Siwa, Egypt

The sustainable thinking behind this lodge may be as ancient as the 12,000-year-old desert community where it’s located. To build it, the hotel’s founder, Mounir Neamatalla, restored and extended century-old homes using the traditional building material kershef—a mixture of rock salt and mud—which he studied under the guidance of the region’s oldest master builders. A natural insulator, kershef keeps the hotel’s 40 rooms at moderate temperatures during hot desert days and cool nights. The lodge is tucked discreetly into Siwa’s mountain base, Neamatalla says, “properly nested in a way that allows it to blend in with the mountain rather than detract from the beauty of the landscape.” It conserves arable land and draws off a nearby spring that supplies the water for the lodge as well as irrigating the surrounding palm and olive groves. Neamatalla has capitalized on all the benefits of Adrére’s siting, particu­larly with respect to recycling the hotel’s waste back into the complex oasis ecology. “Wastewater is first settled in sedimentation tanks,” he says, “allowing the supernatant to flow through perforated pipes into a sealed wetland, where indigenous papyrus plants are grown to complete the biodegradation process.” Because of their long subsistence in the desert, Siwans may be some of the world’s oldest sustainable designers—a fact not lost on Neamatalla, who says the lodge connects “the rich past of the oasis with an experience of living happily, without consuming much.”

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

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