The magic word – vacation, immediately conjures up vivid images of blue-water beaches and tree-shaded cottages under wide open skies. In short, anywhere but the city. But the city is where most of us live, travel in and entertain ourselves. And yet, given a chance, we yearn for nature. Why?
The reason is surprising and yet, not so. Homo sapiens has evolved for the greater part of its existence in nature, and not in artificially engineered surroundings as we do today. We have an inherent biological and psychological need to engage with natural features. This innate connection with nature or ‘love of life’ or biophilia explains why being in nature has a healing and rejuvenating effect on us. And this explains why unconsciously, we find ourselves dreaming of our downtime in nature-rich areas or places that offer an immersive experience of it.
As awareness of this phenomenon increases, a small but growing number of hoteliers have made a conscious shift by offering destinations that are biophilic by choice and by design, and sustainable and eco-aware.
Sustainable tourism, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is, “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”
Woods At Sasan ticks the boxes of being both a biophilic retreat and a sustainable tourist destination. Located on the edge of the Sasan Gir forest in Gujarat, India, this modern retreat is spread over 16 acres of an old mango orchard and hosts a variety of birds, insects and small animals, finding a symbiotic balance between the built spaces and the landscape that supports it. Designed with modern architectural principles that respond to environmental and regional conditions, Woods At Sasan is built using locally sourced, non-toxic, reclaimed, and reusable materials to minimise concrete use and reduce carbon footprint. It is a property that is careful of its eco-footprint – any packaging is predominantly reusable, the fresh and organic food that makes up its board is locally sourced from the community at large, and a percentage of its profits is channelised into conservation efforts in the region – Sasan Gir is notable for being the last home of the Asiatic lion species. They are active employers of the local people and engage in a variety of community development and upliftment programs, assist with healthcare, run a library for the benefit of local children and run a group that educates local producers in sustainable and organic farming techniques. You can view their complete sustainability report here.
In a nutshell, they live by their belief in a stay that offers a truly biophilic and luxury sustainable retreats and travel experience. If you’re a ‘green’ traveller, with a penchant for the wild, a visit to this one-of-a-kind retreat should definitely be on your travel list for the year.