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Eco Rating Harmony Hotel

Name of propertyThe Harmony Hotel
Person completing this formMillay Kogan
PositionSustainability Coordinator
Address of propertyPlaya Guiones, Costa Rica
CountryCosta Rica
Phone number including country code and area code(506)2682-4114
Web siteThe Harmony Hotel
E-mailmariajose@cayugaonline.com
Type of propertyEcolodge
Number of rooms or cottages25
Maximum number of guests52
Eco membershipsMember of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and the Costa Rican Association of Ecotourism (CANAECO)
Eco ratings, certifications, awardsSoon to be rated by Costa Rica´s Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts: 4.4 out of 5.
  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES/NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?              YES/NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max)

The Harmony Hotel is the perfect combination of low-key luxury, nature, wellness and sustainability. Situated on the Guiones beach in Nosara, Costa Rica (a spot well renowned for its beautiful surroundings and impressive surf), the Harmony Hotel is an excellent place for guests to unwind, relax and get in tune with their natural rhythm. With comfortable rooms, excellent dining, melodies mixed with the sound of the ocean, a perfect beach, and various activities available, we guarantee you will fall in love with Harmony as well.
The Harmony hotel has ten “Cocos” rooms (standard rooms) located along both sides of the swimming pool and central garden. They have a private deck towards the back with an outdoor shower, hammocks and rocking chairs. 15 bungalows of considerably larger size contain a wooden deck built around them, along with rocking chairs and hammocks.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max)

The Harmony Hotel is located in the sleepy town of Nosara, located on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica.

  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

The Harmony Hotel is a working example of how sustainability can be applied in a truly stylish and modern way, supporting local communities and embracing environmental building techniques, while simultaneously attracting (and thereby influencing) a crowd of individuals who may not normally be interested in supporting sustainable tourism. The key to the Harmony Hotel’s success as a sustainable tourism operation is the way that sustainability and community development seamlessly blend in with the hotel’s smart and tasteful design and operation; guests who come away from the Harmony Hotel leave more aware of sustainability issues and, as a result, more willing to make smarter, more responsible travel decisions and more apt to contribute to the sustainable development in their own communities back home.

Introduction to the Butterfly Club’s Eco Rating

The Butterfly Club Eco Rating has five equally-weighted categories:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Recycling and waste;
  • Land and nature conservation; and
  • Community.

Each category has five levels, designated by one to five butterflies.  Through self assessment, resort operators completing this rating will determine their own levels within each category based on their responses to items listed below.

Two categories – energy and water – have similar rating systems with Levels 1 and 2 addressing conservation of existing resources, and Levels 3, 4 and 5 addressing creation of renewable energy or capturing water.

Level five in every category also requires written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record consumption; (2) test and apply additional conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific targets.   We require a copy of your policies if you achieve level 5 in any category.

Eco Rating Harmony Hotel Energy

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

_x__  use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
_ x__  use natural light during the day
_ x__  minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
_ x__  use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water
_ x__  air dry clothes/linens
_ x__  wash dishes by hand
_ x__  use energy efficient appliances and electronics
_ x__  use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs
_ x__  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
_ x__  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

Level 1 = four or fewer energy conservation activities

Level 2 = five or more energy conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – renewable energy: Indicate proportion (%) of energy from each source:

_3_5_solar (for heating hot water)
___  wind
___  hydro
_1_  generator (uses a biodiesel blend)
_95__  public utility
   
Other energy sources? Please list:
100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?

Level 3 = renewable energy is employed and is less than 1/3 of all energy

Level 4 = renewable energy constitutes 1/3 – 2/3 of all energy

Level 5 = renewable energy constitutes 2/3 or more of all energy.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record energy consumption; (2) test and apply additional energy conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific energy targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Energy Level 5 (required).

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) =   4

Eco Rating Harmony Hotel Water

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

_ x_  low flow faucets and showerheads
____ low water use toilets
_ x_  change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request
____ use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
_ x_  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap
_ x_  treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.

Level 1 = three or fewer water conservation activities

Level 2 = four or more water conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – capture and treat fresh water and manage waste water. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

100  spring
___  river
___  rain
___  reuse gray
_100__  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.
100% TOTAL
Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
_x_  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:Salt and Ultra-violet light.
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
_ x__  septic tanks
___  cesspools
_x__  other? List methods: Wastewater treatment plant

Level 3: Water is captured (from springs, rivers, rain or prior use) and constitutes less than 1/3 of water from all sources.  Water is treated chemically.  Water disposal does not minimize damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 4:  Captured water constitutes 1/3 to 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 5:  Captured water constitutes more than 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests.   In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record water consumption; (2) test and apply additional water conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific water targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Water Level 5 (required).

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 4

Eco Rating Harmony Hotel Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

_ x__   use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
_ x__   buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
_ x__   purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
_ x__   recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
_ x__   minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
____   zero waste in the kitchen
_ x__   serve local water, not bottled water
_ x__   cleaning products are biodegradable
_ x__   compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.

