Avana Retreat Rolls Out More Initiatives to Lighten Footprint

by Editor

As eco-initiatives evolve, going plastic-free is the minimum a resort can do to lighten its environmental impact. Avana Retreat, nestled in Vietnam’s Mai Chau province amidst picturesque mountains, has been diligently minimizing its ecological footprint since its launch during the pandemic.

The resort has implemented various measures, including ambitious tree planting projects, cultural initiatives to preserve ethnic minority traditions, organic farming practices, collaborative partnerships with youth groups for neighbourhood trash collection, and transforming the breathtaking terraced rice fields into a source of income for the local community.

Avana Retreat works in harmony with the environment, prioritizing sustainable practices. Moreover, the resort has completely eliminated plastic—you won’t spot a single bottle or disposable bag.

To further reduce its carbon footprint, Avana Retreat has established its own facility on-site for purifying and bottling water from pristine mountain sources, effectively reducing CO2 emissions.

Reforestation and Building Biodiversity

“There is a Vietnamese saying ‘Where there is good land, the birds will come and settle.’ We have planted over 10,000 trees in the area since we started developing this land and the bird life, well, we’re seeing more and more return. In fact, the wildlife has flourished.”

– Mr. Vu Huy, founder of Avana Retreat

Avana Retreat strongly emphasizes reforestation and harmonizing with the natural surroundings. Deliberately designed raised pathways lead to the spa and waterfall, ensuring minimal disruption to the existing trees.

The electric buggy and walking paths are intentionally narrow, reducing their impact on the vegetation. The terraced rice paddies within the resort grounds serve a purpose beyond aesthetics.

For generations, the Hmong people have cultivated the land and grown rice. At Avana Retreat, the rice terraces are tended to by local ethnic groups who have the freedom to consume or sell all the harvested rice as they choose.

This traditional rice farming method reflects a cultural heritage that has stood the test of time, exemplifying one of the many aspects of the region’s ethnic groups that Avana Retreat proudly shares with its guests.

Helping Local Culture & Economic Livelihoods Flourish

At the heart of Avana Retreat, a more than 50-year-old Thai-style stilt house is a captivating museum, immersing guests in the rich tapestry of local culture. Inside, visitors can delve into the lives, traditions, attire, and customs of the diverse ethnic groups residing in the area.

Beneath the raised house, immersive experiences await, allowing guests to partake in hands-on activities that showcase the vibrant culture, such as rattan weaving workshops and Batik art classes, where intricate textiles adorned with meaningful symbols are crafted by the talented Hmong artisans.

“The traditions and culture of the ethnic minority groups of this area are shared orally,” explained Huy. “We want to play our part in keeping those traditions and stories alive through our museum, experiences, and through classes with local artisans who are just as passionate about what they do as we are.” 

Avana Retreat goes beyond collaborating with local artists; it also actively involves the community. Over 90% of the staff members hail from Thai, Hmong, and Muong villages.

Many team members have completed their education up to the high school level and have been provided with comprehensive hospitality training, sustainable development education, English lessons, health insurance, favourable working conditions, opportunities for advancement, and additional job training to foster continuous growth.

The property’s design was shaped through direct collaboration with the local people. Hmong techniques were employed to construct the earth walls, while Thai artisans skillfully wove the roofs of the villas, restaurants, and spa in their traditional style.

Avana Retreat is adorned with the artistic heritage of the region, evident in the meticulously crafted lanterns that line the pathways, the captivating Batik artwork that graces the walls of the rooms and public spaces, and the overall ambiance that pays homage to the artistic traditions of the area.

Going Organic Inside and Out at Avana Retreat

Earlier this year, Avana introduced its own pesticide-free garden, a haven for a diverse array of herbs and vegetables that find their way onto guests’ plates.

From chayote to coriander, the vegetable patch boasts an impressive selection of flavours synonymous with Vietnamese cuisine. Complementing the garden is a free-range chicken farm, providing a spacious home for approximately 300 chickens and a plentiful supply of eggs for the resort’s kitchen.

In keeping with its commitment to sustainability, Avana Retreat ensures that the in-room amenities align with nature. Refillable bottles containing soap, shampoo, and conditioner are filled with organic essential oils and natural ingredients.

Similarly, the spa embraces the gifts of nature by employing organic extracts from herbs, flowers, and fruits in their massages, facials, and even in the candle-making workshop available to guests.

“At each stage of developing Avana, we’ve asked ourselves, ‘how can we offer the best to our guests and the community while making sure that we’re doing the best we can for the environment? As we continue to grow in the experiences we offer and the property itself, this idea remains our guiding philosophy.”

– Mr. Vu Huy, founder of Avana Retreat

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