Over the next three years, Copenhagen will be enriched with several thousand new hotel rooms. Rarely has it been more important for hotel concepts in the city to exhibit innovation and resilience in the market. Among those currently making their mark in the expanding market is Guldsmeden Hotels. In April 2017, the brand opened their tenth hotel, Manon les Suites, in the centre of Copenhagen, further emphasising their already strong sustainability concept.
Recycled materials and small plates
Ecology and sustainability are the foundations of Guldsmeden Hotels and have been so since their first hotel opened in 1999, according to the founder and co-owner of the international hotel chain, Sandra Weinert. Together with her husband, Marc Weinert, she last year embarked on the transformation of the former First Hotel G on Gyldenløvesgade 19 in Copenhagen, which has now become Guldsmeden Hotels’ newest gem: Manon les Suites. From the outset, sustainability has been key to the concept.
“One of the most sustainable aspects of the new hotel is that we have reused everything in the property. Many might have changed the door handles, the bathroom floors, doors, the raw ceilings, etc. But we have chosen to integrate all this into our own design,” says Sandra Weinert, who goes on to mention the creation of the impressive green atrium courtyard – where plants reach from the ground floor to the rooftop – as an example of how the existing framework has been reimagined. Sustainability has been applied throughout the interior, where plastic has been ruled out in favour of plantation wood and reclaimed materials, and where the hotel’s distinctive lamps have been designed to almost be everlasting.
Sustainability is also an important aspect of the cuisine served at Manon les Suites, which includes 100% certified organic produce, small plates at the buffet to encourage more moderate consumption, and the careful weighing and sorting of all food waste.
“In connection with COP15, everyone suddenly became aware of adopting a green profile. This made us consider taking the next step and becoming certified,” says Sandra Weinert, referring, among other things, to the golden eco-certification signs that adorn the restaurants at Guldsmeden Hotels. “At Manon les Suites, however, we have chosen to do away with the visible eco-labelling because it is our experience that people have gradually become aware that when you dine at Guldsmeden you’ll know everything is organic.”
Room for everyone
Recently, Guldsmeden Hotels has together with Horesta and Green Solution House taken part in the Green Conversion research project devised by the Alexandra Institute, which studies what guests take home with them following a sustainable hotel experience. Among other things, the survey demonstrates how crucial it is for management to show the way when it comes to nurturing a focus on green values. And according to Sandra Weinert, promoting the sustainable mindset is just one of the things that has been successfully achieved at Guldsmeden Hotels, first and foremost at employee level.
“The most important thing when we hire people is that they are nice and friendly – but also interesting, present and authentic. Preferably they are of a certain age and have experience, but not necessarily from the hotel industry,” she explains, describing how recruitment through networks and personal contacts helps to provide the unique staffing group.
“We will never get a staff manual or conduct job development interviews, but rather we will discuss the necessary topics when the time is right,” she explains, and emphasises that shared responsibility is an important pillar of their staff policy: “Everyone is prepared to make things happen, to work together and to be present – and the guests can sense that.”
According to Sandra Weinert, a successful green profile is largely about creating an atmosphere that inspires a sense of presence, attention and care – among staff and guests alike – where rigid, stereotypical formalities give way to a meeting among people at eye level. And judging by the mixed clientele I have seen at Manon les Suites – wearing everything from business suits to jogging trainers – then she and the team at Guldsmeden Hotels have succeeded. Sustainability is not only a contemporary trend, when implemented wholeheartedly and comprehensively, it is also a concept for everyone.