The Challenge and Beauty of Building Sustainable Hotels | by Hector De Castro

If you’re considering to build an eco-friendly or sustainable hotel in 2022, you’ll be joining an increasing part of the hospitality industry that’s more environmentally sensible than ever before, and aware that a sustainable design does not mean an unattractive design. Quite the opposite.

It is a known fact that the major hotel brands no longer own many hotels. Instead, they do operate making use of different control methods so that, in the end, they are managed, franchised, or licensed.

Hotel operation has been increasingly separated from ownership creating a major challenge -and opportunity- for sustainability.

🚩 Coordination and allignement, the key point

In this context, increasing collaboration across the whole hotel value chain is a critical point to make sure that all stakeholders get benefits, so that new sustainable hotels and resorts become a reality and truly sustainable.


Hotel Developers have not only a responsibility but the greatest opportunity to make an impact by building highly sustainable hotels and resorts. Since they will be not the ones operating them nor owning them, they have more margin to design concepts and implementing solutions that will be highly respectful with the environment so that with the local communities. All of it without leaving aside the duty of generating profits.

After 2 decades experience I can tell that, once the project is done or in an advanced stage of development, coming up with modifications or adding new technologies will be far more expensive. This phenomena is known as “retroffiting”, and is not a good idea if you want to protect your margins.

Due to the increasing demand and the media impact, sustainability is a growing curve in the international hospitality sector.

Checking the global market there are a few international companies truly specialized in turn-key sustainable hotel projects. When starting a new project, make sure that your developer shows experience, is back up with a specialized engineering team seasoned in green engineering, FF&E so that reliable references.


Along with green engineering, architecture is a key pillar for the development of a sustainable hotel. And sustainability opens doors to new paths of beauty.

I recently had a great conversation with my friend and awarded architect Mr Alberto Apostoli, in which we confirmed that design, operations and profitability can -and should- be alligned to create sustainable hotel concepts. Alberto Apostoli is the recipient of the 2020 World Spa Award, and founder of Studio Apostoli International, a multi-disciplinary design company in Italy. Personally I loved his concept of “Wellness Creator Through Architecture”.


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