Five-star Pullman Luang Prabang recently launched its first annual Sustainability Guide, designed to introduce and encourage guests and a wider global audience to experience the city’s celebrated sustainability ethos.
The former Lao capital has long been renowned for its deep connection to cultural heritage, tradition, and community — all of which have fuelled the rapid take-up of sustainable practices in recent years, especially within the hospitality sector. It, therefore, came as no surprise when, shortly after opening in 2018, Pullman Luang Prabang began to champion, and establish partnerships with, community-based tourism enterprises and organic farms, as well as introducing its own initiatives in tandem with the city-wide efforts.
“Everything here is about preservation and this mentality is deeply rooted within the community, laying the fundamentals for openness towards sustainable practices,” says Denis Dupart, the resort’s general manager. “Beyond our own efforts, we wanted to showcase this collaborative spirit and ensure our guests and other visitors to Luang Prabang appreciate how unique this destination is.”
The decision to highlight these success stories in the guide also chimes with AccorHotels’ global sustainable development program, Planet 21, which promotes onsite and community-based practices, eco-design, the use of environmentally-friendly products and locally-sourced ingredients for the kitchen and spa.
But it is Pullman Luang Prabang’s hyperlocal approach to sustainability that forms the basis of the guide. Such initiatives include the development of an expansive onsite garden that supplies the resort’s all-day dining restaurant, L’Atelier, with an abundance of fruit and vegetables.
Other ingredients, meanwhile, are locally-sourced from the city’s famous morning market and organic farms such as Living Land, with the exception of some highly unique — to Laos at least — dairy products. For its mozzarella, ricotta, feta, blue cheese, and yogurt needs, the report calls on the services of Laos Buffalo Dairy, the country’s first dairy farm. The socially-responsible enterprise rents local buffalos for dairy production, providing local farmers with a steady income and training on how to effectively care for the valuable animals. It welcomes individuals and groups to experience the interactive farm, dairy facilities and of course the delicious products firsthand.
Pullman Luang Prabang also organizes its own interactive experiences, namely seasonal rice cultivation classes for families and corporate groups, as well as complimentary tours of the organic garden that can be booked at reception. After the harvest, the rice husks, a byproduct of the cultivation process, are donated to the MandaLao Elephant Conservation camp — another admirable program that combines responsible tourism, animal conservation, and local community involvement.
In addition to joining in with the hands-on activities at the 123-room resort, guests can explore the onsite craft store, which features products from other local partners including Ock Pop Tok. Launched in 2000 by local Laos weaver Veo Douangdala and British photographer Jo Smith, what initially began as a small-scale venture selling a handful of designs has evolved into one of the most successful, socially-responsible and sustainable startups in Laos. It now operates stores throughout Luang Prabang and a nearby handicraft center on the banks of the Mekong River.
Dupart explains that collaborative efforts to ensure sustainable practices are effective in the city to go way beyond the private sector. “Both the public and private sectors are aware of the importance of retaining Luang Prabang’s authenticity while still growing in a sustainable way. If tourism in the city fails, we all lose, so it’s essential that this is done properly.”
Recent accolades received by Pullman Luang Prabang suggest it already doing its fair share to ensure the city’s future remains green. The resort was the only property in Luang Prabang to be awarded the Green Hotel Standard Awards at the seventh annual event in January. The recognition covers a wide range of areas such as waste and water management, use of green products, human resources, pollution control, and energy efficiency.
Indeed, Pullman Luang Prabang operates in a way that is fully integrated with its eco-system. Guests can, therefore, rest assured that the food they eat is locally sourced, the water they use is treated and recycled and that everyone in the supply chain benefits from the success of the resort.
Moreover, guests receive a complimentary copy of the first annual Pullman Luang Prabang Sustainability Guide upon arrival and can schedule private and group day tours to discover for themselves all the attractions and enterprises featured in the publication and that makes the city one of southeast Asia’s most sustainable destinations.