Conscious travel with regard for the climate and the environment is becoming increasingly popular. However, many of us ask ourselves whether and how climate-conscious travel is possible at all. What can we do to minimise our carbon footprint and not lose our appetite for adventure? How can we estimate and lessen the ecological impact of our favourite trip? The new wellnessHostel3000 in Laax (Grisons) which just recently opened in December 2020 is a good example of how wellness and sustainability can be successfully combined.
Sustainability begins with the journey
If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll probably choose to travel by public transport – by bus and train during the cold season, and maybe by bike in the spring.
The Swiss Youth Hostels generally make sure there are good public transport connections nearby and work together with Rent a Bike at many locations. As with many other youth hostels, the journey to wellnessHostel3000 isn’t an energy-guzzling long-distance trip. It’s also easy to reach by public transport – and your bike will find its own place to rest in the lockable bike room in Laax.
What exactly makes accommodations sustainable?
When choosing accommodation that is as sustainable as possible, you can focus on different areas. On the one hand, it is important for your stay not to consume too much energy or generate too much waste – for the sake of the environment. On the other hand, the host should have a local focus, e.g. cook regionally and seasonally. In addition, socially sustainable businesses are characterised by the fact that they are accessible to all: barrier-free and with fair prices. And finally, an environmentally friendly hotel or hostel offers the possibility to offset your carbon, the proceeds of which usually go towards a climate project or are used to design new building projects according to ecological standards.
Avoid – reduce – offset emissions
In terms of energy efficiency, the wellness oasis on Lake Laax can benefit from a well thought-out and proven environmental concept of the Swiss Youth Hostels. According to the 2019 Annual Report, the network of a total of 50 hostels achieves a very high level of environmental sustainability by focusing on these three basic principles: Avoid, reduce and offset emissions. This is done through sustainable construction of new buildings (applying Minergie and ECO standards), optimal building insulation, use of solar energy or wood heating, intelligent water-saving measures, regional sourcing of fresh food, recycling and proper waste disposal.
Guests can voluntarily offset their emissions: In 2019, participation was a pleasing 58%. This amount, together with the returns from the photovoltaic systems (Bern, Fällanden, Saas-Fee and St. Moritz youth hostels), flows into the Swiss Youth Hostels’ climate fund.
Sustainable and trendy relaxation
If you look at it this way, it’s not that difficult to choose a sustainable travel destination in this country. Even in the wellness area, where you would actually expect increased water and heat consumption, you can travel with a good climate conscience. After all: While the first modern wellness hotel in Saas-Fee (wellnessHostel4000) is powered by solar district heating, which is also available in winter thanks to an underground storage tank, the newly opened wellnessHostel3000 in Laax, Grisons, is heated with wood from the surrounding forest – totally climate-free. The new Pardanal wood-fired heating plant in Laax helps save 175 tonnes of carbon each year. This entire project was realised together with the complete renovation of the local indoor swimming pool, allowing us to streamline operations and provide a special combination of hostel, indoor swimming pool and wellness area (Aua Grava) on top of that.
Not only is the design of the complex trendy – at the restaurant Biblau (Rhaeto-Romanic for “beautiful blue”), you can also order numerous vegetarian or vegan dishes. The unique concept is inspired by the regional nature and culture, especially by the Rhaeto-Romanic language, which you will encounter all over in the most diverse ways.