Iberostar provided tremendous efforts to become greener. At Praia do Forte, staff and facilities are moving towards sustainability rapidly.
We were particularly curious to discover more about their practices, especially because we had never interviewed an all-inclusive resort and we were curious to know how they handle waste especially. We got the possibility to visit the backstage of the resort. The resort is not yet certified green hotel but aims to be by mid-2016.
We met with the vice director Mirsha and Margareth, the green manager. They replied to all our questions openly and gave us the possibility to stay at the hotel which allowed us to make a full review on their sustainability practices from the bedroom to the outdoor facilities.
How to get there?
To get to Praia Do Forte, you can leave from Salvador via Onibus (linhea Verde or booked via your hotel there) to Praia Do Forte. The journey last 1h30 (most of the time it is 2hours) and cost around 70R$ per person. Or you can take a public bus for 6R$ but the journey will last minimum 3h as it stops everywhere. Then from Praia Do Forte town, you have about 8.5Km left to Iberostar. That will need to be done by car. So if you arrange it earlier, the hotel could arrange a transfer for you or you can grab a taxi in the town. It is 15min away from Praia Do Forte by car.
Iberostar owns about 200 hectares in this area. Only 10% of it is constructed, the rest remains to the nature and the native flora and fauna. The painting used is water-based. The hotel has sponsored the restoration of the municipal park nearby. The furniture is apparently given away to associations when damaged or not suitable for costumer usage anymore. Of course this whole area is protected as it is part of the linhea verde, a very important coast line for the marine biodervisity such as turtles. The hotel has been built respecting the regulations, meaning no bar on the beach, no major constructions near the beach either and restauration of native vegetation. The building is not certified green though, but they are apparently investigating that. We’ll keep you updated whether or not they get a green certification.
They use electric cars to circulate within the resort, which keeps clients away from toxic exhaust gas.
Brazil is a complicated country when it comes to food certifications. There is a national label for organic food. But the food in Iberostar Praia Do Forte and Bahia is not certified at all. There are no labels of sustainability and they do not track the origin of the meat they serve. Of course, they do have vegetarian options but there is no specific organic/vegetarian nor vegan corner in the restaurant.
We wished for labelled food. None of the food is sustainably supplied. The process to get a certification will be long as they will have to change food supply too. They are currently investigating to get the Cristal certification.
The management of the hotel certified that all the lighting was 90% LED. There are motion sensors in the bedroom that turn on/off the lights depending on the activity in the room. There is no card switcher only those motion sensors. We haven’t been able to verify if they really work or not.
The hotel also uses soar panels to heat the water for the showers and the SPA. Thery are also using low-electricity consumption appliances like for the minibar Dometic.
The hotel recycles glass/ plastic / aluminum/ food. We had the opportunity to see where the hotel puts all the garbage. The kitchens and restaurants recycle and staff is trained for that. Unfortunately, there is no recycling in the “public” area (meaning clients don’t have the opportunity to recycle their own garbage). There aren’t any sorting waste bins anywhere. The management told us they will change that to make sure to recycle at least 75% of the hotel waste. We’ll keep you updated.
There is no bar on the beach to prevent any waste to end into the see. This not from the hotel will but because of the Ibama legislation that forbids hotels on the linhea verde coastline to implement structures on the beach.
Despites hotels good will, we saw a lot of trash on the beach and nearby the hotel. The hotel also distributes disposable to its customers especially plastic straws! We were actually very shocked to see so many self-service plastic disposables. That is terrible especially so close to the sea and to turtles for whom plastic is a real threat (they confuse it with their favorite dish, the jellyfishes).
The waste management in this hotel is at a transition. Disposables need to be changed, the beaches need to be cleaned (the hotel doesn’t want to do it as the beach is public, it is supposed to be done by the municipality). We wish the hotel take more proactive actions cleaning and making sure to use sustainable disposable.
The food waste is pretty big; but they do use it as compost.
The rain water is collected for gardening. Even though we haven’t seen low-flow showerheads but they do have recent toilets with 1.6 gallons per flush toilets.
The pest management is done via a cat’s community. In the hotel, you will find some free cats walking around. They come from a shelter and have been rehabilitated on the resort territory to hunt miles and have a natural pest management. Brilliant idea, but people keep on being suspicious about the reason why there are cats in a hotel. Please be aware you should not feed them as they are supposed to hunt for living.
Regarding laundry and cleaning, the hotel told us they are using Ecolab products which has an ecofriendly policy. Unfortunately, the toiletries in the bedrooms are not organic nor biodegradable.
There is chlorine in the swimming pools, and we are not sure about the insecticides usage in the gardens.
The hotel does a lot for the community. They donate old towels and other home sheet to charities. 40% of the staff comes from the local communities. The hotel provide housing to their employees and takes them home once a week with the hotel bus.
Regarding the environment, the hotels also supports local projects such as the project Tamar. As they built the hotel on a natural reserve, the hotel has created a small research program together with the Tamar project called Tamarinho. You can visit it easily by just walking along the beach. The resort has implemented once per week an educational program for kids about the project and the importance of saving the turtles.
The resort also organizes once in the month a “Clean the beach” day. Everybody is invited to clean up the trash on the beach. And they also have every year a “save the planet” day.
Near the resorts, there is a park which has been restored together with the hotel and the municipality. The hotel built a bridge inside the park.
Review of a resort | Iberostar Praia Do Forte; a brazilian resort on a green transition
- Service: Most of the clients of the resort come from Brazil. They have very little foreigners. They mostly speak Spanish or Portuguese. Only some members of the staff spoke English or French. We did an early check in because we had to meet with the management of the hotel at 1pm. So we had only little time to change and get ready. We got the room on time but not the luggage which arrived about 1h later. The staff is friendly and smiling, making you feel welcomed, which we really appreciated. The only thing that we found a bit of a pity is the constant waiting at the pool bars to get the drinks. Besides that, we were satisfied with the service. We asked for some room service, it was fast and efficient. We really appreciated that the managers of the hotel made themselves available to explain to us everything on how the hotel was working.
- Bedrooms: Beautiful and spacious bedrooms with a terrace. Bathroom with shower and bathtub. There is a large wardrobe and a safe deposit. The minibar is filled and of course as it is an all-inclusive, you can drink all of it for free. We regret the fact there were no snacks in the minibar.
- Facilities: There is a SPA facility, several swimming pools, the beach, the several restaurants and the theater with evening shows. The facilities are good; the hotel is very clean and very comfortable. You will find many activities during the day and many places where to go and enjoy the hotel. The facilities were great. We just regretted we didn’t have the time to visit the SPA. The hotel is big and you can easily go everywhere. In the bedrooms you have a brochure where you can find all the different things to do and all the details about the hotel. That was convenient.
- Food: We didn’t manage to try all the restaurant, we mainly stayed at the buffet for all meals. And we loved it. The food is very good, excellent. From breakfast to dinner you do have plenty of choice and you can’t get bored. The only thing we didn’t like is the absence of vegan dishes or the absence of labels indicating if the dish has dairies or meat. But beautiful buffet and tasty food.
- Location: The hotel is not directly in Praia Do Forte town, so you need to walk about 45 minutes to get to the town. Besides that, the hotel is very well located. The beach is pretty quiet and it gives almost the feeling of being private (even if it is not). In the surroundings there is a natural park where you can go have a walk and observe the nature. There is also a golf belonging to Iberostar and the resort itself is pretty comfy. There is even a smaller version of the Tamar project called Tamarinho on the beach of the hotel.