Sustainable accommodation on a boat
As its name indicates, Botel Ophoven is a hotel on a boat. Its unique location on Maasplas De Spaanjerd gives guests the opportunity to fully enjoy the landscape, the tranquillity and the legendary Limburg hospitality. What’s more, it’s also sustainable!
Owners Leo and Katy are pioneers when it comes to sustainability. From the outset, when they set up their project 13 years ago, they wanted to reduce their impact on their stunning natural surroundings to a minimum. They transformed a run-down barge into a green hotel in just a few years, reusing materials, applying smart energy solutions and using a minimum of water.
It took quite a long time to achieve, but ultimately their efforts were rewarded with the Green Key label. This is the leading and most renowned international eco-label awarded to tourism and leisure facilities. Every day, Leo and Katy check the various criteria, which include but are not limited to ecology, as well as including social awareness and corporate social responsibility. They feel that this is the only right way to do business. Their efforts were rewarded in 2014 when they won the VISITFLANDERS Award for Most Socially Responsible Tourism Entrepreneur. They are also the only privately-owned company with a whopping 4 Green Keys.
Their commitment to be a sustainable business also means paying attention to their employees and having a social vision. They have partnered with Steunpunt Vakantieparticipatie, a collaborative platform that facilitates holidays for everyone. In addition to this, they want to introduce as many people as possible to Limburg, among other things, by offering zero kilometre menus. They promote local suppliers and seasonal regional vegetables at On The Rocks, their café, and only serve Limburg beers.
“You need to think of every detail, otherwise people won’t believe your sustainable narrative.”
Besides hotel guests, locals have also found their way to the Botel jetty. Leo and Katy set up Stilsloep, renting out electrical boats that people can use to enjoy the natural surroundings of the Maasplassen. If you rent a boat, you can also purchase a map to help you recognise the animals and birds that you spot en route. Leo and Katy donate 1 euro to the local Natuurpunt branch for every map they sell. Botel also made the conscious choice to join various local (nature) associations, which is their way of giving back to the community.
Light on the horizon
Managing a hotel and leisure facilities is a continuous growth process. The search for even more sustainable solutions is also never-ending. The couple behind Botel hopes to be sufficiently successful down the road that they can take a step back and invest their energy in other things. Katy would like to become a consultant, sharing the ecological initiatives Botel took so others can learn from their process. The environment will only stand to benefit…
This is an article from the brochure ‘10 inspirerende logies van de toekomst’.