Southern Spain self guided walking tour

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Southern Spain self guided walking tour

Environment

Our carbon footprint becomes more important everyday which is why we decided to create a low impact, environmentally friendly hotel. By staying at the accommodation you too will be helping preserve the environment and be able to enjoy the sensation created by energy efficient, carbon neutral accommodation while maintaining an excellent standard of quality.

We have created a low impact environmentally friendly building using as much of the original material while introducing modern day elements. The stone in the perimeter walls is from the old house as is the sand used to mix the mortar; the roof tiles were carefully removed and have been reused to ensure the building blends in with the rest of the village when seen from the Peña. We also managed to save enough to use them as wall light in the public areas of the house. All the old chestnut beams and the original front door were renovated by our local carpenters and we actually made a small wardrobe in one of the bedrooms using one of the old doors from the original house. The majority of the furniture used is antique and many an hour was put into restoring it – each room is decorated in a different and rather eclectic way! Lots of the old bottles we are using for decoration were found in the house and as time goes by we continue to decorate the house with items usually found up in somebody’s attic!

Energy:
Our energy is supplied through a company that provides energy sourced 100% through wind power
We reduce our energy consumption through ground source energy and heat pumps for the heating, cooling and hot water of the building. Independent heating and cooling exist in the bedrooms and public areas that can be regulated individually and only used when those rooms are occupied.
All light bulbs are LED and some have sensors so are only used as we pass by. All our electrical equipment is AAA.
We do all our laundry on-site which is always line-dried, usually outside.
Our next project is to install PV panels

Water: Saving every drop!
Rain and well water is collected and stored for use in the toilet flush system, the irrigation of the garden and the swimming pool.
To reduce water and chemical consumption and waste we change towels and sheets every 3-4 days.
All the water taps and showerheads in the establishment are low consumption Hansgrohe Ecosmart taps. These taps consume 5 litres per minute as opposed to regular taps which consume 12 litres per minute.
We also choose a particular washbasin from the makers Roca which has a minimal capacity of 2 litres.
We always ensure that the dishwasher is full before using it.
Our laundry is done on site so as to use the least damaging cleaning products and ensuring that the machines are always full.

Waste:
We recycle glass, tetrabrick, plastics, metal, cardboard and paper using the facilities provided by the local authorities
We have a sorting point for guests in the easily accessible bar area where guests are invited to leave recyclable items
Organic waste is separated and used for compost. Used oil is collected by an official company to be recycled.
Paper is used on both sides and for internal memoranda.
We only print the documents we are obliged to. All our other records are maintained on hard disk.
Bathroom amenities are offered in refillable dispensers.

Products:
We use cleaning products that have the european eco label
Our bathroom amenities are 0% and are produced in the very same province of Huelva
Where ever possible we try to replace disposable plastic products by reusable ones.

Transport:
We encourage our guests to use public transport to reach us, offering to pick them up at the bus station using our own hybrid car. We have produce a video of the whole journey to help people envisage the journey, showing them what to expect.
We are based in one of the largest natural parks of Andalusia and we appreciate where we are very much. The area is ideal for walking and we have created this walking circuit to show off the area, it's white villages, it's people and it's gastronomy. We provide walking notes, maps and general tips for the week so our guests can get the most out of the area, just leaving a simple footprint behind

Community

Alájar is part of Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park, the second largest in Andalucía. We believe that responsible tourism is the best way to preserve this beautiful unspoiled region for future generations. By promoting this area through sustainable tourism we can see the benefits it is having on the village. The area is ideal for walking and we have created this walking circuit to show off the area, it's white villages, it's people and it's gastronomy. We provide walking notes, maps and plenty of information on where to eat for the week so our guests can get the most out of the area, just leaving a simple footprint behind.

On checking in we provide a map where you can find all the shops/ bars/ restaurants along with their opening times and our favourite dishes there!. You will often see fresh eggs left in a plant outside the front door from Paco our neighbour who we buy from at the going rate. We buy as much local produce as possible. In the summer many of the villagers are happy to sell us part of their production from the allotments.

The village has produced a new promotional pamphlet in Spanish and English. We contributed financially towards the production and printing and also voluntarily translated the english version.

As this area is little visited by international tourism and English is not spoken by many we have translated most of the menus in the local restaurants into English over the years and are always willing to help with any changes they make. This enables both our guests and the locals to interact a little more, providing a more authentic experience.

We are members of the Arias Montano association which works to divulge culture and history through various events through the year to both people of the village and area and tourists from further afield. We aim to promote as many of the events as possible in the village and surrounding area through our social networks. We participate in all the fund-raising events through either volunteering or contributing financially.

We have one full time employee who was born in the village. In her first year she completed a training course in chambermaid and reception work receiving a certificate of qualification.

When we need extra help we always find someone available from the village.

Our gardener is also local, he has his own organic nursery and supplies us with all that is necessary to maintain the garden in shape. Maintenance work is also done by local professionals.

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