Investing in our Planet, Earth Day 2023
April 19, 2023 by Hidden Doorways
On April 22nd, we will once again be celebrating Earth Day, honoring our beautiful world with this year’s theme, “Invest In Our Planet”. Hidden Doorways is delighted to share the extraordinary conservation, sustainability, regenerative, and social responsibility initiatives from our clients worldwide that help guests travel more consciously, give back to the earth, and become stewards of the world.
SUJÁN | Rajasthan, India
Conservation is deeply rooted in SUJÁN’s ethos, which is evident throughout its three luxury safari/wilderness camps located in Rajasthan, India. Its founders Anjali and Jaisal Singh are some of the most respected voices and visionaries advocating for positive change for India’s endangered wildlife conservation and local communities. A stay at any of the three spectacular camps contributes to its vast conservation efforts while supporting its wildlife populations, local schools, and nearby communities. While staying at SUJÁN, you will become connected to India on a deeper level, whether by getting up close to entrancing leopards on billion-year-old granite rock formations or immersing yourself in local culture by walking with a Rabari herdsmen at JAWAI, spotting Royal Bengal Tigers at Sher Bagh, or marveling at the local craftsmanship that blend into its desert surroundings at The Serai. In its on-going effort to preserve its endangered tigers, SUJÁN partnered with Tiger Watch, led by Dharm Khandal, Conservation Biologist.
Pikaia Lodge | Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
For nature lovers, there are few places as spectacular as the Galápagos Islands, the birthplace of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Pikaia Lodge is the perfect home base to explore these stunning islands. This luxury eco-lodge sits in the middle of a giant tortoise reserve spanning 31 hectares, which once used to be a cattle ranch. Pikaia Lodge took on the massive task of reforesting the grounds and to date has planted over 11,000 trees, resulting in many tortoises and other wild animals returning to the area. The sleek, minimalist, yet luxurious eco-lodge is carbon neutral, powered by alternative energy sources. Pikaia is dedicated to bringing endemic flora and fauna back to the former cattle ranch with its reforestation program, and has now introduced a new app called PLANTSS, which allows guests to track their reforested tree. With this app, guests can also walk around the property and identify the plants that surround the lodge, allowing them to learn more about the Galápagos’ biodiversity and how wildlife on the property benefit from the reforested trees.
The Brando | Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
A luxurious resort located on an idyllic private island within the heart of French Polynesia, The Brando is world-renowned for its sustainability efforts and is a leader in eco-friendly hospitality. In 2022, they are launching the Blue Climate Global Initiative, bringing together scientists, community groups, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, influencers, and others to protect the ocean and accelerate ocean-related strategies to address the climate crisis and other pressing environmental issues. In partnership with The Brando and the Tetiaroa Society, guests of the resort can venture out on guided tours with trained professionals in Tetiaroa’s biodiversity and cultural history to see the atoll’s natural beauty, from seabird nesting sites to a coral reef system, archaeological sites, and more. Children can also explore this atoll’s natural beauty through immersive educational programs at the Lagoon School.
The Fife Arms | Braemar, Scotland
Hidden away in the stunning and wild Scottish highlands, The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland is a spectacular luxury property surrounded by some of the most incredible natural wonders. The Fife Arms is committed to supporting the region’s delicate ecological balance through their conservation program, and they actively support many local environmental protection projects, including an initiative aimed at safeguarding the River Dee’s freshwater pearl mussels which, at one point, were hunted to near extinction. In fact, the cast bronze mussel shell fobs – on all the Fife Arms’ room keys – references this much-loved endangered species. Guests can learn more about the hotel’s many sustainability efforts and explore the surrounding natural habitat through fun and immersive experiences with The Fife Arms’ incredibly knowledgeable Ghillie guides.
Uplifting Local Communities:
Casa Palopó | Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Color has the transformative power to change people’s lives. Casa Palopó, Guatemala’s first Relais & Chateaux property set on the tranquil shores of the famed Lake Atitlán, invites guests to partake in an immersive experience with organization Pintando Santa Catarina, uplifting the spirits of locals living in the nearby village by painting their homes in vibrant colorful hues and geometric patterns. Casa Palopó believes that lovely details such as the facades of buildings and houses can greatly improve the reality of a community and its members, and they are proud to be transforming the town of Santa Catarina Palopó into a cultural destination by beautifying it’s 850 houses, thereby creating a stronger feeling of pride and belonging, as well as new job opportunities for locals.
