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You don’t have to be a big property with a big brand behind you and a full-time sustainability manager to be a brilliant, sustainable hotel.
This year’s sustainable hotel of the year, Cedar Manor hotel in Windermere, has just 10 bedrooms, a 22-cover restaurant and 10 members of staff alongside owners Caroline and Jonathan Kaye. But what the team has in abundance is passion and a willingness to make a difference to the local environment and the planet.
There’s no greater evidence of this than the list of the hotel’s 2018 sustainability objectives – reviewed and updated each year – which feature in the entry for this award.
There are 21 goals in total, ranging from removing all possible plastic from the hotel and installing an electric car charge point, assisting in local litter picks, and adding bird, bat and insect boxes.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Cedar Manor has achieved virtually every one, as being environmentally friendly is not something the hotel takes lightly. Its Green Tourism Gold award is one of the first things you see on its website and in its reception, alongside memberships to a local green auditor and the Considerate Hoteliers Association.
Folders in guest bedrooms contain the hotel’s environmental policy, information on which local charities are supported and even a visitor charter to encourage guests to buy into the great work the hotel is doing. This work includes significantly reducing the property’s carbon footprint over the past two years through effective management of gas and electricity.
A refurbishment of the hotel, meanwhile, was carried out with a goal of creating luxury in an ecological way. All bathrooms have LED lights, dual-fuel towel radiators and restricted-flow taps, while recycled car tyres are used for underlay.
The local community is present wherever you turn in the hotel. Carpets are made from Herdwick and Swaledale wool from the sheep Beatrix Potter re-introduced to her farm in the area, mattresses are manufactured in the North Lakes and 90% of the furniture is made in the village.
The wares of local artists, jewellers and craftsmen are on sale in the hotel and Cumbrian lamb, cheese, sausages, bacon, gin and beer are among the local produce on the menu in the restaurant.
It’s not just guests who are asked to buy in to Cedar Manor’s vision, but suppliers and staff too. The Kayes have written to suppliers annually for the past six years, lobbying for less packaging and for produce to be delivered in a box that will be returned the following day.
Staff, meanwhile, receive annual training on sustainable activities, sign guidelines covering all areas of the business and even receive a guide to making small changes within their personal lives.
What really impressed the judges was the Kayes’ honesty about what isn’t working and their commitment to constant improvement.
“Reducing waste to landfill, but not quickly enough,” is just one example from a highly impressive entry, before listing several ways the team are tackling the challenge.
What the judges said
“This small hotel shows initiative, commitment, passion and full integration with the local area.”
Nuno César de Sá, hotel manager, Rudding Park, Harrogate
“Great long-term commitment of the team and achievements across all sustainability pillars.”
Benedetta Cassinelli, founder, Considerate Hoteliers
Cedar Manor Windermere, Cumbria
Idle Rocks St Mawes, Cornwall
Palé Hall Llandderfel, Gwynedd
Royal Lancaster London
2017 The Oakley Court Windsor
2016 Battlesteads Wark on Tyne, Northumberland
2015 Hub by Premier Inn London
2014 Red Carnation Hotels
2013 The Savoy London
2012 Lancaster London
2011 Battlesteads Wark on Tyne, Northumberland
2010 Langdale Great Langdale, Cumbria
2009 One Aldwych London
2008 Bedruthan Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
2007 Novotel London West