There is a growing community of vegans around the world. Vegans eliminate any use of animal products in their diet. If you look back to 10 or 15 years ago, there are not so many choices of hotels offering a vegan menu yet, to the despair of the travelling vegans.
Hoteliers now recognize this market segment and acknowledge their woeful diet-while-on-travel experience. Some have started with a Vegan Section on their menu. Others have gone full-scale and turned their restaurant into vegan or vegetarian. So I have gathered a list of hotels in different continents that are vegan-friendly, in no particular order.
- Ariyasom Villa, Bangkok, Thailand
Initially built in the 1940s as a family home, this 24-room luxury boutique hotel opened its doors to the public in 2008. Located right smack in the center of Bangkok just off Sukhumvit Road, this hotel includes a spa and Na Aroon, their restaurant that serves vegetarian meals, with a little bit of seafood.
The absence of meat in their menu may be strange to some, but guests are encouraged to try their fresh Thai vegetarian or vegan meals freshly prepared by the chef who has worked with the family for 40 years.
- Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia
When visiting the famous Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, vegan lovers need not compromise on their food choice as there is Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel. This 25-room hotel advocates green living and is at the forefront of a Go Green Movement in Siem Reap.
The management of Baby Elephant sticks to their sustainable environment policy when it comes to their food. They grow their vegetables on-site, got rid of plastic straws and replaced them with bamboos, and installed several water-refilling stations all around the hotel to encourage guests to reuse their water jugs.
Their restaurant not only serves Cambodian vegan cuisine, but the culinary team also offers Western items on the menu.
- Fivelements Retreat, Bali, Indonesia
The retreat house is designed for healing the body, mind, and spirit using traditional Balinese methods (think, Eat, Pray, Love in a luxury hotel setting). Their holistic approach includes meditation, deep bodywork, prana healing, and eating whole foods.
The retreat house’s restaurant, aptly named Balinese Therapies, offers 100% vegan with a high percentage being raw living foods. They feature their local farmers’ harvest on its “Alive” version. Their mantra is simple: to let mother nature’s cuisine shine on its own merits, using natural tastes, textures, vibrant colors, and pure flavors.
- La Maison Du Vert, Normandy, France
This lovely mini-hotel, situated in the countryside of Normandy, France, is a vegan hotel and restaurant. The entire property sits on 1.5 hectares of landscaped gardens. Each of the three rooms has a scenic view of the manicured lawns that grows organic fruits and vegetables.
Their vegan restaurant features an international menu using their local produce. Even their drinks sound healthy – French Organic Wines, organic ciders, and organic beers.
- Naturkost Hotel, Harz, Germany
In the spa town of Bad Grund located in the mountains of Harz, Germany lies Naturkost Hotel. Their activities offered are geared toward a healthy lifestyle – swimming in their pool or heating in their sauna, running or mountain biking tours, or yoga, qigong, and mediation.
Their daily breakfast buffet is an array of the bountiful harvest of local fruits and vegetables. Start the day with smoothies made from fresh fruits and wild berries. The chef can whip up a dish that is both raw and tasty. Raw food is healthy food. And guests who have a sample of the meals end up registering for a raw food preparation lesson.
- The Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino, California, USA
This resort is situated between the vibrant Big River and the vast Pacific Ocean. The owners named Stanford, have felt the healing energies of the land ever since moving there in the 1980s, and they vowed to give this nurturing feeling not only to their guests but to the people who work for them as well.
Their vegan restaurant, Ravens, is a nationally-acclaimed dining place for the plant-based meals that it serves. Oprah Magazine has featured the Ravens for its authentic and organic dishes meticulously prepared for any gourmet.
The resort walks its talk by practicing composting, recycling their waste materials, and using bio-diesel fueled trucks. It is one of America’s pride for being a trailblazer as a sustainable hotel destination.
With sustainable tourism at the forefront of the zen travellers’ minds, we believe this trend will continue in the years to come. Hotels will not only transform their menus to the plant-based kind; they will also be mindful of how to be more eco-friendly, reduce carbon footprints, and turn their business into a zero-waste approach.
Willy Hobal / www.willyhobal.com