The Caravelle has become the first hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to launch a refillable glass bottle program, part of the hotel’s ongoing efforts to improve its environmental footprint.
From now on, plastic water bottles will no longer be provided in guest rooms or meeting rooms. They have been replaced with reusable glass bottles custom-made in Vietnam for the Caravelle and filled with filtered water. Each guest corridor now features a refill station, where visitors can top up their bottle, while every other floor has been outfitted with a staff refill station for the property’s housekeepers to use for replenishing daily for guests.
Michael Robinson, the Caravelle’s General Manager, said that work on the initiative began four months ago, and took some time to perfect since Vietnam has no formal plastic recycling program.
“We were really trying to find a way to be able to remove plastic bottles from guest rooms and replace it with something recycled,” he said. “There is no company or system in place, so we realized we had to do it ourselves.”
Through a few rounds of trial-and-error, the Caravelle’s team settled on a bottle design and perfected their water filtration system.
“We received certification from the local authorities that the water is safe for consumption,” Mr. Robinson said. “We had a few rounds of tests and the system is cleared and healthy to provide drinking water. We have all the necessary documentation and we will re-test regularly.”
The hotel currently has 2,000 glass bottles in stock, and expects to save 200,000 plastic bottles, equal to seven tons of plastic, per year moving forward.
Mr. Robinson expressed his pride at the Caravelle’s proactive approach to environmental sustainability, especially as an independent hotel without the financial backing of a large corporate structure.
“We’re the most environmentally friendly hotel in the city by far,” he said. “It’s definitely possible, and it’s definitely possible now. Waiting is unacceptable.”
The rollout of this new initiative continues the Caravelle’s tradition as an innovator in Ho Chi Minh City’s hospitality sector. It was the first hotel in the city to feature air conditioning when it opened 60 years ago, and six decades later it has some of the newest ideas of any hotel.