Lying on a comfortable deck chair with the cool breeze hitting my face, listening to the sounds of the waves of the turquoise sea crashing against the soft white sand; the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate. This sensation could only be felt at the Frangipani Resort and Spa in Langkawi. It was our second trip to the island and without giving it much thought our resort of choice was the Frangipani for yet another unforgettable visit. The warm and gracious hospitality of the staff far exceeded our expectations; it was like a page out of a fairytale as we were escorted around their cobbled pathways to our quaint villa-a complimentary upgrade. Purple flowers and green fauna carpeted the roof of our villa, creating a canopy to sit under on a sunny day. However, my favorite area of the villa was the outdoor shower, a way of returning to nature.
Bonding with nature is the essence of the Frangipani. Instead of living in a concrete jungle where the stale air of air-conditioners fills your lungs, the Frangipani has spread its villas and rooms across a vast expanse of land surrounded by trees and flowers helping you breathe in fresh oxygen. The Frangipani offers luxury in sync with mother nature. As you enter the resort, you are greeted by a cool breeze and warm sunlight; a way to rejuvenate after being boxed inside an aircraft. The lobby and restaurant areas are with an open plan to create ventilation and attract sunlight, saving the need for air conditioners and extra lights. The Frangipani is the epitome of sustainable and green tourism; something which I wanted to know more about in detail.
The walls of the Frangipani are a shrine to numerous accolades won by the resort due to their green practices, the latest being the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award. My penchant to understand the concept of eco-tourism in details led me to a meeting with Ai Ling; she undertook the responsibility of taking me on an eco-walk. Once a budget hotel, the Frangipani was garbed in completely new attire by the new owner who himself is a noted environmentalist. Ai Ling explained that the Frangipani adopted certain basic tenets of protecting the environment; conservation, recycling and spreading awareness. One of the biggest steps they have taken is to create a wetland behind the resort. The Frangipani is the only hotel to have a wetland inside its premises. The ultimate goal of a wetland; to have zero waste water. Plants such as mimosas, thalias, and water hyacinth are used to treat waste water, which in turn is used for watering the flowers, trees and garden at the resort. This was truly an eye-opener, not only did this help in recycling and conservation but dramatically reduced their water bill and prevented waste water from damaging the environment.
The beauty of the resort lies in their quest for self-sufficiency. In order to reduce carbon footprints and put an added load on depleting natural resources, they grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs. Using water from the wetlands and fertilizer made by themselves, their plants are living evidence of their organic farming and green practices. Chefs do not have to travel far to pick their herbs, salad leaves and other ingredients; they are grown right in their backyard.
And its not just herbs that they grow, fruit trees dot the entire expanse of this resort. Trees bulging with ripe mangoes and laden with water apples greet us as we made our way across the resort. As Ai Ling said, if you see a ripe fruit in the tree do not hesitate to eat it. Who doesnt like fresh fruit straight from a tree? It has a charm of its own.
The Frangipani is one of the few resorts that create organic meals upon request. The reason for that is simple; they breed their own organic ducks, chickens and catfish. Ai Ling pointed out an interesting fact; the catfish are fed leftover bread, hence doing away with the need of dumping in already overflowing landfills. The concept is healthy eating while being environmentally friendly.
Recycling and reusing are the pillars of Frangipani’s identity. No material ever goes to waste, it is utilized in some way or form. All their keychains, signboards, ashtrays and menu covers among others are made from leftover wood. Bathtubs that were changed during renovations are now used for recycling organic wastes, worm farming and growing herbs. Similarly, large water collection tanks have been installed to store rainwater for dry months. This water is used for laundry, watering plants, filling the catfish pond and washing your feet before entering your room. Not only is this practice conserving scarce natural resources but also cutting their water bill down by a staggering 60%. Similarly, by using energy saving light bulbs and solar panels for heating water, the Frangipani is using natural rather and man-made expensive ways to provide comfort to their guests. In these days of recession and escalating costs, the Frangipani is keeping their expenses low and protecting the environment; a winning combination
Guests are also encouraged to play their part. Drums are placed throughout the resort for them to throw their bottles, papers and other waste. This part of the tour was my favorite part; recycling bottles. We saw bottles being carefully cleaned their staff and being stored in a dry place.
But what could glass bottles be good for. I was amazed at what I saw. The creative geniuses at the Frangipani had me baffled. Not only were they used as hanging lights but to decorate their pool bathrooms. I fell in love with the bathroom, I had not seen anything more creative than this. One little secret; most guest bathrooms are being renovated across the resort to resemble this piece of art.
Aside from the bathroom another piece de resistance at the resort was a beautifully carved wood statue at the entrance of their restaurant. The root of an 80 year old teak tree was recycled and carved into a stunning sculpture by 2 craftsmen. Moreover, the chairs of the restaurant were made from recycled pieces of wood that were washed ashore after the 2004 tsunami. Nothing ever goes to waste at this resort, not even your time.
Living at a resort that asserts its responsibility towards the environment makes me feel as if I am doing my bit instead of filling the pockets of those resorts purely interested in business and profits. Such places imbue a sense of responsibility within each individual as well. One of the signs at the resort said the ocean has provided for us for all these years, it is now time for us to give back and take care of it. The resort does its best to make its guests aware of these practices by encouraging them to join the eco-walk; it is must whenever you decide to stay at the resort. Moreover, they encourage you to plant a tree of your choice for a nominal charge and your name would printed on a signboard in front of your plant. That is next on my agenda whenever I go next.
Whether it is tranquility you crave or a lively holiday, the Frangipani offers the best of both worlds. Relax under the salas (brick gazebos) and read a book or enjoy the nightlife just outside the resort, there is no better place to stay in Langkawi than the Frangipani Resort. For me, its a home away from home.