Cape Town is one of the most popular travel destination in South Africa. The thriving metropolis amasses a staggering amount of tourism yearly, both international and national. Despite the Western Cape experiencing its worst drought in over 100 years, the tourism industry does not seem to be slowing down. The people of Cape Town have rallied together to save water by taking extreme conservation methods. And it’s not only the locals doing their part; luxury hotels have also dramatically reduced their water usage, determined to make a difference. With the constant influx of tourists, hotels have had to resort to creative ways to reduce their water usage without compromising on their luxury offerings. From removing bath plugs to using grey water, here is what Cape Town’s finest hotels are doing to preserve water.
The 5-Star Cape Grace is set between the V&A Waterfront and the yacht marina. As one of Cape Town’s most sought after accommodations, it’s natural that Cape Grace would adopt strict water conservation methods. Cape Grace started water saving techniques in 2016 and have easily transitioned to reducing their usage even more.
They have fitted low-flow shower heads and aerators (a device that screws onto the tap to create a non-splash flow), using less water in the process. All plants are watered with grey water from the kitchen, and their large selection of succulents need much less watering than other plants. The hotel has also removed all bath plugs, encouraging guests to take short showers instead. Spa treatments that use an excess of water have also been stopped. Innovative water saving efforts include a liquid pool cover, which helps slow down evaporation. In addition, the hotel has aslso installed a “Water from Air” machine. This is a revolutionary device that produces drinking water from the atmosphere.
Table Bay Hotel
Table Bay Hotel is set at the popular V&A Waterfront, and offers 5-Star glamour with a stunning view. The hotel has been a stand-out example of opulent hotels that have drastically cut back on their water usage. Conservation methods include two grey water collection systems. The first one stores water from the kitchen and a number of rooms, and is used for the public bathrooms, for the staff bathrooms and to water the garden. The second system is located in the pool plant room, were a downpipe has been fitted to capture rainwater. The hotel has also implemented a recycling backwash system for the swimming pool.
The gardens surrounding Table Bay have also had a makeover. The hotel has begun planting ‘water-wise plants’ as well as replacing all flowering plants with succulents. Table Bay has also done away with their irrigation system, using a drip system instead, which has reduced the water usage by more than half. Guests are well aware of the changes and are urged to use water sparingly. Each guest receives a letter explaining the changes upon check-in, with reminders in the form of leaflets in their rooms and public bathrooms.
The One&Only is known as one of the most extravagant hotels Cape Town has to offer. Set in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, the hotel has managed to keep their regal reputation despite introducing a number of water conservation methods. These efforts range from mild to extreme. Mild initiatives include low-flow shower heads and bathroom taps, topping up the pool with salt water or recycled water, converting fountains into rock gardens, reducing car washing, and planting succulents. More extreme measures involve washing linen every few days, providing guests with waterless hand sanitizer to deter hand-washing and collecting unused water from ice buckets and half-drank water bottles. The hotel aims to reduce their water usage by more than half. The Save Like a Local campaign was started by the city of Cape Town and the One&Only have been encouraging their guests to save as much as they can.
St James Guesthouses
St James Guesthouses are luxury accommodations set along Kalk Bay. As part of the Rovos Rail Group, travellers can expect unrivalled class and comfort in a beautiful setting. Rovos Rail has been doing its bit to conserve water, and this can be seen in their Kalk Bay properties.
St James Guesthouses is comprised of The Manor, Seaforth and Homestead, and each accommodation has implemented water-saving resources. Water consumption has been cut down by using grey water for the gardens, as well as installing a borehole. Covering the swimming pool at night has helped stop the water evaporating as much as usual. Another innovative idea is air condensers, just like the Water From Air machine Cape Grace uses, which has allowed the Rovos properties to collect around 70 litres of water a day. As well as this, letting guests know about the drought and what they can do to help has also made a big difference.
There is no denying that sacrifices have to be made, bu high standard accommodation and comfort is something that will always be guaranteed. Part of responsible tourism is conservation. To reduce and reuse. Cape Town hotels have shown that it is possible to encourage water conservation without sacrificing the luxury they are renowned for.