"There's a great future in plastics," or so Dustin Hoffman was told in the classic American movie The Graduate. Fifty years since the movie’s debut we've realized plastic is not as fantastic as the film had us believe. This month in Indonesia a dead sperm whale washed ashore with close to 6kg (13 lbs) of plastic waste in its stomach - which included 115 drinking cups. Each year up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leaks into our oceans, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. When it comes to plastics, many have reached the last straw. Here are seven resorts and hotels around Asia that are putting their money where their mouth is. Grand Hyatt Taipei Ordering take-out, picking up groceries, buying a soft drink — these are all activities that are set to change over the next decade in Taiwan when the island nation imposes a blanket ban on single-use plastic bags, straws, and cups by 2030. Taipei’s largest luxury hotel, Grand Hyatt Taipei, has already kicked the habit and is now using paper straws instead. In addition, the hotel recently announced that it would not actively provide guests with straws unless required for special drinks. “It’s our goal to help change consumer habits rather than simply offering a less environmentally-damaging alternative,” said Grand Hyatt Taipei’s general manager, Jan Hendrik-Meidinger. “In addition to no longer using plastic straws, our hotel also plans to provide guests with biodegradable wooden cutlery with their takeaway meals in order to help significantly reduce plastic waste.” Banyan Tree Samui If one incident brought home the crisis, it was when a pilot whale washed up on a beach in the Gulf of Thailand in May. Vets spent five days trying to save the giant whale, but it died. In an autopsy, they found no less than 80 plastic bags weighing 8 kg in its stomach. Now, on the Gulf islands of Samui, Phangan and Tao, strict new environmental laws are being enforced, while on Koh Samet a complete ban on tourists arriving with any plastic bags whatsoever has been laid down. Resorts and hotels are playing their part too; none more so than Banyan Tree Samui which earlier this year won a coveted international award for its eco-policies. “Housekeepers are using cloth bags instead of plastic, while in the restaurants we are serving wooden and bamboo utensils,” says Banyan Tree’s CSR manager Thepsuda Loyjiw, herself a marine biologist. “And we have changed to glass bottles, which means a reduction of 87,600 plastic bottles per year.” The nearly 300 staff at the luxury resort are also encouraged to reject plastic by bringing their own cups and cloth bags to work. Paradise Cruises Halong Bay Vietnam has a serious problem with plastic waste. So much so it generated more than 1.8 million tons of plastic waste last year, the fourth-highest of any country, according to Earth Day Network. Paradise Cruises, one of Halong Bay’s leading luxury cruise providers, has introduced a program to tackle the scourge of plastic, banning plastic straws from all seven of its luxury cruise ships
SO Sofitel Hua Hin launches its brand new wing with state-of-the-art of leisure facilities and room types for business and leisure travellers. Guests staying at the hotel can look forward to the new 16-meter x 60-meter Signature Pool, consisting of a water playground anchored by a Wibit adventure course running down the middle of the pool, Thailand’s first Wibit signature pool! The new wing also includes the new One-bedroom SO Pool Villas and SO Family Suites complete with bunk beds. The new SO Studio and SO Lofty Pool Access rooms feature an open concept design complemented with a customized television/wardrobe console which can swivel and can be enjoyed from the bathtub or bed. The refurbished SO Comfy Pool Access and brand new SO Lofty Pool Access rooms boast private outdoor terraces providing direct access to the Signature Pool. The latest expansion brings the total number of guest rooms, suites and villas from 78 to 109. Facilities also include a dedicated kid’s pool area and a SO Sundae poolside ice cream bar. An added family friendly feature includes Kids Tent, a kids club where young children can enjoy fun activities and entertainment. Guest can also enjoy a round of golf at the mini 18-hole golf course and a game of tennis or basketball at the resort’s multi-purpose court that will open on December 1st. For an evening bike ride, the resort’s private 627-meter bicycle track will be opening year-end where bikes will also available for rent. Situated on the beachfront in Cha Am, 200 kilometers on the west coast from Bangkok, the hotel is 30 minutes from Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s most popular beach town destinations. Visit www.so-sofitel-huahin.com for more information.
Overlooking the peaceful Layan Beach, The Pavilions Phuket is an ideal coastal getaway with extreme privacy in each room. To pamper your unalloyed quietude together with your loved one, 93 luxurious and spacious accommodations are on-site, from private pool villas to lavish suites – all with the best views of graceful nature.