Written by Mutave Nellie

From saving turtles, to recycling wine bottles, to portion measuring when you’re eating, there’s a lot of things you can do to maintain a delicate touch when you travel. My two favourite colours used to be black and red. Now you can add green to that mix. I know it sounds like Iโ€™m ripping off the Kenyan flag but I want to find places that are just that little bit conscientious about the impact they have on the environment.

The quest of finding genuine eco-friendly hotels or a “Green Hotel” can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. A green hotel is an environmentally sustainable hotel or accommodation that has made important environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its impact on the natural habitat.

This is basically a long preamble to say that I looked for a place that does all that and ended up at ibis Styles Hotel which is located in Westlands, Nairobi. It’s part of the Accor Hotels.

We were welcomed by an amazing team; Joel, Stuart and Maryanne who did not hesitate to take us through the safety measures the hotel had put in place. We surely felt #ALLSafe #ALLTogether and definitely ready to #Unwindinstyle. Ha! The message is in the hashtags! There is a plethora of “Eco-labels” that offer security and safety certifications to hotels, ibis is Safe Certified hence the #ALLSafe.

The four main things that make their story green:
1. They plant a buttload of trees
2. They keep their energy load down and repurpose their wastewater
3. They recycle kitchen oil into biofuel
4. They compost their food waste

Allow me to explain:

  1. Plant 4 the Planet
    Accor hotels launched Planet 21- a sustainable development program based around four strategic priorities. It involves its employees, it’s customers, innovation with partners, and work with local communities.

Planet 21 is on its way to cutting down its carbon footprint to zero with every hotel being low-carbon emitting and employing eco-friendly practises just as ibis Styles is doing.

Plant for the Planet initiative is their global agroforestry program that promotes ecological farming as well as planting trees every minute all over the world! Yes! Mind-blowing. As ibis, they have planted so many at Karura Forest and Arboretum.

This initiative aims to incentivize guests who are staying more than one night to reuse their towels. Well, we did stay for two nights and I’m certain that we helped reduce consumption of water, energy and detergent for laundry. I’ll ask that you, my dear reader, will be a responsible traveller on your next staycation.

In addition to the towels, I noticed that their coffee stirrers are made of wood. Their laundry bag is reusable, I gladly carried mine home. Does that account to stealing? Haha. I don’t get the fuss about flip flops but this bag was distinct! I had to. They have lovely glass bottles moving from plastic ones. Their shower gel is eco-label, same to their linens and sheets. They also use environmentally friendly, eco-certified cleaning products.

In 2018, ibis Styles won an award as the best hotel on Planet 21 green initiatives in Middle and East Africa. Joel, the Maintenance Manager, was so elated while telling us the story, you can imagine Noni and I saying “Awwwww, Congratulations.” in unison.

2. Energy and Water Management
For proper energy and water management system, monitoring has to be done to check what is used. Data is recorded and they are able to know how much water and energy they consume on a daily or monthly basis in order to make appropriate changes. However, such monitoring requires the promotion of best practices on a daily basis.

Best practises for energy:

  • Installing less energy-intensive appliances.
  • Installing motion detectors to control the lighting in certain areas such as basements and corridors.
  • In the rooms there are no minibars, meaning they are saving more on energy efficiency.
  • Changing lights to be in LED.
  • Solar energy is in the works. This will be a great saving too.

Best practices for water:

  • Having water flow regulators on sinks and showers.
  • Choosing high-efficiency washing machines.
  • Raising awareness among employees to pass on good habits such as moderation of running water in the kitchen and general cleaning.

Some of their amazing projects include:

.Reducing flushing systems in the toilets. Most travellers don’t do half flash during short calls and double flash for long calls. Systems were 9 litres and were reduced to 6 litres of water per flush. Visualize 277 rooms saving 3 litres per flush while some rooms are flushing averagely five times a day. What a save! We were really impressed by this. I always thought they were two cute flushes for one to push the nearest to them. Guess I was wrong.

.They harvest sump water from the ground and instead of pumping it out, they store in the tanks and use it to flush water in toilets. This saves on their water bills, in turn, it helps them use less water from the Nairobi water company.

