Inspira Santa Marta Hotel opened its doors for the first time in 2010 and even before it opened assumed a commitment: offering guests different and unique experiences and premium services, whilst respecting the environment, raising awareness of social responsibility issues and balancing people, nature and materials.
The team of Inspira Santa Marta Hotel believe in the balance between people, as human beings, and the world around us. Therefore, since its birth, this boutique hotel assumed a commitment: Create an oasis of peace and harmony, in which all the positive energies, aligned by the principles of Feng-Shui, could flow freely, revitalizing your mind and soul.
Inspira Hotels Management carried out the total reconstruction of the existing building between 2007 and 2010, preserving its original façade dated from the 18th century, an example of Baroque and “pombaline” architecture.
All the main decisions regarding efficiency were made during construction and these choices have enabled the everyday operation according to sustainability principles which aim to reduce the inherent environmental impact. The hotel used thermal insulation or local materials like cork on the floors to reduce energy consumption.
In five years, Inspira Santa Marta Hotel has been recognised as a leader in sustainability in accommodation sector, receiving a number of awards.
At the moment, Inspira is performing extremely well regarding the goals it previously set. But the hotel refuses to rest on its laurels and is constantly innovating and searching for new ways to keep reducing its environmental impact. The most recent example was investing in a Carbon Free Website; the Green4Network “0% CO2” certificate attests that Inspira are assuring the compensation of the carbon foot print associated to its website through the production of 50kWh of renewable sources energy, without any CO2 emission, avoiding the annual release of 20Kg of carbon to the atmosphere.
Why did you feel it was important to have a sustainable hotel?
As we consider the future of the hotel industry, we are forced to reflect upon a premise that is our true conviction. We believe that, on a global scale, the development of this industry will inevitably adopt more sustainable practices, so as to pursue a more responsible and conscious tourism when it comes to resource management.
Our sustainability policy stands on three major pillars: sustainable development, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Set on doing our share with respect to promoting a more sustainable world and, aware that every step counts, we uphold this commitment every day of our lives and in our every activity.
What are the key initiatives that the hotel has undertaken to improve its sustainability?
At Inspira Santa Marta Hotel electricity is 100% provided by renewable sources, as the hotel holds green certificates. Among the initiatives implemented towards an efficient use of energy, we would like to point out:
What initiatives have had the biggest impact on your sustainability and / or your bottom line?
The goals established for each parameter in the management plan are monitored and recorded on a weekly basis through available equipment (e.g. water/gas/electricity meters). From 2012 to 2015 Inspira saved 25% in energy/guest consumption; 43% in gas/guest consumption and 17% in water/ guest consumption. Paper consumption and printing is also monitored. The implementation of paperless procedures saved 18,833 prints in four years. Around 75% of the monthly waste produced by our daily operations is sent for recycling. In five years of operation Inspira has been recognised at both national and international levels.
Inspira benefits from its own sustainability management system; directly by identifying the potential for cost savings through efficiency improvements and indirectly by improving its public image. Reporting performance indicators is increasingly important to clients, stakeholders and the local community. As regards to our economic performance, in 2015, Inspira registered a 37% increase in revenue when compared to 2012, as the economic value retained rose 134% and GOP rose 820.754€. The distributed economic value grew by 4% in 2015, when compared to 2012, as the largest percentage was allocated to operating costs, followed by costs with salaries.
When establishing positive economic goals, increasing our GOP and REVPAR or striving to integrate a network of sustainable hotels, we are also working towards laying down targets in the field of consumption reduction (paper, electricity, gas, water, CO2 emissions), of energy resource management efficiency, of certification renovation or of, among many other, the promotion of environmental awareness among our employees, guests and the local community.
Regarding a more economic perspective, we always choose local products, supporting local economy, producers and entrepreneurs. The events we carry out are commonly open to the public, in an attempt to engage the community and educate them on sustainability issues. Inspira is also engaged in environmental volunteering programmes in order to contribute to the protection and preservation of local biodiversity. Therefore, we participate regularly in initiatives in partnership with Botanical Garden and Bio+Sintra.
What has been the biggest surprise on your sustainability journey?
What surprised us the most was the real possibility of combining premium services and high quality products with a sustainability aligned programme, without ever neglecting our main purpose - make our guests happy, fulfilled and satisfied when staying with us. Another surprise is the interest that our concept derives in our guests. They want to book their stay with us not in spite of our concept but because of it. There is a real demand for differentiating experiences, and that's what we are offering them to try: a more responsible and sustainable experience, respecting nature without leaving the city centre.
At Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, we believe that more efficient waste management begins with preventing its production. Thus, reducing is the first step along the path we are committed to.
All waste is selectively sorted and channeled. Most of the waste we produce undergoes recovery operations. To prevent waste production, we have established a set of actions, for example:
All our organic waste is sent to "Valorsul" composting central, as part of "Valor+" - organic waste selective collection programme. In 2014, we have subscribed to the Food Bank "Paper for Food" initiative, in which all collected paper is converted into food, which then is distributed among the charitable institutions supported by the Food Banks that joined this initiative. To reduce food waste and the production of organic waste, we have adapted the way we replenish the buffet. Additionally, and covering our social responsibility actions, we have also joined the "Zero Waste" movement that collects products derived from food surplus that are then distributed among social charity institutions.
GREEN LABELS AND AWARDS
In Portugal, Inspira Santa Marta has been distinguished with several “green awards” and considered the greenest hotel integrated in an urban environment. Internationally, it was elected the “Best Sustainable Hotel in Portugal” in 2013 and 2014 at the International Hotel Awards and “Green Hotel of the Year” in 2014 at the European Hospitality Awards. The Lisbon boutique hotel is also proud to have taken the 2nd position of the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism and, recently, as one of the 4 finalists of the respected National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2016 in the category of “Earth Changer”.
From 2012 to 2015 Inspira saved 25% in energy/guest consumption.
Regarding water footprint, it entails a set of procedures that are aimed at an efficient management of this resource at an internal level, which requires both the participation of all employees and the contribution of all our guests.
Several measures have been taken in this sense, such as: