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New Golf Course at Villa del Palmar a Reflection of Resort’s Commitment to Sustainability

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ISLANDS OF LORETO, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO—When the Danzante Golf Course opens at the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto on February 14, it will operate with the least amount of environmental impact possible. The 7,400-yard Rees Jones-designed course on the Islands of Loreto, Baja California Sur in Mexico, was designed to work with the natural beauty and serenity of its surrounding environment. Where possible, plants that were removed during the construction of the course were transplanted and relocated throughout the golf course to maintain native landscaping. Those plants that were unable to be transplanted were used as compost and reintroduced to the area’s soil. Organic fertilizers, not hazardous chemicals, are being used to maintain the course.

The golf course is just part of a 4,487-acre complex that has sustainability as a core emphasis. Thirty-eight solar rooftop panels preheat water for the 181-room Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto resort. The panels help to reduce the use of LP gas, according to Sixto Navarro, General Manager. A seawater purification system collects and purifies water from the Sea of Cortez for use throughout the resort. The desalination plant, which sits in the basement of the resort hotel, mitigated the need to create a 30-mile water pipeline from the town of Loreto to Danzante Bay.

“Our plant has the capacity to produce 100,000 liters a day,” Navarro says. Water is pulled from a 100 foot deep beach well. Through reverse osmosis, water that is 99 percent salt free is produced. Calcium carbonate and chlorine are added. “When we have hurricanes, we supply water to the local community,” Navarro adds. As part of a back-of-the-house tour, guests can see the desalination plant.

On-site Wastewater Treatment Facility

About 35 percent of greywater is recycled at an on-site wastewater treatment facility. The treated water is used to water plants. Water can also be sent to an artificial lake at the new golf course. Water there is used for golf course and plant irrigation.

More than 500 solar lamps illuminate walkways and corridors and recycling is practiced on property. “We teach our employees how to recycle,” Navarro says. “We also teach people from the neighboring village to recycle.”

The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto resort has three restaurants—The Market Restaurant, Casa Mia and the fine-dining Danzante Restaurant. For those restaurants, associates maintain an on-site vegetable and herb garden. Carrots, lettuce, celery, tomatoes and radishes are some of the items grown. Cooking lessons are offered to guests and guests have an opportunity to harvest the vegetables and herbs. Another example of local harvesting is the resort’s procuring of fish such as sea bass and yellowtail from local fishermen.

The resort currently employs 245. Those associates needing help with school certification can get it at the resort. One hour of an associate’s day can be spent getting educational assistance from a teacher. Children of associates can learn English at the resort on Saturdays.

“We are really proud of the initiatives,” Navarro says. “We love to help our local community.”

Go to the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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