Seven Ele|Na spas at Atmosphere Hotels|Resorts join SSA

Seven Ele|Na spas across the Maldives are joining the Sustainable Spa Association, with the view of achieving full accreditation during 2022. All seven spas are located at properties operated by Atmosphere Hotels|Resorts. 

Five of the properties joined SSA in October 2021, with two to follow next year. The five new SSA members are Oblu nature Helengeli, Oblu Select Sangeli, Vary by Atmosphere, Ozen Reserve Bolifushi and Ozen Life Madhoo. The two resorts to join next year, when they open to the public, will be Oblu Select Lobigili and Oblu Experience Ailafushi. 

Sustainability is at the heart of operations at Atmosphere Hotels|Resorts – six of the properties have already secured a Green Globe certification. Sustainable practices at the resort range from the use of glass bottles for drinking water and a ban on plastic straws to plans to introduce solar panel power generation at all resorts soon. The company currently sources around 10 per cent of its total energy from solar – effectively reducing carbon emissions by about 2000 tons per year. Guests at Atmosphere resorts are also actively encouraged to preserve nature and the surrounding underwater world, to help further protect the environment.

According to Heidi Grimwood, VP of Spa at Atmosphere Hotels|Resorts, the company’s sustainable approach has been accelerated by both the pandemic and the impending climate crisis. 

“The Maldives, as a country, has committed to a very tough sustainability plan – it has set itself a target to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2030 with international support,” Grimwood said. “As an individual company we need to commit too. 

“One of the initial triggers which helped us realise that we need to be more sustainable was the end of pandemic lockdowns. When we reopened in August 2020, following COVID-19 restrictions, sourcing anything was nigh on impossible as much of it usually comes from abroad.

“So we had to think outside of the box – it was a case of ‘we don’t have XYZ, so what can we do’. It made us realise how it was pretty easy to be sustainable – and that the time and place was right for us!

“Atmosphere is a home grown company that truly connects with our indigenous environment and the bountifulness nature leads us to be able to offer more sustainable options.

“I’ve been working here for the past 18 years, so have stellar relationships with local brands, ultimately being a good citizen in supporting local businesses and at the same time allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint, as we no longer have the burden of bringing absolutely everything from abroad.

“We also looked at packaging and made all that more sustainable. Most importantly, after engaging in conversation with our Ele|NA team, we realised that we are all invested in sustainability, this led to a new initiative on the teams one action per month to improve sustainability.

“To give you some examples, we now turn orange peel from fruit prep into orange peel candy, packaged in sustainable packaging, which our guests are always delighted to receive. Another is coffee body scrub made from ground coffee beans used in the café. 

“With coconuts literally on our doorstep, one resort uses them to produce its own oil. This has led to one of the most innovative sustainable ideas we have come up with – to take the coconut shells, smooth them and then use them as a massage shells. So we now have a traditional Maldivian massage shell product to use – which is both more authentic AND more sustainable than the traditional plastic shells.”

Grimwood adds that joining SSA will take the sustainability drive to the next level. 

“The next step was to join the Sustainable Spa Association, because I want my teams to learn more,” she says. 

“Ultimately, gaining an SSA accreditation will be huge for us.”

There are some pretty ambitious plans on the horizon too. 

“We’re launching the first ever spa training academy in the Maldives in 2022,” Grimwood reveals. “It will be huge for the industry, as it will offer local people the opportunity to train up as therapists and spa staff. Until now, all certified spa training has taken place abroad, limiting opportunities for local people. 

“By being able to train and employ locally trained therapists and spa staff we will be cutting our carbon footprint, because it means that we no longer have to rely on foreign workers – or send local people abroad for training.”

To read more about Atmosphere Hotels|Resorts and their sustainability practices, click here.