Micato Safaris | East Africa
Micato Safaris specializes in luxury Custom African Safaris and Small Group African Safaris, and they take pride in giving back to the local community in which they are based. As the Micato-AmericaShare program continued their charitable work in the local community, they recognized the need for a headquarters and in 2007 built the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Community Centre, a multi-purpose facility built through the generosity of past Micato travelers. During their safaris, Micato guests often visit the Harambee Centre and see first-hand the direct impact these educational and community outreach programs are having on the lives of these children and their families. It’s an experience that is in every way immersive and transformational, and many Micato guests cite their visit to AmericaShare as the highlight of their safaris. During the Mukuru visit, Micato travelers can also go to the nearby headquarters of Huru. Huru manufactures reusable sanitary pads— nearly 1,700,000 to date—which have been distributed in free Huru Kits to more than 202,000 girls in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Ellerman House | Cape Town, South Africa
Situated in South Africa’s glorious capital city of Cape Town, the luxury property Ellerman house has long been a dream destination for adventure, art, and wine lovers. Ellerman House also knows the importance of giving back and uplifting the local community, and is proudly committed to serving Cape Town’s vulnerable communities. The owners,The Harris family, have established Click Learning; a non-profit education initiative that deploys online literacy and numeracy programs in under-privileged primary schools across the country. Formed in 2012, Click Learning was built on the idea that the correct use of technology can shift the education paradigm in an efficient, cost-effective and scalable manner. Ellerman House has also opened its doors to host the annual charity art auction, ArtAngels, for the benefit of Click Learning. Each year’s event includes a limited auction of fine art pieces, kindly donated by some of South Africa’s most revered artists. Guests are invited to place bids on their favorite works, buy raffle tickets for locally sponsored prizes and enjoy the best of South Africa’s culinary creations, award-winning wines and musical performances.
Seed to Soul Farming:
Southall Farm & Inn | Franklin, Tennessee
Situated in Franklin, Tennessee, the sprawling property of Southall inhabits 325 acres of lush, rolling hills, old-growth forests, and active farmland, creating a restorative experience that provides refuge and respite from the bustle of everyday life. Southall is dedicated to working in harmony with nature, returning to property management and agricultural practices that nourish the earth and provide guests with access to rich experiences rooted in natural elements, including hyper-local culinary, agricultural, and wellness explorations. The fully functioning farm features a 2000-tree apple orchard, an orangerie, and 15,000 square feet of hydroponic and traditional conservatory greenhouses. Of particular note are the farm’s dedicated seed-saving program and its bee program, both of which speak to the farm’s dedication to working in harmony with nature and supporting the biodiversity of the land that it inhabits.
Herdade da Malhadina Nova | Alentejo, Portugal
Set near the charming village of Portugal’s Albernoa, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is a family-owned boutique hotel, vineyard, farm and passion project, and a proud member of Relais & Chateaux that is deeply rooted in sustainability and regeneration of the land. Last year, Malhadinha Nova was also selected to represent “Best regenerative agriculture practices” in the global “Food For Change” campaign in partnership with Slow Food International. Throughout the property’s development, the owners made sure that the soil was not damaged by intensive soil-use through chemical fertilizers and pesticides, severe monoculture farming, or developed real-estate. In the process of regenerating the land for future generations of guests to enjoy, Malhadinha Nova aims to provide economic investment by elevating its first-class service, agricultural products, and wine to Portuguese and international markets. Its staff are also the heart and soul of the property, as 80% are locals from the area.
