TRAVEL + LEISURE Asia The Rise Of Vegan-Friendly Hotels

Identifying as vegan is no longer just about consuming a diet that excludes all foods of animal origin. Vegan convictions go beyond meal times and the travel industry is now looking to this market segment that wants to be faithful to its values including during vacations and especially in regard to the choice of hotel. A growing number of establishments are providing rooms whose furniture and bedding are totally free from the use of animal products. A new category of accommodation, aka vegan-friendly hotels, is on the horizon.

Vegan-friendly hotels are on the rise

No items in leather or wool… Newly renovated rooms at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, which was added to the prestigious Mandarin Oriental group portfolio in 2020 but got its official relaunch last month, have been specifically designed with the expectations of vegan guests in mind.

Previously under the banner of the Kempinski Group, the most luxurious hotel in the emirate, built in the early 2000s, now features rooms where “absolutely nothing is made using animal-based products or materials.” Claimed to be the first-ever offer of dedicated vegan rooms in the Arabian Gulf, the prestigious five-star address makes the beds up with eco-responsible linens while bathrobes are made of bamboo-based fibre.

For toiletries, the Votary brand’s plant-based products are available, while in the mini-bar, guests will find only vegan products including vegan wine. The reception basket features fruit. These renovations are part of a larger trend of hotels looking to attract travellers who aren’t about to put their convictions about not exploiting animals on hold for their getaways.

In 2020, a Greek hotel on the island of Mykonos proclaimed itself the first vegan hotel in Greece. The boutique hotel Koukoumi, whose name in the Myconian dialect refers to a warm place nestled away from the wind, has equipped beds with coconut fibre mattresses while water used both in guest bathrooms and in the pool is heated with solar energy. Amenities include soy candles and bamboo toothbrushes and of course, none of the products have been tested on animals.

“Hotels that adopt sustainable and cruelty-free practices can enhance their reputation and differentiate themselves from their competitors. A positive reputation for sustainability and animal welfare can help hotels attract and retain customers and increase brand loyalty,” Rica Jain, co-founder of vegan beauty brand Kimirica, explained in the Indian publication Financial Express earlier this month. In an analysis relayed by various titles in the Indian press, such as the Times of India, the executive stressed that “the hospitality industry has a critical role to play in promoting sustainability. The hospitality industry needs to make sustainability a commitment and not just a marketing strategy.”

Published on 27 March 2023