Hotel Verde Restaurant

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15 Michigan Street, Airport Industria, Matroosfontein 7490, South Africa


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    Oct 2014 · Dana Sanchez

    Hotel Verde at the Cape Town International Airport goes beyond the greenest hotel in Africa -- it's one of the greenest...

    Hotel Verde at the Cape Town International Airport goes beyond the greenest hotel in Africa — it’s one of the greenest hotels in the world.

    South Africa’s certification system for green buildings wasn’t sophisticated enough for the standards that this hotel aspired to, General Manager, Samantha Annandale, told me. So the hotel was certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program — Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for new buildings. LEED recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

    For Hotel Verde, green, sustainable practices are in every facet of the hotel’s operation from its eco pool, where water is filtered by plants and soil rather than chlorine, to its restaurant, where guests can see the names of local sources and distances traveled to reach them for produce, meats and pastries served in the dining room.

    The hotel opened Aug. 27, 2013, and it claims to be the first hotel in Africa to offer a carbon-neutral stay.

    The restaurant at Hotel Verde is not your average hotel restaurant meal. Guests can enjoy meals inside or on the terrace looking out at the hotel’s outdoor gym and  jogging trail on reclaimed wetlands that were once a dumping ground for trash.

    The hotel grows its own herbs and veggies which are incorporated into meals on a seasonal basis.

    Locals who aren’t guests of the hotel are welcome to eat at the hotel restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    A chalkboard at the restaurant entrance announces not the daily specials but the names of local suppliers where the food came from that’s about to end up on your plate — and in your body. The board also includes the distance from the hotel to the source.

    The day I ate there, the chocolate came from Cocoa Fair, 15.1 kilometers (eight miles) away. Cocoa Fair claims to be Africa’s first bean-to-bar chocolate factory founded on social entrepreneurship, according to its website.

    The halaal meat served at the restaurant came from Good Hope Meats, 19.2 kilometers (10 miles) away and the bread and pastries came from Sugar Loaf Factory, eight kilometers (four-plus miles) away.

    The restaurant has extended hours to accommodate air travelers. We were served dinner at 10 p.m.

    In the hotel’s 24-hour deli, you can buy cookies made by a local woman from nearby Mitchell’s Plain, one of South Africa’s largest townships located on the Cape Flats.

    The hotel management helped this woman scale up her cottage cookie business to become compliant for safe food production, Annandale told me. Now the woman employs two people.

    Food at the Hotel Verde restaurant is described as contemporary, Italian, modern and vegan. On the menu you’ll find pizza made in the hotel’s pizza oven and dishes such as lentil casserole.

    The free-for-hotel-guests breakfast buffet starts at 5 a.m. and it’s extensive, especially in the area of fruit, seeds and nuts for sprinkling on yogurt and granola.

    It felt good to know that my food had been locally sourced, and that the leftovers would likely be recycled and end up in the hotel compost room to nourish the hotel’s gardens.

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