Farm to Table Produce:
Heckfield Place | Hampshire, England
A stunning, lovingly restored historic Georgian estate set on 438-acres in the bucolic English countryside, Heckfield Place is constantly evolving with nature and redefining the idea of a country hotel with its credited biodynamic farm, farm-to-fork Michelin-starred cuisine, and more. Everything the hotel does relates to nature by preserving its Woodlands, which date back to 1865 when William Wildsmith was brought to Heckfield Place as a foreman and became its head gardener in 1867. Today the estate manages the original woodlands and ancient trees while propagating centuries-old trees in their Biodynamic Tree Nursery so they can be enjoyed for another 150 years. Guests can tour the lush gardens, explore the grounds, and learn about the impressive on-property farm, and then enjoy delicious cuisine made with the freshest of local produce.
Brush Creek Ranch | Saratoga, Wyoming
Nestled across 30,000 acres of expansive, rolling wildness at the base of Medicine Bow National Forest surrounded by the Sierra Madres Mountains in south central Wyoming outside the historic town of Saratoga, Brush Creek Ranch imbues the heart of the American West. This iconic ranch has made transformational strides to live off the land following the traditions of pioneers who went out West. Brush Creek Ranch not only operates an authentic cattle ranch sustainably. Following the traditions of the pioneers who went West, they work to operate an authentic cattle ranch sustainably with rotational grazing, forest management and run a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse that produces enough fruit, vegetables and herbs to supply the entire property. They also help educate guests on locavore cuisine. This learning – and eating – takes place at The Farm, a 40,000-square-foot complex that includes a creamery, distillery, cellar, bakery and restaurant with exceptional seed-to-table cuisine.
Twin Farms | Barnard, Vermont
Twin Farms is a famed culinary destination set in the secluded, lush countryside of Vermont with cozy yet luxurious accommodations and cottages that offer spectacular farm-to-table gourmet experiences evolving with the seasons. Executive Chef Nathan Rich and his team specialize in clean, crisp dishes made by sourcing fresh ingredients, produce, and meats from neighboring farms. The seasons act as inspiration for the ever-changing farm-to-table menus. As dining is an integral part of a Twin Farms stay, the Culinary Team customizes each menu with thoughtfully paired wines from its cellar of 15,000 bottles that are sustainable, organic, and biodynamic.
Kokomo Private Island | Kadavu Islands, Fiji
Located in the pristine Kadavu Islands, south of Fiji’s mainland, Kokomo Private Island is the perfect island paradise for travelers seeking luxury, adventure, romance or simply time to reconnect with loved ones. Initiatives such as coral restoration, mangrove reforestation and Dock to Dish, a sustainable community-based fishing program, empower the Kokomo team to preserve important elements of the native culture. Kokomo boasts a 5.5-acre farm and hydroponics garden that yields 60 percent of the island’s produce for ever-changing menus and seasonal specials, with beehives and a henhouse producing honey and free-range eggs. Guests can dine at the island’s three restaurants for locally sourced cuisine and caught-to-order seafood from an international “Dock to Dish” sustainable fishing program, the only operation of it’s kind in the South Pacific. In 2018, Kokomo launched the South Pacific chapter of Dock to Dish, a community-supported sustainable fishing venture committed to restoring the relationship between seafood producers and consumers. An international network of small-scale fishermen, marine biologists and sustainable seafood advocates, Dock to Dish supports the growth and development of small-scale fishing communities, while prioritizing fresh, flavorsome seafood. For the complete Dock to Dish experience, guests can join one of Kokomo’s skilled fishing teams on an excursion and bring their catches back to shore to have them transformed into decadent meals by Kokomo’s culinary team.
Costa Rican Trails
Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world, and Costa Rican Trails is the perfect guide to discover the natural beauty of this lush eco-minded country with curated outdoor activities and exhilarating excursions to celebrate the pura vida spirit while immersing in the natural wonderland of Costa Rica. No two days are the same when you are touring with their knowledgeable guides, and families will enjoy zip lining through the rainforest, hiking to natural springs, spotting hundreds of indigenous birds, and even meeting a volcanologist. At Costa Rica Trails, they believe that traveling sustainably means supporting the communities they visit, and they love to include in their itineraries visits to local schools and communities, with a donation of supplies given by their generous guests. One of the projects they support is Pack for a Purpose, a nonprofit that positively impacts communities around the world by helping travelers bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. Travelers will also have unique experiences with conservation organizations that Costa Rican Trails supports, where they will learn from researchers and actively participate in their conservation efforts to protect wildlife and the environment.