The theme of sustainability has infiltrated every part of society, so it is hardly surprising to learn that the trend towards green buildings, or making buildings more sustainable, is gaining traction around the world.
In this regard, we have scoured the plains of Malaysia to look for boutique hotels that put sustainability at the heart of their operations. In this way, you can rest assured that the environment is protected to the best extent possible while you reside in any (or all!) of these eco-friendly establishments.
Element Kuala Lumpur stands tall, both literally at 275 meters high and figuratively as a leading pillar in the realm of eco-friendly hotels in Malaysia. Designed by Foster+Partners, an award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm, it is a futuristic marvel of glass and steel lines with 252 guest rooms available for booking.
Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this hotel is within walking distance to the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC and Ampang Park station, which has direct links to KLIA and KLIA2. The free Go KL shuttle bus (located at Suria KLCC) and KL Hop-on-hop-off bus nearby will also bring you throughout Kuala Lumpur, including to landmarks like Petaling Street and the Central Market.
What stood out for us the most is its ground-up commitment to sustainability. The building itself is a Green Building Index (GBI) certified hotel and made of sustainable construction materials, providing the kind of luxury that every business traveler would come to expect in ingenious eco-friendly ways. Some of these features include a rainforest having system for shower heads, rollover beds, NSF Certified Filtered Tap Water system, 100% non-PVC flooring, in-room water purifier, energy efficient LED lighting, refillable shower toiletries and use of green materials such as low-VOC paints and recycled-content carpeting. Guests will find it easy to participate in green initiatives through the use of electric-vehicle charging stations located nearby.
The in-house restaurant, Trace, also displays its commitment to sustainability through its attempts to source only the best local ingredients for its dishes. Added together with its multi-functional meeting rooms, indoor swimming pool and 270 degrees panoramas of Kuala Lumpur, we don’t see a reason why this hotel shouldn’t be make it to every must-stay list when stopping by the capital city of Malaysia.
Address: lham Tower, 8 Jalan Binjai 50450 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
For more information, visit https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/kulel-element-kuala-lumpur?program=spg
Source: Hotel Penaga
What list would be complete without a mention of Penang?
Hotel Penaga was designed by Hijjas and Angela Kasturi, an architect and environmentalist respectively. Originally a three-row, double storeyed, terraced building, this power couple decided to convert this pre-war structure into a 45 room heritage boutique hotel and became the first heritage restoration project to be given a Gold Rating by the Green Building Index in Malaysia.
This hotel’s commitment to sustainability can be seen in their repurposing of old materials during the restoration process. Second hand ‘Indian’ roof tiles was salvaged from older Penang buildings for the roof and second hand timber from demolished colonial structures while local workers were used to carry out the restoration process. Hotel Panage also has 99 solar photovoltaic panels which generates so much electricity that they are sold back to the national power grid (see photo below)!
Image of solar panels on rooftop of Hotel Penaga by Ditrolic Solar
True to the artsy vibe that permeates the island of Penang, Hotel Penaga has a roster of rotating resident artists that provide the unique artwork showcased in the hotel. With its close proximity to must-see destinations and Upper Penang Road nightlife while still providing 21st century ‘essentials’ like a flat-screen TV, business centre, private jacuzzi and spa, Hotel Penaga has all the elements that make it a prime choice for couples, families and business travelers alike.
If you ever intend to drop by the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town, you now know where to stay!
Address: Jalan Hutton, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang Malaysia
For more information, visit https://hotelpenaga.com/
Fun fact: If you are ever in Pahang, check out The Kasturi Resort. The same team behind Hotel Penaga was involved in its development and it places equal emphasis on incorporating sustainability practices into its operations.
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands which is why our next hotel is so water-centric and perfect for both couples and families.
Firstly, we need to talk about its location. This four-star, luxury hotel is a 15 minutes drive from the Langkawi International Airport, 30 minutes from the main township of Kuah and walking distance from Pantai Tengah. Such proximity means that you can wake up to the sound of waves lapping against sand while hitting the local bars and gift shops without any concerns over transportation. For the more intrepid guests, the Frangipani also offers a range of non-motorised water sports facilities on a daily basis or a spa for those more inclined towards being pampered.
Referring to itself as “Hospitality with a Green Heart”, the Frangipani boasts over 200 green practices with some dating back to 2006. It is the only hotel in Langkawi with a 100% all-natural filtration system that uses aquatic plants to treat wastewater, has replaced plastic straws with paper straws, makes maximum use of solar energy throughout its property while repurposing old bottles as hotel art decoration. For guests interested in learning more about their green initiatives, the Frangipani also has an award-winning Eco Walk that does just that.
With all the effort that the Frangipani has gone to ease its carbon footprint, we aren’t surprised to find multiple green awards to its name, including the ASEAN Green Hotel Award 2010-2011.
Jalan Pantai Tengah, 07100 Langkawi Kedah Malaysia
For more information, visit http://www.frangipanilangkawi.com
Source: Permai Rainforest Resort
While most people would tend to stay and explore West Malaysia, East Malaysia has plenty to offer that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Sarawak laksa, the Sarawak Cultural Village and the Semenggoh Wildlife Center for meeting semi-wild orangutans - these are experiences that you will never wish you had missed.
If you are ever in Sarawak, consider staying at the Permai Rainforest Resort: a 44 acre eco resort located half an hour from the city of Kuching that offers camping sites, ground-level cabins and 20 feet high tree houses as accommodation! This incredible resort is on a mission to preserve the rainforest from unsustainable development and has adopted initiatives that include recycling all packaging, composting all food waste, growing vegetables locally with their own fertiliser, using energy-saving lights and running trash collection initiatives on the jungle tracks around the resort.
Should you be the adventurous sort, Permai Rainforest Resort will prove to be the perfect base. Apart from the activities that you can do in and around Kuching, there is so much available in the resort itself that you might find yourself disinclined to ever leave its grounds. While residing in an actual tree house, you can dine at the Feeding Tree, which has its own tree house vibe, and spend your day(s) on high rope courses and flying foxes, then proceed to doing some stand up paddling, kayaking, jungle trekking with the chance of spotting a snake or two, dolphin watching or mangrove tours (where some crocodiles lurk!).
A stay at this lush resort will prove anything but boring!
Pantai Damai Santubong, Jalan Sultan Tengah, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
For more information, visit http://www.permairainforest.com
We hope that we have got you excited about trying one of the sustainable accommodations mentioned above! Each of these hotels or resorts are located in states that we would most recommend visiting, each bearing their own unique personality and range of cultural and outdoor activities to try out. While most of these places are accessible by car or ground transport (except for Sarawak, obviously), we would recommend catching a flight for convenience and to maximise your stay in each place. If you are considering Element Kuala Lumpur or Hotel Penaga, visit Mayflower.com.my for the latest room deals that you don’t want to miss!
A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or reach her at vidadeliya at gmail.