all the lands of the archipelago were united under Majapahit rule.
As night falls and the last visitors leave the compound, we stay behind for a specially arranged dinner on the temple grounds. Out of sight, Tugu’s chef Winarno prepares an eightcourse rijstaffel meal, as a lone musician plays languorous Javanese melodies on his flute. The air is thick with droplets of mist, presumably from the slopes of Kelud, and in the darkness, flaming torches bathe the temple reliefs in a soft, otherworldly glow. I can almost hear the stones whispering their secrets.
An aerial overview of Constance Halaveli. Clockwise from left: poolside at Constance Le Prince Maurice; turtle conservation at Lemuria Constance; presidential suite sunrise view at Constance Belle Mare Plage.
Above, from left: Traditional snacks served by hotel staff in Javanese dress await each afternoon at Tugu Blitar; an enormous banyan tree marks the center of the alun-alun, Blitar’s main square.