On June 5th of this year, India played the global host of the World Environment Day with the theme . To show their commitment to the cause, the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), better known as the Taj Group, launched the “Zero Single-Use-Plastic Hotel” objective. The first property to achieve this objective was the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, situated on the relatively undiscovered Havelock Island of the Andamans.
The group already has a long-term commitment to safeguarding the environment. The Taj Andamans at Havelock Island was constructed on a 46-acre property along the pristine Radhanagar Beach and is fringed by a mangrove forest and a river. The world-class resort was constructed without felling a single tree and has since been committed to preserving the fragile eco-system of the island.
The resort has an on-site bottling plant which eliminates the need for plastic bottles, a waste disposal system which converts wet waste to gas and compost, a reservoir for rainwater harvesting, partial solar energy, and it has a sanitation treatment plant to limit its carbon footprint.
Inspired by the dwellings of the Jarawa tribe, the villas were constructed using sustainable plantation timber, are raised on stilts, and have a semi-circular thatched roof which keeps things breezy.
The resort is dotted with 72 modern, 1580 sq.ft., air-conditioned luxury villas, all under a canopy of coconut and palmyra trees. The resort has a water lily pond, a fitness centre built around a majestic Mahua tree, and a raised Olympic-sized infinity swimming pool.
The resort has partnered with the local Pollution Control Board to keep the island plastic free while developing a plastic collection centre on the mainland. It had developed innovative biodegradable tools in association with the islanders as part of the “Zero Single-Use-Plastic Hotel” initiative. These include replacing plastic wrapped dry amenities with eco-friendly substitutes, replacing plastic straws with straws made from papaya and bamboo, and using biodegradable chopsticks that are covered in butter paper.
The ecological theme carries into the signature activities offered by the resort such as game fishing, night kayaking in the mangroves, turtle nesting excursions, scuba diving, snorkelling, and dining at an amorous table in the mangroves or at the beach. For kids, there is picking fruits at the orchards, jungle treks, beach picnics, supervised scuba diving and shell-craft lessons.