They also have Energy Recovery System where they use a simple chiller to cool the rooms using manufacturers modification system. It sucks the heat from the rooms to preheat the water used in the showering systems. It’s usually 38-42 degrees. They need to heat from this range to 100 degrees meaning they are saving on the initial degrees.

.Biodiesel project – ibis Styles Biggest Project!๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—
ibis Styles has partnered with a local company, Alternative Energy Solution Limited, which recycles plastics to make biodiesel. This process is cautious as the harmful products are taken out. The amount of waste going out to the environment is little when using the biodiesel. This saves money and it’s a green initiative.

Waste Management
ibis Styles has partnered with Zijani Company which is a brand owned by Biogen Diesel Kenya Limited with a focus on renewable energy. In this partnership, they dispose off a barrel full of used cooking oil in exchange for 100 litres of liquid multipurpose soap. Proper disposal of used oil which means less waste to the environment, in exchange to detergents that clean public areas. Their products include; liquid purpose cleaner soap, biofuel and bar soap.

Food Waste Management
With the current COVID situation, I loved how they moved to a contactless menu that you scan using your QR code and order your meal. This also means, no buffet hence less wastage. With that said, the team will serve you as much as you want, but please eat as much as you can take.

They have these cute quotes on their kitchen walls and on the tables that urges you to serve what you can finish so as to reduce plate waste. Joel informed us there’s little food waste, which they measure and record as organic waste and it’s recycled by a garbage collection company. I’ll quote one of the writings which goes like, “An empty plate is a happy plate.” This was always our slogan every mealtime. Ha! Pushing us to always finish our servings.

Out in the back, they have an urban garden made of recycled tires that they plant ingredients and spices used to prepare food and cocktails. Cocktails which looks like one of those artsy places because all the tyres are painted in different colours. Don’t you think the green one is such a stunner? I mean๐Ÿ˜

David, the mixologist, made me a mojito cocktail with the freshly picked mint and my smile can tell it all. Or should I say it’s 5 pm somewhere? Also, note how they have beautiful aesthetically pleasing hanging plants! See why green is my favourite colour now?

With the ban on single-use plastic in place, I admired the sustainable swap from plastic straws to paper ones.

In the kitchen, they use produce that is of fair trade, ibis Styles has banned the use of overfished species like tuna, and so, they don’t buy them. They use organic and local produce from our farmers where they buy directly from them and equally use produce that is in season.

I have never imagined that I would consider having a staycation in any hotel within the city. For the simple reason that I had a preconceived notion that they lack a good ambience and most locations are surrounded by noisy streets and a lot of hullabaloos. However, I would often find myself forgetting that I am in Nairobi! The tranquillity was top notch! I would undoubtedly go back to ibis. It’s a perfect escape.

Besides the mountain of food, the wine and time spent with the team in the evenings, I must say, I really enjoyed and gained a lot of knowledge learning about ibis’ green story and innovation. It’s not every day you get to hear about a hotel taking initiative in the conservation and protection of the environment we live in.

Thank you, ibis Styles team and Congratulations on your 4th year anniversary!


Brian Odida · July 31, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Excellent! So far, this is the most informative article about ibis Styles hotel I’ve been privileged to come across. I enjoyed reading every bit of it!!

    OTGE · July 31, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you, Odida!

Kinya · August 2, 2020 at 9:42 am

Nice read. It is very informative. Thank you for educating us on green hotels.

    OTGE · August 2, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    It’s our pleasure!
    Thank you for reading.

    Gathanga · August 3, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Such an intriguing and enlightening piece , never thought or heard about green hospitality, I am definitely paying a visit and grabbing a towel as well. ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    Such a smooth awesome array.

      OTGE · August 3, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Thank you for reading!
      Please do, it’s such a stunning place!
      ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚Grab at your own risk!

Mwenda Kinoti · August 3, 2020 at 11:15 am

Great article, very descriptive and informative. Now I feel like I want a staycation at ibis too๐Ÿ˜…
Good language use too.

    OTGE · August 3, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Thank you, Kinoti!
    Try their deal. You’ll love it.

