As the recent winner of two ‘World Luxury Hotel’ Awards, we at the Hermitage feel we should explain what the concept of hotel luxury means to us. This can best be summed up as the SLOW LIFE.
Serving the richest 20-30 % of the planet’s population, hotels around the world have long consumed far more than their share of the available resources, while the negative impact those gated tourist ghettoes can have on local communities is well known. This model represents a linear path leading to the long-term detriment of the environment and also of the industry itself. We champion circular business practices that reduce demands on natural capital and underpin long-term sustainability. The good business is not just a question of short-term profitability, it is one that benefits all who come into its orbit, improving their lives long-term too.
We do not fly in orchids from Bangkok each day, nor gourmet cheeses from Paris. The flowers that adorn our rooms are picked fresh each morning by the ladies of our housekeeping and spa teams as they walk to work, and our cheese is most likely to be freshly made Indian paneer, served in a variety of mouth-watering curries and sauces. Located in the middle of a fishing community, we buy its varied catch fresh each morning. Overall our staff is 95% drawn from the local area (where unemployment is often high). All in all, many extended families – perhaps 400 people - benefit directly from our employment policy, and this is not counting the local suppliers.
We do all we can to use only organic food and products, especially in the Priya Spa. But to be organic means more than just to eat unadulterated food. On a wider level it means to be integrated, to have an awareness of a greater whole. This has implications at many different levels. To take just the ecological aspect. We have a strict ‘no plastic’ policy, which includes a ban on so-called ‘mineral’ water in plastic bottles. They are an ecological disaster, particularly in Kerala which has almost zero ecological awareness. We already have delicious water from our own water table, which we purify further by the most advanced method, ‘reverse osmosis’. So, no plastic bottles here. Still unconvinced? To assess the real benefits of the plastic bottled water business, try spelling Evian backwards.
We believe that the default setting for a healthy human being is a natural and inherent contentment, a state which yoga philosophy calls santosh. Because so few of us enjoy this state spontaneously, we have to go through all sorts of procedures to try and recover it. Thus was born the billion-dollar ‘Wellness industry’ Adherence to a few simple principles can help enormously: a regular routine, enough rest, wholesome food, adequate physical exercise, a limit on screen-staring and a simple meditation practice to rest and sharpen the mind. Keep good, nourishing company and don’t fill your mind with rubbish you are powerless to change. This simple wisdom informs our days here, and we also offer Ayurvedic advice and specific treatments to correct any imbalance you may have.
As well as relaxation we offer several valuable learning opportunities. Yoga and meditation under expert guidance unknot the mind and body. We have a library and lectures for those interested in Indian culture, and regular visits to nearby religious and festival events. You can take bird-watching tours accompanied by local ornithologists; cooking classes are available daily from our chefs. And in the peaceful and tranquil environment, free of habitual demands, you might also discover a thing or two about yourself.
Inspiration means literally ‘breathing in’ – taking into yourself unpolluted air, refreshing life-energy, vitality, enthusiasm. This is why for all of those seeking to recharge their batteries naturally, we advocate joining The Hermitage family. For the rest of your life.
Lest some of the above sound a little too worthy, we should not forget that life is to be enjoyed. In fact, we have a serious duty not to take anything too seriously. To us, ‘fun’ is simple, human, and natural. So, whether you are drawn to sunning, swimming, yoga, walking through the spice gardens, bike-riding or sitting on your verandah with a good book or having long lazy meals spiced with good conversation, with the option of visiting festivals and markets and interacting with the locals, The Hermitage is a place to enjoy yourself!
"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best" Oscar Wilde