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We often wonder how sustainable living and slower lifestyle could be incorporated into our day-to-day lives. One approach that benefits living slow is making the most of your time — enjoying the various experiences life has to offer to the fullest. Travelling is a great example of that experience, and having a relaxing stay, without too many fancy, digital nuisances, is something we often strive for. Thanks to innovations in architecture and increasing interest in running a healthy lifestyle, some hotels have now become the epitome of sustainable design — creating a pure, holistic atmosphere for your stay. We took a glimpse into the environmental solutions at Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus in Hamburg, Germany, where modern architecture meets fully sustainable accommodation.
Words: Johanna Raudsepp
The extraordinary wooden façade prominently stands out in the middle of a busy city — made from mostly locally sourced certified wood, the Wälderhaus (which literally means ‘forest house’) is a modern forest delight. “Guests are fascinated by the innovative atmosphere within the hotel and how it is created,” says a Wälderhaus representative. “A nice bonus is, after a visit to the Science Center forest or an overnight stay, you can truly learn something about the connections between the city and nature. The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.” The architecture of the building, despite standing out with the use of materials, fits in with the cityscape.
The building meets passive house standards — it is self-sustainable and thus doesn’t damage the environment. In addition to a restaurant, which serves the guests only locally sourced food, the three-star plus standard hotel Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, with 82 rooms, offers space for special exhibitions and conferences. Here sustainability meets modern innovation to provide the guests with a 360-degree, relaxing holiday. Sleeping between organic cotton sheets and enjoying gastronomic treats at the restaurant ensures you will depart your stay with a well-rested, worry-free mind. As a cherry on top, the Wälderhaus features a green roof, planted with 9000 bushes, 500 hornbeams and various North German tree species.
A fully natural approach is surely gaining popularity. As people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, they hold higher standards in terms of sustainability when travelling, as well. The Wälderhaus meets the needs of a conscious traveller. “The guests want as little plastic or artificial in the room as possible, also little electrosmog or superfluous ‘energy eaters’, like minibars. The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.”
An eco-approach in the hotel world will definitely be more prevalent in the future. “The eco-concept pays off. We save about 30% energy in the forest house compared to a conventional hotel. The issue will hopefully become even more important. We like to be pioneers and show that it is possible to [be] sustainable, comfortable and modern at the same time. The number of 100% eco-hotels will surely continue to rise.” The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is truly a pioneer in this field, and we cannot wait to see more of such creative, yet environmentally conscious solutions in a modern, urban setting, leaving space for a slower approach to life.