Moh · August 3, 2020 at 11:50 am

That was such a lovely piece! I like how they are very conserving the environment. I slept at one of the Hyatt Hotels and I liked how they motivated guests to earn points through conservation. If requested your room cleaned and bedding changed after three days you earned more points than one who requested after a day.

OTGE · August 3, 2020 at 11:58 am

Thank you, Moh, for reading.
This is lovely. My other question would be, how are these points redeemed?

    Moh · September 6, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Just seen this response when I was reading again! They are accumulated into your card and you redeem for discounts when you sleep in any of their hotels around the world.

Mary · August 3, 2020 at 6:47 pm

This is amazing!! Who would have a thought we have a green hotel right here at home? Thank you for highlighting their success!! Looking forward to making a visit.

    OTGE · August 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you, Mary!

Njoroge · August 4, 2020 at 8:57 pm

The hotel has sustainable practice that’s inspiring. Apart from cost savings, the environment there must freshened up naturally by the plants.
Great example of modern buildings. A nice place to visit

    OTGE · August 5, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Thank you!
    I agree. They have invested a lot in plants especially on Kilele Nyama Restaurant๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ

Muddy Ramrakha · August 5, 2020 at 9:01 am

Many thanks for the article. I lived on the same street for years and I’m a green building accredited professional, however, wasn’t aware of their sustainability features. It’s the classic problem in Kenya because the good things are rarely documented or certified, but the terrible stories get amplified. Just a clarification that the SafeHotels certification is not an environmental or social governance certification, as it’s criteria are focused on โ€“ Hotel Property Safety & Security Walkthrough; โ€“ Process, Training and Organization; โ€“ Security Equipment; โ€“ Fire Equipment; โ€“ Fire Training; โ€“ Crisis Management. In Kenya, the green building rating tools used are LEED, GreenStar and EDGE. The only green-certified hotel in Kenya to date under these tools are Executive Residency by Best Western on Riverside Drive which was recently certified by IFC’s EDGE tool https://edgebuildings.com/project-studies/executive-residency-by-best-western-nairobi/

    OTGE · August 5, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you for the feedback. I beg to differ, I mentioned SAFE is a certificate for security and safety, not environmental or social governance. Those are two different things. Also, a green building and a hotel taking green measures are quite different. Their certifications will be varied too. Thank you.

    Lulu · August 5, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Muddy! Good highlights there and great to learn from a green building professional!
    However, I understood this article differently. I think this article talks about ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands as a green hotel according to the author (and the green efforts in place) and not a ‘green building’ exactly, as it states they are making adjustments to the features of the hotel to incorporate environmentally-friendly initiatives. Also, in this post, SafeHotels has been specified as a safety and security certification which covers health safety & environment and therefore the #ALLsafe standards mentioned I believe cater for the hygiene and prevention measures to ensure guests’ safe stay.

Canna · August 7, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Hello! I just would like to give you a big
thumbs up for the great info you have right here on this
post. I’ll be returning to your website for more soon.

    OTGE · August 9, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Thank you, Canna!

Susan · August 7, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
It’s the little changes that will make the greatest changes.
Many thanks for sharing!

    OTGE · August 9, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Yes, indeed. Thanks for reading.

Heisler · August 7, 2020 at 6:42 pm

I am impressed with this site, really I am a big fan.

    OTGE · August 9, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Thank you.

      Shebesh · August 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Excellent !!very informative articles about Ibis hotel..definitely am on for stay cation!

        OTGE · August 26, 2020 at 10:00 am

        Appreciated Rhoda! Do tag us on your socials when you get to visit

Green Labs · August 7, 2020 at 7:13 pm

Very interesting subject, thanks for putting up.

    OTGE · August 9, 2020 at 3:22 am

    The pleasure is ours!

Sandra Motho · August 16, 2020 at 10:02 pm

This is really amazing Nelly๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
I went for a staycation there and I must say what you have written is very accurate!!!

Continue enlightening us๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ

    OTGE · August 18, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you! I am so happy you enjoyed your stay!

Hao Finder · September 23, 2020 at 10:06 am

The efforts put up by the IBIS styles is an amazing roadmap towards sustainable and environmentally conscious living spaces. Very informative article Nellie

    OTGE · October 27, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Thank you, Gilbert!

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