Sustainability in practice, Aleenta Resorts, Thailand

Aleenta Resorts
Images by Aleenta Resorts

Since becoming the first hotel brand in South East Asia to go single-use plastic free in 2018, Aleenta Resorts in Thailand continues to be guided by its commitment to being a leader in sustainable, ethical and community-focused hospitality.

Through a combination of hotel and brand-level initiatives including carbon-free cooking, South of Thailand’s first vegan fine-dining restaurant and an exclusive conversation partnership, the three resorts in Hua Hin Pranburi, Phuket Phang-Nga and Chiang Mai offer guests rewarding experiences that speak to their location and make meaningful contributions towards pioneering sustainable hospitality.

Aleenta Resort & Spa Phuket – Phang Nga: Located on Natai Beach, to the north of Phuket island, the resort is just 25 minutes from Phuket airport yet offers a more peaceful and restive experience. The 66 suites and villas provide an ‘outside living-in’ concept that’s complemented by the brand’s largest Ayurah Wellness Centre.

  • In February 2023 the resort opened SEASONS, South of Thailand’s first vegan fine-dining restaurant. Recent analysis by Oxford University has shown that plant-based diets lead to 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution and land use than meat-rich ones. Developed by Chef Luca Mancini, the inventive locavore menu demonstrates how plants are capable of deeper umami-style flavours and champions local producers. These include fourth-generation Rai Dawk Kha Phangnga Rice, organic tofu from Mueang Phang-Nga and Thai ‘grape seaweed’ from a plantation at Sarasin Bridge Phuket.

  • The Andaman Sea is home to four of the seven species of marine turtle – Hawksbill, Green, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The quiet white sand beaches of the Phang Nga coastline are important nesting spots, especially for the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. With turtle numbers still dropping rapidly due to excessive fishing, poaching, habitat issues and pollution, the work done by the Thai Mueang Turtle Sanctuary in partnership with Aleenta is vital. The sanctuary is based at one of the key nesting sites (nesting season is from October to March) and invites visitors interested in turtle conservation to see how injured turtles are rehabilitated, cared for and help release them back into the sea.

  • Building bridges between communities, Aleenta has launched a year-long mentorship program between local Khao Pilai School and the Wellington International School of Bangkok. The initiative includes installing essential IT infrastructure, including wi-fi connectivity, and providing computers and other mobile devices to enable students to connect between the schools and participate in joint discussions about sustainability, assist with homework and other coordinated activities.

Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua Hin Pranburi: A three-hour drive from Bangkok this is a local’s playground on the picturesque Pak Nam Pran Bay. The 26 suites and villas have no TVs, instead guests can focus their energy on nature-oriented activities during the day and star-gazing at night.

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  • Since it opened in 2006, the resort has adopted a SLOW food and cosmetics approach based around its 25-acre organic garden which grows seasonal vegetables and over 50 varieties of herbs. These are used in the kitchen, by the mixologists and also in the spa to prepare in-house oils for farm-to-facial treatments. Guests are encouraged to visit the garden and learn skills like extracting aloe vera spa and folding pandan leaves as well as creating their own herbal ball compress. The resort’s farmer’s market sells fresh produce, handmade soaps, essential oils and artisan goods.

  • What can’t be produced on-site is sourced within 30km and transported to the resort via vegetable oil-powered tuk tuk.The farm also runs an internship program for local students and Bhutanese trainees in sustainable farming and culinary-based hospitality. This includes the resort’s carbon-free cooking techniques, like solar ovens and burying clay pots in the warm sand.

  • Just 30 minutes from the resort is Thailand’s first marine National Park, Khao Sam Roi Yot. The name means ‘the mountain with 300 peaks’ referring to a series of limestone hills along the Gulf of Thailand which border the largest wetlands in the country. Here guests can explore the mangroves on walkways or by boat and assist park rangers with reforestation projects to help maintain this powerful carbon sink and biodiverse ecosystem.

Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai: Opened in April 2023 this award-winning 44-room retreat is located in Chiang Mai’s leafy Umong district and embraces its spiritual roots through a comprehensive retreat program, and mindful excursions to the surrounding temples, mountains, forests and national parks.

  • The retreat was created around the contours of the land and incorporates several ancient teak buildings that were reconstructed after being discovered on the site and originate from northern Thailand’s Lamphun province. They have been brought back to life as the spa, the Garden restaurant, a crafts boutique and a magnificent four-bedroom Golden Teak Villa.

  • In November the retreat launched an exclusive partnership with the nearby Cheongdoisuthep Wildlife and Nature Education Center. Here guests can see the rare animals that have been rescued from smuggling or trafficking and are being rehabilitated back into the wild. Species  include the Slow Loris, Barking Deer and Bos Javanicus Banteng. Guests can watch these and others in the reserve from a discreet viewing platform.

All three resorts are also members of the Pure Blue Foundation, an initiative established by group Founder Anchalika Kijkanakorn in 2010 which supports marine and community-based projects throughout Thailand. Collaborative initiatives include collecting and recycling non-biodegradable used plant oil from the hotels to be transformed into Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and adopting Baan Kuan Ton School where they assist with annual improvements, scholarships, the creation of a vegetable garden and their pledge to become the first plastic-free school in Thailand.

Anchalika Kijkanakorn, Managing Director at parent company AKARYN Hotel Group and named a ‘Hero of Philanthropy’ by Forbes Asia says, “Aleenta means ‘a rewarding life’ and the first Aleenta resort in Hua Hin was my family home so the idea of bringing people into our world and providing them with an immersive and respectful experience was very much part of the vision for the brand. As we’ve evolved and expanded we’ve been able to amplify our sustainable practices and create more collaborative programs – as a brand and within these communities – that not only make a difference but also educate and raise awareness. We’re proud that our inclusive workforce is representative, with 95% of our employees hired from the local area, and we have an equal number of male and female General Managers leading these teams and training them to take on executive positions. Our resorts are recognised by the likes of Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s Considerate Collection, which use GSTC standards to champion actively sustainable properties, and we’ll continue to push the standards for boutique hotels in Asia and the world’.

Tags: Aleenta Resorts, sustainability, Thailand


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