The Westin Hotel in Cape Town has been an iconic hotel for business and leisure travellers since 2003 and practices sustainability from the rooftop to the basement, with an organic rooftop herb garden and reverse osmosis plant in the basement.
The hotel has majestic 360 degrees vistas of Cape Town and what I believe to be the sauna with the best views in Africa.
I was recently invited to view a few of the 220 rooms that have been refurbished on their executive club level floors.
The renovation is the first since the hotel’s opening and is estimated to cost around R150 million, with all 483 guestrooms being fully renovated. To limit noise and any inconvenience, the refurbishment will happen floor-by-floor. It started in March 2018 and will conclude towards mid-October 2019.
In comparison to the existing decor in the rooms, the new feel is minimalist with clean open spaces.
The overall feel is one of relaxation and calmness. In addition, the new Westin Club on the 19th floor, with spectacular views is a dedicated executive lounge to enhance the executive club guest experience .
The organic rooftop herb garden:
Another innovative eco-project that the hotel has created is their rooftop herb garden.
The garden, on the rooftop of the hotels’ 19th floor provides fresh organic herbs and edible flowers for the hotel's restaurants.
The recycled water used for the garden operates by an automated drip irrigation system that collects excess recycled water. The air-conditioning vents are situated on the opposite wall, creating a temperature-controlled greenhouse effect - where herbs that require warm air are planted opposite the air-conditioning vents, and those that require cooler temperatures are planted away from the vents.
The rooftop also boasts a small scale wormery where kitchen food waste is fed to the worms and the fertiliser produced is used to nourish the plants.
How the Westin has found a solution to Cape Town's water crisis:
Another interesting fact about The Westin Hotel in Cape Town is that it is built on reclaimed land, and for years it has had to use pumps to remove around 1.2 million litres of seawater to prevent the basement from flooding.
With Cape Town facing severe droughts and water restrictions, they came up with an innovative innovation of installing a reverse osmosis pump in the basement - basically turning sea water into purified drinking water.
The project has been so successful that at full capacity it can produce 400 000 litres - saving around 100 million litres of municipal water a year. The Westin can also supply 2 other hotels in the area -Tsogo Sun Waterfront and Tsogo Sun Cullinan.
When I visited the hotel a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a site inspection of the reverse osmosis plant and taste the water - it tastes as fresh as purified water and can vouch that if presented with a bottle of the water nobody would imagine that it was originally sea water.