LONDON—Zeal Hotels is planning a new hotel concept which follows sustainable principles from the build and throughout its operation to hopefully create a carbon net zero property. The company is in the process of acquiring a site for a 140+ room new build hotel and the group is targeting the U.K. for further growth opportunities.
Tim Wheeldon, Managing Director, Zeal Hotels, said that the concept has been welcomed “with open arms by planning authorities and we are in discussions regarding several opportunities at the moment.”
“We have been working on the idea of a sustainable hotel for over three years,” Wheeldon said. “The hotel sector is way behind other industries in terms of addressing the issues we face around carbon emissions, around our consumption and activities and we must recognize that, by 2050, we must operate on a carbon net zero basis. As an industry, we have a lot of work to do and it’s going to be a lot easier and more cost effective to operate a new-build hotel at carbon net zero if the property is designed and constructed to carbon net zero in the first place.”
The new hotel development, which is backed by a private investor, will be operated by a third-party management company. The group is in talks over further sites in the U.K.
“We are looking at provincial locations with land, primarily because we need space for the herb garden as well as car parking and EV charging points,” Wheeldon said.
Goal is to Reduce Emissions Rather Than Offset Them
Zeal is targeting carbon net zero, with the hotels seeking to reduce emissions rather than offset them. The challenge includes the construction and operation of the hotels, with Zeal accountable not only for their own emissions (Scope 1 & 2) but the construction and operation supply chains emissions (Scope 3) as well. The deconstruction and reuse of materials after the full life cycle of the hotel is also something Zeal will assess in terms of carbon emissions and financial cost.
“The majority of us are eating less red meat than we did five years ago and we will be adopting a more sustainable menu, which turns around the current thinking on the typical F&B offering,” Wheeldon said. “Over the last 10 to 15 years most menus have been split into 70 percent meat and 30 percent vegetarian and vegan food. We are going to reverse this in favor of non-meat dishes, while also ensuring that as much as possible is locally sourced, including drinks.”
“Eating out is an event and it’s always good to experience local produce,” Wheeldon said. “The restaurant will be a destination and part of the concept will be eating outside, which is something people have embraced over the past two years. You will be able to sit out on a patio deck area, or next to the herb garden; there will be several ways to enjoy al fresco dining.”
The appreciation of fresh air during the pandemic helps to support the decision not to include air conditioning anywhere in the hotel. Wheeldon said: “People like the ability to open windows and you will be able to throughout the hotel. Air conditioning systems utilize considerable amounts of energy and in the U.K. there is little justification for using it.”
“The planning application for our first Zeal Hotel will be submitted within the next few weeks and we will provide further information at this stage,” Wheeldon said.