TRACKING THE FUTURE OF CITIES
You can’t drive there, the pool is full of bugs, and taking a shower gives new meaning to the term “getting close to nature”: This über-green, yet tech-friendly, urban sanctuary, a brisk jog and boat trip from the Bangkok Skytrain, might just be a sustainable-traveller’s heaven on Earth.
And even if you never make it to this luxuriously appointed, bamboo-constructed, tree-huggers’ paradise, tucked away in the “green lungs of Bangkok”, you can still take home and apply many of lessons perfected there.
Lesson 1: Adapt!
Thailand, even in super-urbanized Bangkok, is teeming with prodigal numbers of insects, most of them it seems, winged. Insect repellent – don’t you dare! Here fumigation is forbidden as is chlorine in the pool, so apart from the god-send that is a river breeze, people and pests live in harmonious coexistence. Being in the 21st century means adapting to technology as well – so LED lights only please, a carbon-free, solar cooker for the kitchen, and energy-efficient air conditioners in the rooms exclusively for night-time use.
Lesson 2: Do it local or don’t do it!
Rooftops make for perfect gardens, so produce is grown organically over the bedrooms, and the rest, including shampoo, toiletries and other food products are sourced from local sellers up the river. 100 percent of the electricity used in the restaurant and for outdoor lights are produced on-site with solar panels and wind turbines, and lest we forget, staff members are all from the neighbourhood too.
Lesson 3: Recycle, upcycle, downcycle, whatever you want to call it – make the old new again!
Here, discarded juice cartons were used to insulate walls, abandoned plastic drums were used to build the pier and reclaimed wood was used to build walkways. The hotel also promises to remove a kilo of trash from the river for every stay, while the hotel’s own garbage is reduced through prolific composting, a zero-tolerance for plastic bottles, and a diminutive restaurant menu that offers choice without risking waste.
Lesson 4: Have fun!
Hotel staff will help you plan a picnic in the local botanical park with goodie-filled basket and blanket thrown in. Grab one of the bikes to explore the surrounding “jungle” trails, visit the floating market, or have a taste of some of the free – yes some things in life should be! – locally made, organic ice-cream. And what could be more fun than falling asleep under the stars in your “view with a room”? If only we could all live in the tropics…