The term ‘eco-hotel’ no longer conjures up images of outside loos, slow running water or rooms lit my candlelight, thanks to The Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall and Bedruthan, run by three sisters Debbie Wakefield, Emma Stratton and Rebecca Whittington.
“We always ask: how do we make business sustainable and not damage the environment more than we have to and make the business at the heart of the community?” explains Emma Stratton.
Operating as the Red Hotels group, the 101-bedroom Bedruthan and the 37-bedroom Scarlet Hotel started life almost exactly 50 years apart. Bedruthan was opened in 1959 by the sisters’ father, who was a farmer and an engineer and had a passion for sustainability. The sisters came into the business full time in 1986 and they grew the hotel into one of the best in the area.
It pushed the boundaries of traditional hospitality, becoming the first hotel in Cornwall home to a solar-heated outdoor pool and scooping many sustainability awards along the way.
The Scarlet Hotel came along in 2009, following an eight-year planning process and a total £12.5m investment where Debbie, Emma and Rebecca built a new property from scratch after demolishing the former Tredragon Hotel on the site. Water-based eco paints have been used throughout the hotel, and there’s not so much as a twig of timber that hasn’t got a Forest Stewardship Council certificate to its name. There’s a biomass boiler and bedroom temperature regulators that were described by a Daily Mail reviewer as ‘so quiet that you can’t even hear the heating whisper’.
Now The Scarlet operates with 101 sustainable initiatives in place. From induction hobs in the kitchen to locally handmade soap bars in the bedrooms, care has been taken to ensure the business stays in line with this ethos throughout.