Hail to the millennials who see things differently and can combine luxury with giving back
Most of us go on holiday to disconnect, but not that many places really deliver on that promise. Wherever you go, you’re generally not that far from the next resort, next spa and the next town. But is not the case for those visiting Zuri Zanzibar.
A five star resort in the remote north of the island, Zuri Zanzibar sits unobtrusively, nestled into the African landscape. As fishing boats row out in the early morning sunshine, guests relax in bungalows and villas that take in views of the Indian Ocean. However, this paradise beach resort is more than just a honeymoon destination.
Unlike lots of hotels and resorts, Zuri Zanzibar was not built just to make a profit. It’s been created and operated with long term sustainability in mind. Having made his fortune in a number of industries, owner and entrepreneur Vaclav Dejcmar’s vision for the hotel has been a long term labour of love, rooted in supporting the local community and the environment.
In finding a dream holiday destination in Zanzibar, he was faced with a challenge when it came to developing his resort. The surrounding community was characterised by poverty, a lack of relevant skills for hospitality, and of course, spectacularly beautiful natural landscapes. For a long time, algae from the sea in Zanzibar was a big industry, used in medicines and skincare products. Largely farmed by women, it gave them greater independence and altered the sexual balance of power, but in recent years the algae has started to disappear, and it has left an economic gap for local communities.
So what to do? Most hotels would import trained people, building materials and create a resort based on cost and guest expectations. The environment and the local culture often have to take a back seat and that’s where Zuri Zanzibar is refreshingly different.
Pay it forward
When the Fashionizer team visited for the first time to talk about planning their bespoke uniforms, the hotel had not yet been built, but planning had started. That included building a school to teach local people the skills and English language needed to work in the resort. Since then everything about Zuri has been about being eco conscious. That hasn’t just meant leaving the local community and the environment undamaged in creating the resort, but making a positive impact on the location.
Jobs have been given to locals wherever possible and where they have had to bring in outside skills, they are used to transfer knowledge. So that in the long term most jobs can be given to locals or the community can use them to further their own aspiration and build new businesses. The owners have invested in lots of community programmes to help empower women and build local businesses. Zuri also ask guests to ‘pack to give’ - which means bringing books, sanitary towels, inhalers, sheets and other items that the local community needs.
Eco friendly style
The hotel is also focusing on implementing several long-term initiatives for a cleaner environment and ocean, and for promoting employment, education, and awareness in Zanzibar.
For example, the structure of the hotel and the way it runs has also been done with sensitivity to the environment and the landscape. The hotel was built using local, eco friendly materials found within 500km of the resort. It uses water from on-site wells and seawater, and using the sun a sustainable energy source, means that the amount of energy they use per guest, per night is 52% below other, similar hotels.
Of course, they also use Fashionizer’s sustainable uniforms that we designed for them using eco friendly materials. The result of all of that is that they just became the first hotel in the world to be awarded Earthcheck’s Sustainable Design Gold Certification.
Some say that Zuri Zanzibar is a hotel that thinks differently, but the point is really that they think about the bigger picture. Millennial travellers are savvy and switched on; they want to know that their travel plans are not causing harm, or even better are doing some good, and Zuri Zanzibar has really listened to that.
As we said, most of us look for somewhere we can really disconnect on holiday and you can definitely do that here. Perhaps the irony however, is that this totally disconnected, eco conscious hotel is making a name for itself because in fact, it’s completely connected to what it takes to be a truly modern, award winning eco destination.
Find out how we supported Zuri Zanzibar to create sustainable uniforms for their team: read more