Some of the most priceless moments in life arise out of the little things. Sunrise over the snowcaps when you wake up in the morning. A school of dolphins playing in the backwaters. A flock of migratory birds that have made their roost in an urban oasis.
From Palampur’s Himalayan peaks to Kerala’s mangroves, we feel privileged that the Araiya footprint has made its way across such diverse and pristine natural landscapes. But it also serves to remind us how fragile our ecosystems really are. As climate change becomes a bigger reality every day, we find ourselves making environmental sustainability a priority across all our hotels. Whether its back-end operations, development, sourcing and purchase, or front-end customer delivery, our sustainability philosophy remains constant throughout every touchpoint of the Araiya experience.
“Be like water,” is a Tao-ist expression we are often reminded of when strategising Araiya’s future growth. Araiya’s brand of hospitality has characteristics that are similar to water — it is soft, flexible, adaptable, and flowing across every level, yet a powerful, driving force that can break new ground and create its own path.
Water is a precious resource. We reuse, recycle and repurpose “waste water” so that it nurtures the environment, rather than harms it. While keeping in mind our stringent sanitation and hygiene protocols, we have made it a point to use non-chemical products that do not leach toxins into the water table, or the water supply, in our immediate environs.
We proactively deployed extensive gray water recycling and filtration units, so that once it is cleaned of impurities, the water is repurposed and goes back into our gardens. When we designed our landscaping, we cultivated indigenous plants and local foliage to minimize the stress of exotic species on the environment and the ground water supply. The added advantage of indigenous herbage and shrubbery, is that they attract a lot of local birds and small animals, like squirrels and butterflies, which lend their own colour and charm to our grounds!
Each Araiya property has an in-built water filtration and glass water bottling plant, to ensure that our guests are served safe, clean and hygienic drinking water, but without placing the stress of single-use plastic “bottled water” on the environment. Each glass bottle is refilled and sealed to ensure that the water in it is absolutely pure and safe to drink.
A hotel often generates a lot of material that could be termed waste, but when it’s put to good use, it can, in fact, be repurposed very effectively! We partner with local recycling facilities in each location to ensure that any dry, non-biodegradable waste is disposed off or recycled in a sustainable manner. Wet waste from our kitchens is composted and re-used in our gardens.
Our environmental consciousness extends beyond our properties as well. It’s always been our endeavour to create a robust network of like-minded partners, who embrace the same philosophy that we do. So when we were conceptualising the Araiya team’s uniforms, we partnered with fashion designer, Payal Jain, and her sustainable fashion enterprise, Aadira, to innovated a look and feel using recycled textiles and materials, that made our ethos a tangible reality for each member of our team!
You might be surprised at how much re-usable material gets unearthed while digging a foundation. From slate to stone, we have repurposed these natural resources back into our construction and design. Every property is constructed using locally sourced materials. Not only does this lend an ethnic touch, native materials also make the construction naturally durable, which is useful to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Sustainable construction methods help us to mitigate the impact of climate change that we are increasingly seeing in these fragile ecosystems. They also provide natural insulation, keeping the interiors cool in warm weather and vice versa, keeping energy consumption to a minimum.
In a world where climate change is possibly the greatest challenge of the generations to come, we feel an urgent sense of responsibility to take an active role in preserving the ecosystems that we inhabit. After all, what would our world be like if we didn’t have the mountains to wake up to, and the birdsong to brighten our mornings? As nature-lovers at heart and eco-friendly souls, we are strong believers in making our love for the natural world an intrinsic part of our hospitality!