Each summer there is no guess work where we’ll be staying for our family vacation. The Tigh-Na- Mara resort on Vancouver Island has everything a family loves; a beach that stretches for miles covered with magical tidal pools, rustic cabins that provide the comforts of home, and amazing restaurant and spa facilities. The inspiration for this article is the great job Tigh-Na-Mara resort and Spa accomplish with green initiatives. It’s a tough job greening up a resort covering 22 acres of quite possibly the most beautiful land on Vancouver Island and I recognize and appreciate the effort as a returning guest. When booking your accommodations, have you ever wondered what happens to left over shampoo bottles only partially used from your hotel? Have you inquired if composting and recycling services are available? The answers might surprise you and would those answers effect how you felt about the resort or hotel? There is a ‘green team’ that is changing the way the Tigh-Na-Mara approaches guest services and it’s a unique aspect that I’m so proud to write about. This year wasn’t any different with new eco initiatives by Tigh-Na-Mara and learning about them really enhanced my family’s vacation.
We had only gotten through the parking lot when we saw the sign to rent ‘eco scooters’ which is something new because these scooters are powered by biofuel or there’s an electric option. The company Eco Scooter Rentals own and operate these scooters that are located in the parking lot of Tigh-Na-Mara. Another new perk to staying at Tigh-Na-Mara is a free bus service that does pickup at the resort called Get Around Downtown encouraging resort guests to shop and enjoy downtown Parksville while reducing car emissions.
It’s not just return guests that are noticing the greener changes in the way the Tigh-Na-Mara conducts business. They received the ‘4 Green Key’ rating from the Hotel Association of Canada back in March and more recently the 2010 Going Green Award from Business Excellence Awards. Staff and Management of the resort are proud of the full commitment to greening both business and guest experiences, while not compromising their excellent guest and customer service.
More changes that are significant include:
~ Overhaul of kitchen dishwashing equipment to biodegradable cleaning products
~ 80% of kitchen waste is composted
~ Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products by housekeeping team and laundry cleaning products
~ More than 70% of all collateral produced is printed on recycled paper and several using biodegradable inks
Tigh-Na-Mara’s Grotto Spa rated #1 spa in Western Canada offers signature treatments with a focus on natural ingredients. I discovered my favorite organic skincare line last year while visiting the Spa. Sea Flora is the name of the organic skincare line made of seaweed that is sold in the Grotto Spa and I love the local support for founder Diane Bernard who comes with a magical story and business all on her own! You also see the local love in the Tigh-Na-Mara gift shop and why wouldn’t a resort on Vancouver Island support their own artists and small business owners? The talent of artists, chemical-free soaps/skin care lines, and handmade items is abundant and inspiring all across Vancouver Island.
As you stroll the relaxing grounds of Tigh-Na-Mara you can’t help but notice the respect to the 22 acres property with abundant Arbutus and Pine trees and electric golf carts used throughout the resort for transportation. Signs of the extensive resort recycling program are everywhere and the fact kitchen food waste is composted is impressive…very few restaurants in big cities are able to maintain a program like this. Take away containers for the restaurant are made from 100% recycled paper using 35% or more post-consumer recycled paper. Tigh-Na-Mara also uses Lightning Nugget Firestarters. Have you heard of these firestarters that are produced with pitchwood rather than harmful chemicals? The nuggets are made in the US – what a great find by ‘Green Team’ member Kelly!
With so many nature based activities to mention in this one article, I’d like to mention 3 memories that will forever imprint my heart from this vacation. The first was walking through the doors of our cabin arriving on the first day and finding a geocaching map with 5 of the closest caches marked for my family to find. The customer service on this gesture was amazing and very thoughtful of Tigh-Na-Mara staff. Then later in the week we ventured to Cathedral Grove which is a protected forest filled with 800 year old Douglas Fir trees. The picture below is my kids exploring the roots of an upturned tree. The only word I can think of to describe the images in this forest is Epic!
And yesterday morning my family was invited to join a local biologist on Rathtrevor beach. We are now spoiled for life because all the questions we’ve ever wondered about shore-line creatures were answered in this 2 hour beach combing sessions. This offering is available for any family staying at the Tigh Na Mara and has been wildly popular. This initiative, plus weekly visits to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association located in Parksville further supports the resort’s commitment to the environment through wildlife education for guests and their children.
My thanks to Kelly, Jenn, and Alexis at the Tigh-Na-Mara for their dedication and excellence with green initiatives and helping my family get to experience many of the eco-magic the Tigh-Na-Mara offers. To keep track of the latest offerings from this fabulous resort, follow the Tigh Na Mara Facebook fan page or twitter account at @Tigh_Na_Mara. And yes, if you’ve been patiently waiting for my answer about what the Tigh-Na-Mara does with left over shampoo…the answer is all the partially filled bottles are donated to a local Women’s Shelter. It’s a question I will now ask every hotel or resort my family stays because I’ve realized the answer is important to me.