GET­TING THE GREEN LIGHT

At Con­stance Ho­tels and Resorts, en­vi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials are part of the ap­peal.

DestinAsian - - DISPATCHES HERITAGE -

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.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit con­stance­ho­tels.com

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.