Hotel Bon Sol - Mallorca's greenest hotel?
Many hotels pay lipservice to 'green’ issues, but Hotel Bon Sol in Illetas, Mallorca has taken environmental policy very seriously from the original conception of the hotel back in 1953 and long before the ozone layer was a cause for concern.
The original owner of Bon Sol, Antonio Xamena, loved nature and had enormous respect for the natural world and combined it with offering traditional Mediterranean hospitality. Hotel Bon Sol was originally the Xamena family home, a former manor house on the old Bendinat Castle estate on a pine-clad hillside in Illetas, just west of Palma. The house was sympathetically restored and later developed into a hotel business and expanded.
New additions over the years have included a series of tunnels and lifts from the cliff top through the rock down to the sea. A major engineering and environmentally challenging project, this was achieved over a 10 year period with the use of water-boring jet drills and minimum impact on the local environment.
From the outset and at each subsequent stage of development, the main consideration has been environmental impact: Antonio’s principle was simply that each building needed enough green space around it to compensate for the impact on the local environment and that sustainable practices and renewable / recyclable resources such as compost, almond shells, should be used wherever possible. Considering the global environmental concerns that threaten to overwhelm us almost 60 years, later, Antonio Xamena obviously showed incredible foresight. As his son, second generation owner Martin Xamena, claims “We were an environmentally-friendly concern, before the phrase was even invented!”
The hotel belongs to The Association of Sustainable Hotels in Mallorca and is committed to green practices in all areas of hotel management:
- Hotel Bon Sol was the first building on the island to use solar panels in 1968
- Almond shells have been used for heating since the hotel opened in 1953
- Waste refrigeration heat is recycled to heat the swimming pool
- Waste air conditioning heats the water for baths / showers
- Recyled water from baths / showers is used to flush toilets
- The 10,000 sq ft subtropical gardens are cleverly designed and maintained using minimum use of recycled water
- Ensuring the use of home grown / locally sourced produce wherever possible
- The local Council of Calvia recycles sewage, paper, glass, containers, and organic waste
CO2 emissions are a fairly recent global concern, but Bon Sol realised it was important to offset the emissions produced to balance their carbon footprint and began to research a treeplanting project. After several studies, the Xamena family decided the ideal place was Costa Rica where a number of years ago, a vast expanse of Rain forest had been destroyed to provide grazing land that was now depleted.
Research calculated how much CO2 the hotel was producing annually and how many trees were needed to compensate. In 2006, the Xamena family bought land equivalent to 240 football grounds and started to plant trees: half teak and half local rainforest trees.
Bon Sol also calculated the CO2 effect of guests’ flights from different parts of Europe and the estimated amount produced in one week's stay at the hotel. More land was acquired in 2009 and tree planting is now in process. The total amount of land under development is now approximately the size of 520 football fields with 230,000 trees. This project has also created 6 months work a year for 30 local families involved in the planting and maintenance of these new forest areas.
Comments Bon Sol owner Martin Xamena: "Guests visiting Bon Sol not only enhance their own health and wellbeing, but are also contributing to a sustainable future for nature and the environment. We are very pleased and honoured to manage this long-lasting investment for the future on behalf of our valued guests who return to Bon Sol year after year."
For more information and bookings, see: hotelbonsol.es