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The Shangri-La: A Sydney five-star hotel heading in a sustainable direction

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly opulence in the heart of Sydney, look no further. At the Shangri-La Hotel, important steps towards the lofty goal of sustainability reveal signs of a five-star hotel striving to improve its environmental footprint.

An elegant and memorable stay

Perched on your hotel bed, gazing out your window at the Shangri-La, you’ll have a front row seat to such spectacles as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Beautiful and somewhat rare panoramic Sydney Harbour views, make this particular Sydney hotel one of a kind. Cityscape scenes of the Australian capital intensify the luxurious, cosmopolitan glamour of this renowned Sydney hotel. Standing proud in the gorgeous historic Rocks District of Sydney, The Shangri-La offers visitors to the Australian capital an elegant, tranquil and perfectly located base in the heart of the city.

Credit: Shangri-La Sydney

Home to 565 spacious and very luxurious rooms, each featuring sizeable windows from which to admire the sweeping vistas of the city, the hotel is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Sydney. Rooms here make for extraordinary stays. Bedrooms decorated with contemporary touches and deluxe furnishings, and bathrooms crafted with marble and dark woods give off an element of grandness.

Facilities, food and finesse

The Shangri-La also offers guests an award-winning restaurant, a chic bar with breathtaking views, and Australia’s most sophisticated club lounge. At Altitude restaurant, diverse flavours of the land and the sea come together with the work of talented chefs including Masterchef Australia’s Anna Polyviou. A thorough wine-list and gifted sommelier add another layer of opulence. With a 2 Hat rating, Altitude is a fantastic Sydney restaurant, literally towering above the sparkling cityscape 36 levels below. At Blue Bar on 36, find Sydney’s favourite cocktail bar with uninterrupted views of the harbour. Windows stretching from floor to ceiling allow for the feeling of floating above the city. Finally, Horizon Club lounge glows and twinkles with bright lights, and includes a striking atrium allowing for even more drop-dead gorgeous Sydney views.

Credit: Shangri-La Sydney

Find also at the Shangri-La, an opulent spa using traditional Chinese philosophy and offering a selection of wonderful treatments. Dedicated to natural and biodynamic products, CHI, The Spa, chooses to partner with Sodashi, a local Australian skincare company. A Health Club at the Shangri-La with a gymnasium, sauna and indoor swimming pool also offers healthy snacks and light meals on the hotel sundeck.

Shangri-La sustainable initiatives

A hotel as magnificent as this one may not always be associated with environmental action or sustainable initiatives. Providing luxury services across the board, five-star hotels often find it difficult to strike a balance between perfection and the environment. At the Shangri-La in Sydney, it is fair it say that actions are being taken to combat this negative reputation. Let the figures speak for themselves.

Credit: Shangri-La Sydney

Considering themselves as early adapters of emerging environmental initiatives, the hotel has recently taken on the task of using wooden key cards. With 52,000 plastic keycards thrown away each year, the hotel chain’s wooden cards will reduce plastic waste. What’s more, wood and bamboo used to craft the cards is grown and managed sustainably, with a ‘grown-to-removal ratio’ of 2.4 – 1. In other words, for each tree that is cut down, 2.4 are planted. Lightweight and durable, cards are less often damaged and disposed of.

Another recent change at the hotel has been the introduction of Just Water into hotel rooms, reducing the chains use of plastic bottles by 360,000 per year globally. Just Water cartons are made of 100% recyclable materials such as; plant-based plastics, sugarcane and wood. Further notable environmental achievements in the Sydney hotel, include the scrapping of paper print outs and check-in as well as the introduction of ORCA clean food waste recycling technology. This technology has rescued almost 40 tonnes of food waste from landfill in six months, whilst it has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40 tonnes.

Credit: Shangri-La Sydney

Finally, the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, recognising the importance of bees for the environment and for the pollination of the food we eat, has introduced eight beehives onto the level three rooftop. Honey is harvested and used both at the hotel as well as sold in the lobby. A unique and exotic flavour to the honey as a result of the surrounding trees and flowers of Sydney results in delectable results.

The Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney directs excellent efforts into environmental care, through mindful sourcing, recycling and waste reduction. It’s unlikely you’ll find an environmentally perfect hotel in Sydney when it comes to eco-luxury. But why not use your money to support a business working towards lofty sustainability goals one step at a time?

Jessica Beaumont
Noticing the footprints left behind by travellers in the countries she has lived in and loved, Jessica found her calling in the sustainable travel niche. Aside from writing, Jessica is found exploring the Adelaide Hills for good views and delectable wines, dancing, taking leisurely walks on the beach and trying to make friends with dogs.