Virgin Limited Edition has been recognised as one of the leading sustainable hotel groups in the world having scored a three-star global Food Made Good rating; the highest accolade from The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). Virgin Limited Edition sits well above the global average on all three pillars that the SRA star ratings are ranked: sourcing, society and environment.
At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking the unique retreats would jeopardise a sustainable lifestyle: Babylon Restaurant sits above The Roof Gardens above the busy streets of Kensington London; Necker Island is a private island situated in the British Virgin Islands; Kasbah Tamadot is a mountain retreat in Morocco; Ulusaba is a private game reserve in South Africa; The Lodge is a chalet in Switzerland; Mahali Mzuri is a tented safari camp in Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem; and Mont Rochelle is a Hotel and Mountain Vineyard in Franschhoek, South Africa.
Virgin Limited Edition is fortunate to be so close to nature at all its hotels and retreats. The locations make the teams even more passionate about protecting the area they live in, supporting it in any way they can. They understand the importance of taking care of the environment, and are extremely sensitive to the impact the properties may have on the local communities within which they operate, so every decision is made with the impact being caused in mind. This includes working to protect the wildlife and habitat as well as community projects.
It’s been an outstanding year for the collection with even more reason to celebrate as 2016 saw Mont Rochelle and Mahali Mzuri receive their first accreditations.
Mahali Mzuri received an exceptional three-star accreditation in its first-ever rating and was commended for scoring an impressive 87 per cent in Society, its highest scoring pillar. The SRA recognised the emphasis the team places on improving the quality of life for people within the local community, as well as working to protect local wildlife and habitats.
The group scored highly in sourcing seasonal produce, ethical meat and dairy as well as sustainable fish. Responsible marketing also scored very highly and is a reflection of the commitment to letting the team and guests know about what they are eating and where it has come from. When creating menus the drive is ‘what’s in season?’, ‘what can be sourced locally?’ and ‘what is great quality?’
In its idyllic setting in the British Virgin Islands surrounded by crystal clear waters it is no surprise that Necker Island scored an impressive 100 per cent for its use of ocean sustainable fish. Necker Island sources seasonally available fish from farms with sustainable certifications so guests can be assured of the freshest fish while being able to enjoy views of the stunning habitat.
Kasbah Tamadot places special emphasis on sourcing local produce, even using local salt, herbs, olive oil and growing their own apples, vegetables and olives.
Throughout the summer The Lodge makes the most of the apricots that are in season to make jam which sees them through the winter. The Lodge was this year shortlisted for the International Food Made Good Champion award.
It doesn’t just stop at the food. Mont Rochelle is in a unique position to be able to serve a wide range of high-quality wines from its own vineyard, as well as from nearby vineyards, supporting local businesses and economies. In London, Babylon makes use of freshly grown herbs from The Roof Gardens and uses local suppliers such as Sipsmiths Gin to create delicious cocktails.
Tristin Swales, Virgin Limited Edition Group Operations Director, said: “We are very happy with the results from this year’s Sustainable Restaurant Association Report. Given the unique location, menu and produce available at each of our properties, we are proud of our strong group-wide result.”
Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said: “Virgin Limited Edition has proved that no matter where in the world a property is situated, it can deliver a sustainable and luxurious experience.”