Creating a fine balance between luxury and responsible tourism, The Ibnii is an eco resort in Coorg that takes its sustainable role seriously. From recycling cement sacks to rainwater harvesting, from coffee walks to bird watching and yoga, The Ibnii is for the evolved traveller who wants to immerse himself in a ‘Surrender to Nature’ experience
Named after ‘dewdrop’ in the local dialect, The Ibnii, an eco luxe resort located in Coorg (Kodagu) district of Karnataka, has become the first hospitality project in India to receive the IGBC Platinum certification for energy and resource-efficient, sustainable, cost-effective buildings that impose minimal stress on the environment. The resort is also gearing to get its LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification by April.
The Ibnii is nestled on 120 acres of which 50 acres is being used for coffee plantation. The resort has just finished with its first coffee harvest. Dr Sherry Sebastian, director, The Ibnii, informed, “The Ibnii is the result of my father’s vision. We both believe that luxury and sustainability can co-exist. In the last 60 years, no pesticides have been used on this land. So it is an ecological and biodiversity hotspot. Very few trees were cut during construction of The Ibnii. We are also very actively involved in rainwater harvesting as we have three large water catchment areas. We harvest nearly five million litres of water every year. Apart from a waste management plant, we have a state-of-the-art Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) too to further minimise our dependency on fresh water. The treated water is used for landscaping and other utilities. The Ibnii is also a vehicle free zone with only electric buggies used for internal movements. Guests are encouraged to walk around the resort.”
The Ibnii has 22 private pool villas (with their own plunge pools and jacuzzis) named after KopiLuwak, the world’s most exclusive coffee and 12 wooden cottages named Arnetta in three categories – Luxury, Premium and Family. There is also one Premium Suite which is for VVIPs and important dignitaries.The resort has four F&B outlets – The Fig (multicuisine), Ballelle or banana leaf (vegetarian), Masi-Kande (the BBQ Diner) and Elevate (the bar lounge). There is also the Kaldi Kapee, the coffee shop where guests can learn from a coffee expert, the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans and the journey from bean to cup, while sipping a Cappuccino.
The connect with local traditions can be seen in every aspect of a guest’s stay, from the welcome by frontline staff draped in sarees worn the Coorgi way to the local ‘chukku kaapi’ (black coffee made with dry ginger and jaggery).
The resort also has introduced other ecological initiatives such as an inhouse tailoring facility where many articles are created out of recycled materials like shopping bags out of used cement sacks and bubble wraps; use of steel fruit and vegetable crates in the kitchens instead of the conventional plastic crates (a practice now adopted by the Skychefs of Lufthansa); use of drop pops in the restaurants in place of finger bowls for washing hands. Interestingly, the turndown service at the The Ibnii uses a Robusta coffee leaf to leave a goodnight message for the guest. In the spa Manja (meaning turmeric), all natural oils are used, many of them extracted from the fig trees scattered all over the estate. Nature is also part of the ambience and design at the resort – a dead tree makes a striking element in the spa lobby.
Dr Sebastian adds, “Responsible tourism is deeprooted in The Ibnii. An eco pledge is taken by the staff every day to remind them to be eco sensitive. It helped change their attitude to clean environments.Our target segment is the evolved traveller. The resort is also sensitive to special needs guests. And we support the local community because giving is receiving.” The resort is part of a new project with Madikeri town for making a road using recycled plastic from the resort. The Ibnii also has TieCop, its Environment Conservation Programme.
Dr Sebastian added, “We want our supply chain to be eco sensitive as well – so we source only from vendors who have the same sensitivity towards the environment. Presently, we source the coffee for the resort from Halli Berri, a fourth generation all woman owned concern coffee estate in Chikmagalur with a similar vision towards sustainability, but soon we hope to be able to use our own coffee. We have a vegetable garden where we source most of the vegetables for our salads. Another bigger vegetable garden is being created which is expected to give us around 14 tonnes of vegetables.”
The resort has a robust waste segregation system where the organic waste is used in a vermicompost to generate high-yield, organic manure which is in turn used in the green house to grow fresh organic vegetables and fruits.