2007 Coastal Living Awards: Tourism

Courtesy of Spice Island Beach Resort
This Caribbean retreat went green, inspiring both visitors and staff.

Following 2004's Hurricane Ivan, Spice Island began a $12 million rebuilding and renovation project, much of it focusing on new, environmentally conscious features and procedures. Even before the storm hit, the resort had received Green Globe Certification, hard-won recognition that it had met specific environmental standards. Since being repaired, Spice Island is going through the certification process again. Sir Royston O. Hopkin, the resort's owner and chairman of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), says, "We have to make sure our natural asset is clean and preserved for locals, and for visitors to enjoy what we have."

Conservation efforts include solar rooftop heaters, insulated doors, and salt-based instead of chlorine pools. The resort staff plants beachfront trees, composts a vegetable garden, and performs ocean cleanups.

Employees undergo continuous environmental training. Green Teams, made up of staff members, meet biweekly to discuss policies. "We have to lead by example, and we try to involve our guests and inform them of our efforts," Sir Royston says. "People who stay here have high expectations, and we make sure to deliver the unexpected."

Spice Island Beach Resort; 473/444-4258 or spicebeachresort.com. CAST; 787/725-9139 or cha-cast.com.

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