Holistic retreat in Andalucia, Spain

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2019: 25 Nov
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Responsible tourism

Holistic retreat in Andalucia, Spain

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

1. Encouraging vegetarian and vegan guests. We do not serve beef or lamb, the main offenders, and when we serve meat it is not the focal point of the meal. The plants are.
2. It would be impossible to live in this village without a vehicle but we consolidate our trips to Ronda for purchasing, linen collection, etc
3. We grow as many plants as space allows. Not a lot but every little bit helps.
4. We only buy local food and, where possible, ecologically grown.
5. Although we have a clothes dryer, we do not use it except in emergencies. We line-dry.
6. Solar panels heat the water, backed up by a gasoil boiler when the sun doesn΄t shine.

Environment

What we are doing to help the environment
The state of the planet is on our minds and, to do our bit, we have developed our eco policies as listed below. There are limitations to how far we can go given that we are trying to combine a luxurious experience for our guests with a sustainable and low-impact ecological policy. We list below some of the our eco policies that we have adopted:

1. Solar panels heat the water, backed up by a gasoil boiler when the sun doesn΄t shine.

2. Recycling – everything possible is recycled from torn sheets to wine bottles

3. We use only LED bulbs where ever possible

4. Whilst Cartajima has plenty of water, we are ever aware that water is the new gold and we must conserve it. All taps have a purlator to restrict the flow

5. We shop locally using only what is available within a twenty-kilometre radius thus reducing fuel consumption.

6. We purchase in small quantities to eliminate food waste.

7. Although we have a clothes dryer, we keep it only for emergencies when for example a guest needs something dried quickly.

8. PLASTIC – this is a biggie and difficult. We have reduced in some areas and are thinking laterally about other uses of plastic.

9. We have a no disposable products policy and, for example, use only linen serviettes and full size shampoo and gel containers not those tiny disposables one sees in most hotels.

10. The building has been constructed with modern thermal insulation and the windows are double glazed UPVC which close tightly reducing loss of heated or cooled air.

11. All rooms have individually controlled heating and cooling to reduced wasted electricity and the A/C sytem is by heat pumps to improve efficiency

12. We have persuaded a local landowner to let us use a little piece for compost which has seriously reduced what we put in the garbage containers.

13. Unlike most hotels, we do not provide water in plastic bottles. The tap water in Cartajima is straight out of the mountain and perfect for drinking. It is regularly checked by the local authorities and I can show you the most recent report if you are interested. We will provide you a metal water bottle if you are going hiking.

14. We have purchased reusable produce bags for vegetables and fruit purchases.

15. We have reduced our plastic consumption dramatically with innovative solutions.

16. We use no disposable items. Bathroom products for example are large bottles of ecological olive oil shampoo, body oil and shower gel.

Community

In regular meetings with the mayor of this small community, we try to help him explore ideas for generating wealth in the village. We protest about outside workers coming in and environmentally unsustainable plans. We promote tourism to him as the future for the village - a sustainable, useful sort of tourism that will enable the villagers.

We contribute generously to all traditional events in order to assist the village in retaining its cultural heritage. Easter and the summer feria are the two main festivals which we support and encourage our guests to participate.

In an effort to spread the wealth, we encourage our guests to explore the village and patronise the bars and little shops. Each room has a folder with information about what is available in Cartajima, the Alto Genal valley, and in nearby Ronda. Our guests are always culturally sensitive and find that the villagers are eager to talk with strangers - not so many come this way!

Cartajima is a small but thriving community. The town hall, the Ayuntamiento, are doing a great job keeping traditions alive and providing opportunities for youngsters to keep them in the village.

My intention is always to help where I can, employ only local people or companies, encourage villagers to participate in small sustainable tourist enterprises, and do what we can to create entrepreneurial opportunities.

At our Andalucia accommodation we employ only women from our village who traditionally do not have the opportunities available to their male counterparts. We encourage our employees to take as active a role in the running of the accommodation as they can, and hope to offer them training in all aspects of hotel management.

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