Moments after arriving to Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala, Sri Lanka, I noticed something a bit unusual. It wasn’t the beautiful entryway, the open air floor plan, the staff handing me a welcome coconut, or the performance that was going on for our arrival. I noticed something else: a massive sign proclaiming the property’s LEED Gold certification and their commitment to the environment.Looking around the massive property, I kept asking myself one question: How can this be?
Cinnamon Bey Does Not Look Like an Eco-Friendly Resort
Since my background is in chemical engineering, water treatment, and alternative energies, every time I hear the phrase “eco-friendly resort” I tend to become a bit suspect. Resorts, by their very nature, bring about the ideas of excess and waste. As properties become larger and larger, the amount of work that is necessary to reduce the environmental footprint increases substantially. Likewise, every property seems to call itself “eco-friendly” these days, and most of the ones we’ve visited in our travels are anything but eco-friendly.
I’m happy to say that Cinnamon Bey is not one of those places.
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At around 200 rooms, Cinnamon Bey is not a huge resort (the largest hotel in the world, The Venetian in Macao, has over 7,000 rooms). You could have fooled me with this figure, as one look around the property and you would expect it to be much larger than it is. As with all things in achieving environmental standards like LEED, this is done by design to reduce the environmental footprint of the buildings. So that open air floor plan is not there just to look nice, but it also helps with reducing heating/cooling requirements, lighting needs, and an array of other issues.
Overall, I have to applaud Cinnamon Bey for their efforts to become LEED certified. Having toured many LEED Platinum buildings (the next, and highest tier higher on the certification scale), I often felt like I was in a “building of the future” because the design was so unusual just to achieve the certification. (Image credit: Cinnamon Bey Beruwala)
For a hotel to achieve Gold without having a single element feel out of place, well, you won’t hear me complaining. After all, if it wasn’t for the sign alerting me to the certification, I wouldn’t have given the property’s eco-policy a second thought.
The First LEED Gold Hotel in Sri Lanka
Achieving LEED Gold status is one thing, but even more impressive is the fact that Cinnamon Bey was the first hotel in Sri Lanka to do so.
With the country’s tourism industry only now rebounding after the civil war that ended in 2009, the fact that hotels are looking to their stewardship of the environment is nothing short of impressive.
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As the hotel industry is extremely competitive, especially in emerging markets like Sri Lanka, we can only hope that other hotels look at the work Cinnamon Bey has done and puts the same emphasis on their own environmental policies. If they do, we can expect Sri Lanka to remain green and beautiful for many years to come.
For more information on Cinnamon Bey’s LEED certification, please check out the evaluation summary provided by the USGBC.
Jeremy founded Living the Dream in 2008 to chronicle his long-term trip around Asia. Since then he has been on two long-term trips, visited 68 countries, and is just getting started. He is now on a Lifestyle Design quest to build businesses to pursue a life of travel.