The pandemic might not be considered a time of thriving for the hospitality industry but there were aspects of the hotel business that literally came to life during this time. As the number of guests dwindled, many hotels invested in the land, cultivating gardens, farms, and orchards to support staff and move towards a more sustainable model of operating.
“Over the last two years the world has really woken up to wellness,” said Hylton Lipkin, GM of Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion, a natural hot spring resort in Vietnam that has long prided itself on its commitment to health. “But what kind of wellness? Is it physical wellness, mental wellness, or environmental wellness? They’re all connected and this was an integral time for us to deepen our framework to honor all the various facets of what that word means, especially when it comes to food.”
Located on an expansive plot of land on the outskirts of Vietnam’s former imperial capital Hue, Alba had the space to make a difference. More time was invested in the 250m2 organic vegetable plot, to ensure restaurant and staff canteen needs could be met. On their farm, which was introduced in 2007, they keep more than 150 cage-free chickens. In 2021 they became the first resort property in Vietnam to use only 100% cage-free eggs.
Fusion, as a brand, has made a number of eco-strides during the course of the pandemic. Fusion Resort Cam Ranh, on Vietnam’s south-central coast, is now home to around 200 cage-free chickens, ducks, goats, and even peacocks. Their flourishing organic vegetable garden and mango orchard, spread over 3,100m2, partially supplies fresh vegetables and herbs to the resort’s restaurants and staff canteen. The resort has more than 1,000 coconut trees and all the organic young fresh coconuts are now available in the resort restaurants, while they were previously removed at a young stage.
“We wanted to involve our guests in all these new initiatives as we believe this is the way forward,” said Dawid Koegelenberg. “It’s an opportunity for guests and kids to learn the importance of where their food comes from.” Guests are free to pick their own organic vegetables and collect eggs for breakfast, while young visitors can attend a farm school on weekends to learn how to care for animals.
Fusion Resort Phu Quoc, on Vietnam’s largest island, introduced an eco-farm in the summer of 2021. An eclectic array of animals from goats to ducks as well as a new vegetable garden and pineapple orchard, that guests have access to, have been added.