Wealthy tourists are saving water like locals‚ say top Cape Town hotels

08 January 2018 - 12:01 By Timeslive
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
Image: Supplied/Protea Hotels

Ultra-luxury hotels in Cape Town say well-heeled international visitors are doing their bit to conserve water.

“I’m very happy to say that the majority of the luxury hotel market has bought into the process and the majority of our international guests have also understood what we’re trying to do‚” Jeff Rosenberg‚ head of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa‚ told Quartzy.

“I know of certain instances in luxury hotels where the manager has gotten very firm with the guest in explaining the reasoning behind it. One guest actually checked out and went to another five-star hotel‚ where they ran into the same situation.”

The association has launched a WaterWise Pledge to give hotels conservation tips‚ and Rosenberg said that although a small minority of travellers had complained‚ the reception had been overwhelmingly understanding.

Richard Lyon‚ general manager of the One & Only at the V&A Waterfront‚ told Quartzy: “It would be irresponsible for us to not fully partake in all the water savings that we can just because we’re in the ultra luxury segment.”

He said the hotel had already cut water consumption by more than 30% and aimed to increase the saving to 50%.

Changes hotels have made include switching to low-flow shower heads and taps‚ washing cars less frequently‚ converting fountains into rock gardens‚ topping up swimming pools with recycled water‚ using native and/or succulent plants‚ collecting unused water from ice buckets and half-empty water bottles and washing linen every few days or once per stay rather than daily.

Said Lyon: “We’ve taken the bath plugs out of our baths. But if somebody says ‘I’ve got a medical condition‚ I need to bath rather than shower’ — or they really want their linens changed every day — then we’ll work with them. But that’s the very small minority.

“If you look at our guest satisfaction scores‚ we are tracking higher for every month than the year prior. I think people actually get quite a bit of pleasure from feeling like they’re making a contribution.”

The Twelve Apostles Hotel‚ the Cape Grace and another unnamed five-star hotel told Quartzy they had implemented similar steps.