Years ago I had a trip that took me from the United States to Iceland to Denmark. I must have come close to flying over the Faroe Islands. They are located about halfway between Iceland and Norway and are an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
I come across quite a few new and cool green hotel projects each week—even during this pandemic—and the Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands was one that caught my eye. It opened last October. I recently corresponded with Kate Mikesell, VP Corporate Responsibility, Hilton, and Martin Restorff, General Manager of the hotel, to learn about what makes the hotel particularly unique. You can read my entire article here but here are a few highlights:
The energy for the heating system comes from the local powerplant. The plant captures leftover energy from a range of industries, including turning waste from the Islands’ thriving salmon fishing industry into energy. This energy is used to power the hotel’s heating system. Electricity for the hotel is sourced from national supplier SEV. SEV seeks to use as much green energy as possible, capitalizing on the windy climate of the Faroe Islands—and the fairly regular supply of rainfall. On particularly wet and windy days, the country’s energy supply is almost 100 percent green. SEV shares a daily tracker on its website so anyone can see what proportion of energy is being captured from renewable sources on any given day.
The hotel’s roof is covered in grass from local land, blending the hotel into the scenery. This green roof provides multiple environmental benefits including insulating the building (reducing heating requirements), improving stormwater management, providing erosion protection, and contributing to biodiversity. Local stone was also used for the structure of the hotel.
Crops Grown Using Polytunnels
There are LEDs throughout, bulk soap dispensers reduce plastic waste, and motion sensor taps in guestrooms keep water costs low. Underfloor heating conserves energy and the hotel is installing the islands’ first electric car charging station. Most of the hotel’s meat, fish and vegetables are sourced from local suppliers, which helps to reduce reliance on imported goods. The climate and soil of the Faroe Islands do not lend well to agriculture, so to ensure the best possible supply of locally sourced fruit and vegetables, many crops are grown using polytunnels. Polytunnels work in a similar way to a greenhouse, creating a microclimate that provides the higher temperatures and humidity required to grow crops.
Restaurant Hallartún is founded upon seasonality and local sourcing, both of which are important considerations in line with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals. This is a real draw for guests and something that is promoted heavily. As well as a range of classic dishes, the restaurant has a dynamic menu which changes regularly, focusing on showcasing the best seasonal fish, meat, and vegetables.
I asked G.M. Martin Restorff how business has been since the hotel’s opening. He told me: “The Faroe Islands has mandatory pre-travel testing, testing and self-isolation upon arrival, and a second test six days after arrival. These measures mean we have been able to live quite normally on the islands, with limited cases.”
During this challenging time of travel to the Faroe Islands, hotel associates have had a unique opportunity to spend time integrating into the local community. Restorff added: “Since opening, we have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming locals to the hotel to show everything we have to offer—and we have been busy! As the first internationally branded hotel on the islands, Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands has created a real buzz in the community, and it has been great to be able to host so many locals for short breaks and dinners at our restaurant. That said, we are very much looking forward to welcoming international guests to the hotel so they can experience these unique islands as soon as possible.”
A big thank you to Kate and Martin for introducing me to their unique hotel.
Green Lodging News Welcomes WaterBox to Green Product & Service Directory
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