Tucked into an idyllic cove of green and blue hues on the south coast of Turkey, Hillside Beach Club is taking steps to improve its eco efforts from the top of the bottle-green pine forest to the bottom of the ocean floor. Through internal production lines, local employment and guest incentives, the luxury Fethiye hotel has set out to help each guest give back to the area during their stay. In 2021, the hotel’s new sustainability department will carry out pioneering eco-initiatives, consulting with marine biologists, environmental engineers, energy efficiency experts and even firefighters. Here’s how Hillside is going green…
Run for Green
For the past 20 years, Hillside has worked with Turkey's Ministry of Forestry to plant one tree for every guest visiting for the first time as well as one tree for every couple who honeymoon at the resort. As of 2020, the resort has planted 212,000 seeds in the Hillside Forests in Fethiye and different regions around it. With Hillside’s weekly running club, guests can go the extra mile to reduce their carbon footprint whilst enjoying the stunning Turkish coastline. With Hillside pledging to plant a tree for every kilometre a guest clocks up, the project acts as an incentive to keep fit whilst helping the planet. Those averse to running can still experience the best of the great outdoors with Hillside’s top of the range electric bikes and brand-new routes for hiking, trekking and biking.
Technology as a Lever
Hillside uses advanced technology and creative ingenuity to make a positive environmental impact wherever possible. The team regularly clean the bottom of the ocean with a specialised diving team and use wastewater left after restaurant service for garden irrigation. When it comes to managing waste, the team at Hillside separate all glass, paper, metal and plastic, before sending it across to a local biomass facility that converts solid waste into electricity. At the resort itself, advanced energy-saving systems are in place for electrical and air conditioning systems with time- sensitive warnings encouraging guests to reduce towel use. The resort offers zero-touch services with the Hillside Beach Club App, with access to virtual newspapers, activity reservations and seamless check-in all central to eliminating paper usage. Guests can even find digital spending cards in the Hillside app, which, along with a shift to performing transactions via iPad, has resulted in the reduction of resort club cards by 95% this year.
In the past year, the team at Hillside have focused on product swaps and development such as the removal of all disposable items to eliminate waste and reduce product consumption. 2021 has seen the introduction of biodegradable bottles in all bathrooms, environmentally friendly fabrics replacing plastic bath fibres, recycled paper employed where possible and resort products such as slipper and dress bags replaced with eco options.
For People and Planet
The team at Hillside strive to empower local people as well as the local environment. Supporting production in neighbouring villages has always been a priority, with the hotel having a 40% share of local business in the Muğla province. To support producers in Fethiye, the hotel’s Sustainable Agriculture Project ensures qualified crops are planted in local fields and are then purchased for use at the resort. An incredible 76% of the Hillside team and 60% of the hotel’s service providers are based in the beautiful region of Fethiye and the hotel frequently takes candidates on for a two-month vocational training programme where keen students can bolster their skill set with hospitality and foreign language training. Those guests hoping for a taste of local discovery can look forward to attending Hillside’s Turkish Night every Sunday – a chance for local people to present their art and handicrafts to attendees, meaning guests gain a valuable insight into the fascinating customs of the surrounding region and locals are given a platform to share their work.
Hillside Beach Club offers a myriad of ways to give back to nature and a rare opportunity to connect with the local community. Through constant improvement and a creative team of problem solvers, the hotel has achieved a total of ten sustainability certificates including the Travel Life Gold Certificate, awarded by ABTA, given to just 1000 hotels in the world today and only obtained by meeting 160 pieces of sustainability criteria. From tree planting schemes to employee training and product development, the team at Hillside have made regenerative travel a real possibility for green minded guests in 2021.