While the words “luxury resort” and “sustainability” may once have been considered an oxymoron, it became one an important pillar in the reopening of Hayman Island by InterContinental. It was not just about delivering exceptional luxury hospitality to all guests, but to the greater surrounds.
The luxury resort reopened its doors as InterContinental on 1 July 2019 after an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017. Led by General Manager Mark Eletr and team, the new era of luxury extended beyond its 166 rooms, suites an villas, its restaurant and bars, and immersive experiences – it spilled into initiatives and innovations that reduced the resort’s carbon footprint and benefited both guests and the Reef.
While the ban on single-use plastics was a welcome start, the resort deepened its pledge to protect its surrounds and committed to a veto on non-reef-safe sunscreen. Announced on World Ocean Day in June, the resort pledged to exclusively supply guests with reef-safe sunscreen in an effort to be actively involved in the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and the wider effects of toxic sunscreen on the world’s oceans. The decision was informed by a myriad of international scientific research on the long-lasting effects of sunscreen ingredients on the world’s reef ecosystem. To strengthen its commitment, Hayman Island brought on Australian-owned We Are Feel Good Inc. products as a biologically-safer sunscreen alternative to offer guests staying at the luxury resort. Education on non-reef-safe sunscreen is also being updated across the resort’s website and in-room guest compendium to engage participation and change.
For responsible tourism to become a meaningful part of the resort, sustainability needed to become an inseparable part of the entire resort journey. One of the most unique is the new glass- to sand-crusher. The technology recycles used glass bottles to make a silicone ‘sand’ product, which is then used across the island gardens.
In-room technology was a critical part of the sustainable journey, and an investment in state-of-the-art thermal systems rolled out across all guest rooms. The automated technology systems ensure thermal efficiency is optimum, and maximum energy in-room is conserved. When guests are not in the room, the lights, air conditioning, curtains, blinds and appliances are adjusted to optimise thermal efficiency and reduce use of energy. A motion censored system is then activated the moment guests return to their room with the system automatically activating the lights/aircon/appliances and opening the blinds – welcoming them back to into a comfortable space. The technology has been carefully designed so the room feels cool and refreshing from the moment they step through the door whilst conserving maximum energy.
Perhaps of the most significant changes in our efforts to conserve and preserve, is the importance of responsible tourism to our guests. A recent Responsible Tourism report cited 80 per cent of all tourism occurs within coastal areas, meaning there is certainly deep need to develop sustainable practices to conserve our surrounds. Similarly, the research revealed travellers are increasingly socially-conscious and want to engage with places they care about.
Hayman Island by InterContinental will continue its pledge to make innovative and effective changes in resort operation, helping to create a sustainable future for the Great Barrier Reef and surrounds.
InterContinental resort is now open and you can find out more here: https://haymanisland.intercontinental.com/