San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Morgan’s Rock, a 15-room bungalow-style lodge on the Pa­-ci­fic Coast, is a small part of a large environmental effort. In 1998, when Clément-Marie Ponçon and his wife, Claire, bought the 3,400-acre farm where the hotel is located, they immediately put their stamp on the land: an extensive reforestation-and-preservation program was under­taken, and a portion of the property with a rain forest was declared a nature preserve. The Ponçons, who moved to Nicaragua in 1974 and own large tracts of land there with two other farms, also fund and operate the NicaFrance Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving education and health care. “They are an amazingly entrepreneurial family who truly believe in Nicaragua,” says Matthew Falkiner, an architect who designed the lodge and public spaces and, with the family, also co-owns a furniture company employing local craftsmen. “They have been here through the good, bad, and indifferent times.” In addition to running a dairy farm and growing food for hotel guests, the family has planted more than one million trees on the property, an activity certified by the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program. Guests can contribute by replanting depleted hardwood trees and farming using traditional methods, all under the direction of licensed guides. There are, however, no plans for an expansion of the lodge. “Clément was once visited by some consultants who were looking into how they might invest in Nicaragua,” Falkiner says. The consultants pointed out a parcel of land they thought would make a perfect site for a 200-room hotel, complete with an 18-hole golf course, and a clubhouse. Ponçon’s response? According to Falkiner, “He planted more trees.”

Eco Innkeepers

Siting: ADRÉRE AMELLAL, Siwa, Egypt

Energy: PROXIMITY HOTEL, Greensboro, North Carolina

Interiors: LEXUS HYBRID SUITE, San Francisco

Community: MORGAN’S ROCK, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Cleaning: ORCHARD HOTEL, San Francisco

Carbon Footprint: SCANDIC HOTEL, Stockholm, Sweden

Certification Programs

Categories: Uncategorized