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Ecoboo; where revolutionary aesthetics meet sustainable luxury

Rabeeha Amir
01 June 2023, MVT 13:36
Ecoboo's Hugo Pedrosa: He has been at the forefront of all the work of the hotel -- Photo: Fayaaz Moosa
Rabeeha Amir
01 June 2023, MVT 13:36

At first glance, Ecoboo stands out as a unique and extraordinary boutique hotel, offering an experience that goes beyond the ordinary. Dedicated to embodying sustainable practices in every aspect of its operations, every aspect of Ecoboo has been meticulously designed with a commitment to environmental consciousness.

The exteriors of the hotel exude a captivating aesthetic appeal, seamlessly blending bamboo designs with the tropical essence of the island. These thoughtful details not only enhance the visual allure of the hotel but also pay homage to the natural surroundings, creating a serene and immersive atmosphere for guests.

Despite initial scepticism from friends and family, Antonio Marques and Hugo Pedrosa, hailing from Portugal, were determined to revolutionize sustainable lodging in the Maldives. Having previously operated a safari business in the country for seven years, they embarked on their boutique hotel endeavour with the goal of transforming the concept of accommodations in their chosen destination.

Ecoboo's rooftop restaurant: the hotel has two restaurants -- Photo: Fayaaz Moosa

Inspired by the fusion of "ecology" and "bamboo," they aptly named their boutique hotel "Ecoboo." The core concept of Ecoboo revolves around the extensive utilisation of bamboo as the primary material for all aspects of the hotel's design and construction.

In their quest to establish their dream hotel, Antonio Marques and Hugo Pedrosa extensively scouted for the perfect location, exploring options in Baa atoll and Raa atoll. After careful deliberation, they ultimately decided on Vaavu atoll Thinadhoo as the ideal site for their venture. The captivating natural beauty of the island, with its pristine sandy beaches and proximity to breathtaking sandbanks, played a significant role in their decision. Furthermore, the abundance of fishing opportunities in the area further solidified their choice.

Hugo expressed their intention to revolutionise mid-tier tourism by introducing Ecoboo, the first city hotel on the island of Thinadhoo. With this ambitious project they sought to redefine the hospitality landscape in the region and present a new option for travelers in search of sustainable and contemporary lodging. Ecoboo represents the latest addition to the diverse range of guest accommodations available on the island, offering a distinctive and forward-looking approach to hospitality.

Ecoboo's "Bamboo Loft". There are four categories of rooms in the hotel -- Photo: Fayaaz Moosa

80 percent bamboo

The construction of the hotel posed an additional challenge as it coincided with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team faced difficulties in sourcing bamboo, as their initial plan to import it from India was hindered by closed borders. Undeterred, they adapted to the circumstances and decided to procure the bamboo from Vietnam instead.

Hugo, who took on the responsibility of overseeing the entire project, emphasized the significant challenges they faced amid the Covid-19 pandemic, describing it as the most difficult trial he had encountered in his business career.

Despite the obstacles, they persevered, even though construction had to be temporarily halted for a few weeks. Hugo personally took charge of managing and maximizing the available resources, ensuring that essential tasks were addressed amidst the ongoing pandemic. His unwavering determination and resourcefulness enabled them to navigate the difficult circumstances and maintain progress towards their goal.

Ecoboo's "Orchid Double" room. The garden is visible to rooms in this category -- Fayaaz Moosa

Embarking on the structural construction of the hotel, Antonio and Hugo enlisted a team of 12 skilled carpenters. The 26 rooms of the hotel were meticulously crafted using an impressive total of 6,000 bamboo trees. Demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and the unique bamboo concept, they extended the use of bamboo beyond structural elements. Bamboo was incorporated into the flooring, furniture, toiletries, and even the restaurant furniture, creating a cohesive and environmentally friendly aesthetic throughout the entire establishment.

Bamboo was carefully chosen as the primary material for Ecoboo due to its exceptional sustainable qualities, which effectively minimise the hotel's environmental impact when compared to other conventional materials. This deliberate choice reflects Antonio and Hugo's commitment to preserving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint associated with their establishment. By opting for natural materials like bamboo, they sought to create a harmonious synergy between their guests' comfort and the ecological integrity of the surroundings.

Ecoboo / V.Thinadhoo / Guest Hotel / Guest House

Sustainable waste management

The implementation of sustainable waste management practices in operating resorts is a rarity, particularly in local islands where waste management infrastructure is often insufficient. However, Ecoboo has taken a commendable step forward by prioritizing sustainable waste management and setting a remarkable example for other businesses to follow. As a mid-tier lodging, Ecoboo's unwavering commitment to sustainable waste management sets a pioneering approach that goes beyond conventional practices.

Ecoboo meets its power requirements of 30 kilowatts through the utilisation of solar panels, showcasing its commitment to renewable energy sources. With an eye towards the future, Ecoboo has plans to expand its solar panel capacity to generate even more electricity. In addition to solar power, the hotel is equipped with a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant capable of producing 5 tonnes of water. The wastewater generated from this process is ingeniously repurposed as organic waste, serving as a valuable fertiliser for the hotel's sustainable garden. To ensure proper waste management, Ecoboo utilises a dedicated sewage treatment plant designed specifically for this purpose.

To enhance waste management efforts, Ecoboo employs a specialised shredder, which plays a crucial role in the hotel's waste management system. Not only does this shredder contribute to reducing waste volume and promoting recycling, but Ecoboo has also extended an invitation to the local community to utilise the machine. This inclusive approach ensures that the entire island can benefit from the waste management system, using the shredded waste as valuable fertilisers for the island's flora and fauna.

"We are excited to make this waste management solution available to the local community on a larger scale, pending the necessary formalities with the council," Hugo said.

A tourist sitting on the beach area A tourist sits in the beach area of Ecoboo: The hotel has gained popularity in a short span of time -- Photo: Fayaaz Moosa

Ecoboo with its innovative and sustainable approach, has drawn the attention of eco-conscious individuals, particularly from Europe. The hotel invites its guests to immerse themselves in an environment that not only promotes sustainability but allows them to actively experience it.

As a pioneer in this approach, Ecoboo has set a compelling example for others to follow, inspiring the hospitality industry to prioritise eco-friendly practices and providing a blueprint for sustainable lodging worldwide. By embracing this ethos, Ecoboo has become a beacon of environmental responsibility, attracting like-minded individuals and making a lasting impact on the future of sustainable tourism.

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