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Will London’s newest “eco hotel” be a success?

by Rajul on January 16, 2010

The eco-friendly aspects of the Rafayel Hotel are discreetly hidden "under the hood"

The eco-friendly aspects of the Rafayel Hotel are discreetly hidden "under the hood"

The recently-opened “eco-luxe” Rafayel Hotel (or Rafayel on the Left Bank as it calls itself) in Battersea has just received its first TripAdvisor reviews.

And since we love green hotels on this blog – having praised the eco award-winning Cavendish and Base2stay hotels as well as the Zetter at various times – we’ve decided to take a closer look at the Rafayel too.

This new hotel is interesting because it seems to have been constructed from head to toe with the environment in mind.  The hotel’s owners rather boldly state that they don’t see any compromise between luxury and eco-friendliness and have set out to hit both targets at the same time.

As the hotel developer puts it:  “luxury should not mean adhering to traditional standards of unsustainable opulence; rather it should incorporate technology in tune with the sensitivities of Mother Nature.”

Time will tell whether they manage to achieve their ambitious goals but I think the spirit and lofty targets are admirable.

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Early guest reviews of the Rafayel seem to suggest that its claim of "luxury plus eco-friendly" is not without substance

Early guest reviews of the Rafayel appear to suggest that its "luxury-eco" claim is not without substance

Here are some of the ways that the Rafayel is setting out to reinvent our idea of what a “green hotel” should offer:

  • Cutting-edge new green technology to minimise energy consumption.
  • “No plastic” policy.
  • Paper and glass recycling.
  • LED lighting.
  • Efficient air conditioning/air management system.
  • Full-length windows to maximise natural light.
  • Rainwater recycled from roof.
  • Only organic and fair trade products.
  • Guests offered electronic rather than printed newspapers.
  • Handmade beds recycled with “zero landfill” processes.

The goal is to cut the average guest’s carbon footprint by 17kg from the conventional hotel average of 70kg/night – a 20% improvement.

Some of the hotel’s ideas are certainly innovative.  For example, it may be possible for guests to view their own energy consumption.  This opens up the possibility of eventually giving rewards to the most eco-friendly guests.

It’s important that innovation and competition stimulate more hotels to pick up the challenge of being truly green.  In this sense, the Rafayel’s opening is a step in the right direction and I hope it succeeds as a positive example.

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The TripAdvisor guest feedback sample is still too small to analyse however, the initial signs look promising and it has provisionally entered the charts in the top 50.  Watch this space and we’ll keep you fully informed.

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Photo credits: Rafayel Hotel.

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Best London Hotels South of the River | London Hotel News | Official daily news on London hotels |
February 15, 2011 at 6:48 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Springfield January 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I like the concept and I live in the area. It is a great addition to the area. I also like the view from the hotel, as shown in the hotel’s blog

Kamar Verm January 17, 2010 at 12:47 am

I visited this hotel today as it is on my way to my work. The signage is very discreet signalling the coolness of the developers. As an architectural professional, it was a pleasure to see that the hotel has been designed so minutely, the attention to the detail is mind boggling. I would strongly recommend architects to visit.

The eco-friendly and unique boutique design of the hotel has coalesced to produce a grand result. I would like my design work team to stay there from now on. I am delighted that we finally have a top class product in the area. My pick in rating the concept of the design would be the grand lobby closely followed by the large rooms with their jaw-dropping bathrooms.

I would rate it far better than so called top boutique hotels in London since it is what a boutique hotel should be like. I hope they can provide the service that this unique product will deserve.

Harry.H January 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

I stayed in this hotel recently and found it to be impressive.

As a eco-activist I rate this effort to combine green with luxury as a brave effort.

I would rate Rafayel a great hotel for business. Battersea sounds distant but I was pleasantly surprised that it took me 20 minutes to get to Mayfair from the hotel.

The unique features that I would like to highlight are:

1- The beds which are just grand.
2- The corridors- I have never seen wider corridors in a new build with shared lobbies on a typical floor.
3. Carpets- very good quality.
4. Decor- sculptures and art all over
5- Wide plasma TV screens, Power jet showers
7- Amenities- organic
8- Technology- every room has a user guide
9- Earth friendly- all low energy LEDs
10- No paper or plastics, can be inconvenient when you need to take notes instead of electronic notes
11- Free hispeed internet, office table and room to work in the room, BT rates for telephones
12- Board room facility and attached large common areas.
13- Nice lobby and great bar
14- Free shuttle to Sloane square, a big plus
15- Jacuzzi and bathroom TVs in my Amazon room
16- SPA was not ready, that was a disappointment but hopefully in the next visit it will be
17- I think great value for what I paid for and the staff was keen to please
18- Linen and pillows- extremely good

I was most impressed by the eco friendly credentials and the very welcoming staff.

Bathrooms were sometimes cold (though the temperatures outside were below freezing) I was informed that the eco-friendly nature of the hotel resulted in no towel heaters. No doubt towel heaters are the worst eco offenders. They consume anywhere between 2.5 to 3 kw and can single-handedly destroy any saving of energy through LED.

Will customers accept a slightly cold bathroom on a day of temperatures at minus 1 and still be happy? Eco friendly does mean some compromise on trigger free nature of consumption and this is tricky ground they are playing on. I think we need to change our idea of “luxury”. I hope they can maintain these high standards and that the technology works.

Rozzie S. January 18, 2010 at 9:07 am

A fantastic boutique hotel in London that makes good on all its promises. I had a wonderful stay and plan to make it my weekend haunt. Rafayel on the Left Bank had an attention grabbing tagline of “affordable luxury.” I did not expect such superb “personality” with it. The staff was warm and helpful, patiently attending to my ineptness in operating state-of-the-art controls. Beds were a dream! Had a wonderful sleep. Although dining was a quiet affair given that it is new, the hotel’s restaurant, Banyan, offers a very interesting, sumptuous and eclectic cuisine. Didn’t have the time to work the extra pounds off at the gym, but the Wellbeing spa was fantastic. I know where my Valentine’s day will be spent!

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