Sunday, October 15, 2017

Banyan Tree to operate eco-friendly resort in Mandai

Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) has appointed Banyan Tree Holdings (Banyan Tree) as the operator of an eco-friendly resort to be located within the new integrated nature and wildlife destination at Mandai, Singapore.

This partnership marks the debut of the award-winning, Singapore-based hospitality company on home ground after its global success.

Integrated with Mandai’s natural surroundings, it is envisioned the eco-friendly resort will provide an immersive stay close to nature, offering unique experiences that inspire care for biodiversity and sustainable behaviour. It will provide, for the first time, the opportunity for visitors to stay over in a full-service accommodation at the doorstep of Singapore’s wildlife parks. Guests will be able to enjoy and explore the precinct’s array of offerings, including its five wildlife parks, nature-themed indoor attraction and public green spaces.

Besides convenient access to the parks and their programming, the resort will offer activities that allow guests to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of biodiversity and the environment, such as guided nature walks, native wildlife spotting tours, recycling workshops and educational movie screenings. From design and construction through to operations, the resort will adopt environmentally-friendly and sustainable best practices.  

“This stayover experience forms an integral part of our overall vision for the Mandai nature and wildlife precinct - to inspire guests to value and conserve biodiversity through memorable experiences. Together with our operating partner, Banyan Tree, we look forward to creating an exemplary showcase of eco-friendly best practices in Mandai’s resort, which Singaporeans can be proud of. Banyan Tree has a strong track record in developing and managing resorts that are sensitively located and sustainably operated. Through its global portfolio of resorts, it runs many meaningful environmental conservation and community programmes. In this regard, we are deeply aligned,” said Mike Barclay, Group CEO of MPH.

“After establishing 43 resorts in 25 countries over the past 23 years, we are excited to partner MPH to plant Banyan Tree’s first flag in Singapore. With MPH’s mission and expertise in wildlife conservation and education, this partnership is in line with Banyan Tree’s ethos and experience in developing sustainable resorts that fit into the natural settings - to create an original and authentic accommodation experience like none other. Together, we hope to provide guests with a memorable stay that highlights Banyan Tree’s signature hospitality experience with a green conscience,” said Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman of Banyan Tree.  

Owned by MPH and operated by Banyan Tree, the resort in Mandai will be jointly created and named by both parties. Following the formation of the partnership, the next steps would entail developing the design and operations plans for the resort, which is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Sensitive Design & Sustainable Operations

The resort will be sited on a 4.6 ha plot of land at the eastern end of the Mandai precinct. Part of this area has already been impacted by the existing back-of-house facilities for the existing wildlife parks, including a sewage treatment plant, animal quarantine facilities and staff quarters. These facilities will be de-commissioned and cleared to make way for the resort.

The resort’s design and development will be undertaken with careful consideration to the surroundings, based on principles and parameters outlined in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for the Mandai rejuvenation project. Led by the project’s Environmental Advisory Panel (EAP), a multi-disciplinary work group has been formed to provide expert inputs across the areas of design and sustainable operations .

The resort will feature different accommodation types including standard and family rooms in low-rise structures, as well as elevated cabins or treehouses immersed in greenery. To achieve harmony with the landscape, the development will be low-intensity and built sensitively around existing vegetation, respecting existing tree canopies and the natural topography of the area.

Flora of conservation value will be protected, and a 15-metre wide strip of land along the edge of the Upper Seletar Reservoir will be set aside to create a buffer of retained vegetation. Care will be taken to provide habitat connectivity for local wildlife in the vicinity. On the ground, the footprint of the resort will be designed to facilitate local wildlife movements across the site.

To ensure sensitivity to the surroundings, the design and operations of the resort will include specific measures to control lighting and noise emissions. Sustainable design will be adopted to reduce and reuse energy, waste and water. Examples include using energy efficient building design to provide natural ventilation and daylight, as well as incorporating renewable energy sources and materials with lower carbon footprint. In addition, the accommodation experience will be specially designed to encourage guests to adopt environmentally-friendly practices, such as reducing energy and water consumption in their rooms, practising recycling and behaving appropriately around local wildlife.  

”The moment we enter Mandai, we step away from the hustle and bustle of our hectic urban lifestyle, to embark on a journey of discovery. With more opportunities for overnight stays in future, we hope to create even more immersive experiences that will bring families and friends closer to nature and wildlife. It is our goal that all our guests leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the biodiversity around us,” said Barclay. - TradeArabia News Service

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