Luxe goes green
With Christmas trees made of bottles, pipes, tubes, and more, these hotels are revelling in the holiday spirit with an eco-friendly touch
Meet Windy, the newest selfie spot and highlight of ITC Grand Chola. The 19-foot tall X’mas tree has been the talk among patrons frequenting the property. Brightly lit up in LED lights powered entirely by renewable energy, the tree embodies the ethos of responsible luxury and represents the hotel’s Net Zero Carbon status.
This season, the evergreen firs and pines have taken a backseat and paved the way for handmade and sustainable trees decked up with impressive recycled ornaments. This promising trend of ushering in the Yuletide spirit with thematic, eco-friendly trees seems to have picked up with prominent five-star properties in and around Chennai. And ITC, with its LEED Zero Carbon Certification, is one among the handful.
Throwing light on the work from conceptualisation to execution, Zubin Songadwala, general manager - ITC Grand Chola and area manager - ITC hotels South, shares, “Our grand lobby has at least six people at any point in time taking pictures with the tree. It’s also been widely circulated on social media with hashtags. Our team of engineers and electricians pulled off this task in a month’s time. Every element is made in-house from scratch.”
A mindful makeover
For properties like Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, this is not a first with using trees as tools to drive home meaningful messages. This is their third year of experimenting with nature-friendly X’mas trees. The 25-foot tall structure has been arduously and innovatively put together with recycled materials. It’s painted in golden hues and lit up with a cascade of lights. Dinesh Kumar, chief engineer, explains, “This year, we picked up scrap pipes, tubes and tyres of varying sizes from our backyard for the different layers of the tree. It took the engineering team hardly a week's time to complete the project. Festive seasons are opportunities for us to exhibit our creativity. We approach it with a competitive spirit.”
Sharing similar intentions, miles away, at InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram resort, are a bunch of like-minded green mavens who brought to life an X’mas tree sculpted from sand and seashells. The tree highlights a compelling eco-awareness message about beach erosion experienced by the Eastern Coast of Mahabalipuram. The team also reached out to the local fishermen of Covelong village to support their livelihood with seashell and ornament purchases.
“This is our third year with sustainable trees and the project involved a team of 35. The miniature model was ready by September and the final by the last week of November after some feedback from the management,” details Kunal Shanker, general manager.
The best out of waste
Besides promoting sustainable development, one of the prime reasons that encourage properties to play up their festive decor, is active engagement with loyal customers. Two such properties of The Ascott Limited are Somerset Greenways Chennai and Citadines OMR Chennai. At the former, the 12-foot X’mas tree is made of plastic drain cells unearthed while refurbishing their rooftop area.
While the eight-foot tree at Citadines is made out of single-use plastic water bottles cut into interesting shapes and spray-painted. Supriya Malhotra, area general manager, Chennai Cluster, notes, “What you see is just the finished product but behind it goes plenty of hard work, brainstorming sessions and sleepless nights. After the foundation, the design elements are painted, sprinkled with glitters and made all vibrant to keep the whole set-up appealing.”
To green beginnings
The properties are also inspiring fellow players to step up for the larger cause. Taking tiny steps is Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. The hotel’s four-dimensional, 14-foot X’mas tree was conceptualised by three generations of artists — Premalatha, Bhagwan Chavan, and Aparajithan Adimoolam associated with Bhagwan Chavan Research Art Foundation and Cholamandal Artist Village. The tree is an illusionistic walk-in art piece repurposed from 8 mm plywood discard, appealing to the childlike enamour of surprise with its morning and evening colour transition, angled views and towering cut patterns for light reflections.
Beyond all the merry-making, this season can also come at an ecological cost with mindless consumption and wastage of resources. With these hotels making Christmas greener, we'll have to wait till next year to see how many more join this brigade of eco-crusaders.