A Brighter Future
Shining a Light on Planet Earth
Two special events—World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour and Earth Day—form a focus of year-round endeavours to help our planet survive. Belmond is preparing to lend its support to the action.
For one significant hour only, the lustrous chandeliers are extinguished and old oak panelling gleams in flickering candlelight. But this is no mere atmospheric occasion: the elegant restaurant at Cape Town’s Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is set to turn its back on electricity to mark WWF Earth Hour.
Every year on 30 March, from 8.30-9.30 in the evening, thousands of buildings around the world switch off their lights in symbolic concern for our planet’s future. Belmond’s rose-painted retreat at Cape Town’s heart joins many of its sister hotels worldwide – and global landmarks from the Eiffel Tower to Sydney Opera House – in adding its voice to the throng.
For 2019, Lord Nelson Restaurant guests will enjoy the subtle lighting while feasting on Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s cutting-edge menu. The innovative dishes feature produce from the community farmers the hotel supports.
Earth Hour provides a focus for a range of socially responsible projects that help protect resources at the hotel year-round. These include a vigorous water conservation programme that has reduced usage by 40% and the installation of LED lighting that has resulted in substantial savings of energy.
From an hour to a day
Earth Hour is followed on 22 April by a second environment-driven movement: Earth Day. Since it began in 1970 this global event has grown to involve more than 1 billion people in what has become the world’s largest civic-focused day of action. In 2019 it will direct attention to the preservation of threatened and endangered species.
Inspired by this call to action, the team at Mexico’s Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa plan to celebrate the day by cleaning their beautiful beach. One of several similar action days year-round, it helps protect the nests of native marine turtles who lay their eggs in the silvery sand. The hotel works with a local conservation organisation that last year helped 5000 hatchlings to make their way to the sea.
Around the Belmond world
Many other Belmond hotels and trains are taking the opportunity to focus on their environment.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire will turn off its lights for Earth Hour in a symbol of commitment to the planet and a more natural way of life. Guests can take advantage of the lengthening spring days to stroll the gorgeous gardens - then dine in the dusk on produce they see growing in its potager.
Over in Brazil, for this one hour only, the legendary dazzle will be dimmed. Both Belmond Copacabana Palace and Belmond Hotel das Cataratas will turn off the lights on their famous facades – while the Rio landmark will go a step further and plunge the restaurant and swimming pool into darkness, too, as candles flicker on.
Our Belmond hotels in Peru have been participating in Earth Hour since 2015, starting with Lima’s Belmond Miraflores Park. Other Peru hotels have since joined in the action, most notably Cusco’s Belmond Hotel Monasterio, whose centuries-old history glows out in the candlelight. This year sees the Belmond Hiram Bingham and Belmond Andean Explorer trains turn down their lights, too, as they journey through the Andes in the night.
On Earth Day, the team at Belmond El Encanto will volunteer at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, working on a project to help control invasive, non-native species. The garden is new to the hotel’s extensive community calendar, which also embraces regular habitat restoration days at the Channel Islands just offshore and help for environments that have suffered from natural disasters including floods and fires.