Belmond Partners with Parley for the Oceans

Words by Belmond Editors

We’re proud to announce the start of a multiyear partnership with the global environmental organisation – starting in the heart of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.

Belmond properties the world over are blessed with an abundance of nature – from pristine coastline to rolling hills, dense jungle to kitchen gardens. We’ve always taken the preservation of these ecosystems extremely seriously and are now entering a new era in our commitment to this natural bounty through a multiyear, multi-location partnership with global environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans.

Founded in 2012 by Cyrill Gutsch, Parley for the Oceans has since grown into an international network dedicated to bringing creators, academics and leaders together to protect the world’s largest ecosystem. The oceans cover 70 percent of our planet and contain 99 percent of the world’s biosphere, making them essential for the future of all life on Earth.

Working with Parley, Belmond has identified an initial set of properties with close ties to the oceans – Maroma on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Mount Nelson in Cape Town, La Samanna in St. Martin and Reid’s Palace in Madeira – to spearhead new environmental initiatives that we hope will become common practice across the hospitality industry.

“Every project and partnership we explore at Parley begins with a mutual love for the oceans and a desire to foster closer connections to the natural world,” states Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. “Our alliance with Belmond is not about ‘eco-tourism’ – it’s about redefining luxury travel that is rooted in purpose and the sense of connection to place.”

This ambitious program starts at Maroma, our haven nestled between jungle and sea in the beating heart of the Riviera Maya. The recent renovation at Maroma – led by design doyenne Tara Bernerd – focused on local sourcing and craftsmanship, bringing time-honoured Mayan traditions into the fabric of the building.

The starting point for Parley is also in the local community, creating a team of Ocean Guardians to oversee a range of initiatives at Maroma. Through a series of immersive workshops created in collaboration with Parley’s network, this initiative places local voices at the forefront of ocean conservation efforts, and equips people with the knowledge of the incredible biodiversity found along the Riviera Maya. The Ocean Guardian program at Maroma has joined Hawaii-based non-profit ocean research group The Mega Lab and their community science project Map2Adapt. The program aims to map one million reefs by 2030, providing coastal communities around the world with the ability to create 3D models of their house reefs. Dr. Cliff Kapono and and a team of Map2Adapt trainers have been at Maroma in June to lead the local articulation of their global endeavour to map the world’s coral reefs.

Map2Adapt blends community engagement with education and cutting-edge scientific research, creating a locally embedded project with global significance. The Mesoamerican Reef, which runs just off the coastline of Maroma, is the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, and the new survey is focused on understanding the health of this fragile but mighty ecosystem. With key species including the Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata), Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis), and various brain corals (family Mussidae), the Mesoamerican Reef is an engine of biodiversity in the region.

“Maroma will become an epicentre and facilitator for change,” says Cyrill Gutsch. “It goes far beyond removing plastics from the hotel, this is about recognizing that each hotel isn't isolated but rather an influential part of an interconnected community and ecosystem.”

Photography by Cami Torres / Parley for the Oceans.

Visit the Riviera Maya

Delve deeper into

You might also enjoy