Level 1 = four or fewer recycling activities

Level 2 = five recycling activities

Level 3 = six recycling activities

Level 4 = seven recycling activities

Level 5 = eight or more recycling activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record recycling and waste; (2) test and apply additional recycling and waste conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific recycling and waste targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Recycling and Waste Level 5 (required).

Your Recycling and Waste Level (select 1 – 5): 5 

Eco Rating Harmony Hotel Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

_ x__   minimize tree removal when building
_ x__   use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
____   maintain organic gardens as food source for resort
_ x__   use biodegradable cleaning products
_ x__   minimize external illumination
_ __   take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.  Please list actions and projects:

Level 1: one or two land and nature conservation activities

Level 2: three land and nature conservation activities

Level 3: four land and nature conservation activities

Level 4: five land and nature conservation activities

Level 5: six or more land and nature conservation activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record land and nature conservation activities; (2) test and apply additional land and nature conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific land and nature conservation targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Land and Nature Conservation Level 5 (required).

Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 4

Eco Rating Harmony Hotel Community

This category addresses policies and activities regarding staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the community.

Check all activities that apply:

_ x__  hire staff residing near the resort     _100__% local nationals
_ x__  use local suppliers                           _100__% purchased goods produced locally
_ x__  re-invest resort income locally        _75__% income re-invested locally
_ x__  pay above local prevailing wage
_ x__  pay into local social security
_ x__  provide health insurance or coverage
_ x__  use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc
_ x__  provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community
__x__  provide sustainable transport to work for staff
___  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.

Level 1: one or two community activities

Level 2: three to five community activities

Level 3: six to seven community activities

Level 4: eight to nine community activities

Level 5: ten or more community activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record community activities; (2) test and apply additional methods to support the community; and (3) work towards specific community targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Community Level 5 (required).

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 5

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5and enter the result with the decimal point, e.g. 3.6):   4.4

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement:

Implementation of the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST). Harmony Hotel has not been officially certified to this date, but we plan on being certified in the next few months and to receive a five-leaf rating (the highest rating available from the CST).

  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.

In the next six months, we will be looking to implement a number of sustainability practices, including the creation of a plan to donate 5% of all hotel sales to community projects, the creation of an onsite orchard to produce our own organic food, and an onsite native plant nursery.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?

Thank you very much for completing and returning this survey. Lise Tyrell will post your completed form to the Web site, www.eco-tropicalresorts.com.

 Sustainable Tourism at Harmony Hotel

Harmony Hotel is the perfect combination of low-key luxury, nature, wellness and sustainability. Situated on the Guiones beach in Nosara, Costa Rica (a spot well renowned for its beautiful surroundings and impressive surf), the Harmony Hotel is an excellent place for guests to unwind, relax, get in tune with their natural rhythm and contribute positively to the local community of Nosara.

In Tune with Nature

The Harmony Hotel works diligently to preserve the natural environment surrounding Guiones as well as showcase sustainable development and tourism in a down-to-earth style. Some of our work in protecting the pristine natural areas of the Harmony Hotel on the property itself includes:

Permaculture-inspired landscape design
The use of biodegradable cleaning products and personal care items for both guests and employees
The preference for native plants in our gardens
Worm-powered composting systems
Organic, vegetarian food offerings
Solar panels to heat hot water on property
Extensive recycling programs and waste management
Chlorine-free pool cleaning systems
Eco Rating/Butterfly Club
Community Development

The Harmony Hotel truly treasures the Nosara community and looks to give back in meaningful ways to ensure the preservation and sustainable development of its natural resources. Some of our work to preserve the local communities of Nosara includes:

A policy of hiring and training local residents for positions at all levels of hotel operation
Supporting local efforts to enhance environmental awareness, including assisting in recycling initiatives, beach clean ups and much more
Purchasing from local suppliers whose practices are aligned with ours, including organic certified, locally grown coffee
Eco Rating/Butterfly Club

Working with local schools to improve infrastructure and enhance environmental education and responsibility. Members of the Harmony staff volunteers offer mentorship, experiential learning, and career exploration in areas ranging from language to computer literacy.
Supporting the Blue Flag certification, an eco-sensitive label that recognizes sustainable beach development through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and management, safety and more. Playa Guiones has received it for three years now thanks to the Nosara Civic Association and participation of the businesses residing on it.
Aiding in the Arribadas of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Program, a non-profit initiative designed to help the community improve the sea turtles’ habitat and curtail the poaching of their eggs.
Achieving the Highest of Standards

Eco Rating/Butterfly ClubThe Harmony Hotel is currently in the process of being certified by the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST). This rigorous certification system, administered by the Costa Rican ministry of tourism, awards hotels with a sustainability rating of “leaves” based on a scale of one to five that is similar to the Mobile Star evaluation of hotel services. We at the Harmony Hotel are expecting to receive a very high rating in our evaluation this

For more information on sustainability at the Harmony Hotel, click their web site link above.

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