By Arwa Lodhi
Of all the people in the world, it seems those in the Arabian Gulf region are the least concerned about climate change. Qatar, for example, has the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world thanks to their ridiculously high, constant spending in the malls, on everything from clothing to electronics to cars, and of course thanks to the sky high amount of energy they use in air conditioning.
Dubai’s never-ending quest for new buildings (many of which are still completely unoccupied) its love for creating novelty-shaped islands (which have killed off much marine life and recently caused the water around them to stagnate and putrefy) contribute enormously to climate change and pollution – and let’s not even talk about the ethical records most Gulf countries have with regards to the poor treatment of their construction and domestic workers.
So when you hear good eco-news from the Gulf, you just want to jump on it, in the hopes that spreading the word will encourage others to take steps to be greener.
The Jumeirah Messilah Beach hotel and Spa is one of the few hotels in the Gulf trying to make some kind of difference. They’ve been Green Globe certified as of April 2015, and have also won the 2016 Luxury Lifestyle Award for Best Eco-friendly Hotel, thanks to efforts such as replacing most of the hotel’s old lights for low-energy ones, upgrading its irrigation system to reduce water waste and offering hybrid transport for guests coming to the resort.
They also sponsor regular beach clean-ups, a turtle release, honour Earth hour, and participate in government initiatives to clean the beaches of Kuwait. Their spectacular Reef Room (seen in the main picture) is decorated to remind all those who take part in events there about the importance of marine life. But perhaps the biggest greening of this hotel can be seen in their spa.
Rather than using chemical treatments, the hotel prefers to use natural remedies, such as oxygen facials, Dead Sea minerals, natural clay, Himalayan Salt and pure oils. To give one example of a signature treatment, the traditional Dead Sea Body Scrub employs an aromatic blend of herbs and salts harvested from the Dead Sea to improve circulation and provide gentle exfoliation. Following the Dead Sea Mud Experience, a body wrap of Dead Sea Secrets leaves skin soft and glowing. In addition, a full body relaxing massage and Facial Treatment are selected to suit every unique skin type.
There’s also a Himalayan Salt Room, the first of its kind in the Middle East. This provides an exclusive treatment using the purest and most beneficial natural salt on Earth. The pure crystal salt in its natural state has been compressed for over 250 million years and helps rebalance the body’s minerals and strengthens the immune system.
The treatments sound like heaven and we laud what the Jumeirah Messilah has done so far to be more sustainable, but there’s no doubt the hotel still has a long way to go: for example, smoking is still permitted in 10% of the property, there are several water features that should be cut to save both water and energy, very little of the interiors come from locally sourced materials, and we’d say the outdoor lighting is excessive.
But if you’re looking for a slightly greener option in a region known for its excess and waste, the Jumeirah Messilah could well be your best bet.