9 years ago we replaced plastic water bottles with refillable flasks. 4 years ago, we swapped plastic drinking straws for reusable metal ones. Both initiatives were remarkably easy to implement and well supported. Back-of-house measures have also been introduced over the years but we believe we must do much more now. Unintentionally we pollute our planet with plastic and polythene, as does every hotel. I’m happy to say however, we have embarked on a journey to stop doing so.
The first leg, PHASE OUT BY 75% OR MORE THE PURCHASE & USE OF PLASTIC & POLYTHENE BY JANUARY 2019 has been surpassed. Treating the exercise like a school project, we began with micro-audits throughout the hotel, drilling-down to separate audits for bedrooms, bathrooms, restaurant, bar and so on. Then, with a little imagination and modest financial outlay we set about the task. Many solutions are now in place while others are about to be.
Do bananas need polythene bags? Can’t we shop or meet suppliers with our own bags, made from repurposed furnishing fabrics? Very stylish they are too. Our suppliers are well aware we favour those who ‘go with the program’ or do their best to. Many deliver sans nasty plastic bags and we’ve outlawed the purchase of them outright. At the supermarket, we unwrap and hand back packaging when we can and remember to, much to the consternation of poor unsuspecting check-out staff!
Daily we make mistakes because plastic is a hard habit to break, but we forgive ourselves and move on with renewed vigor to learn and persevere. We’re not the first to embark on such a journey nor claim we know our way, but can’t we all help keep this island beautiful; protect its wildlife, safeguard its oceans and fragile food chain? I end on an optimistic note. It now takes 4 weeks even at peak season, to fill our repurposed oil-drum Plastic Central, with plastic waste generated by the hotel. Previously it took 2-3 days!
If we’ve overlooked something please tell us but forgive us too, we really are trying. Please take your plastic home if you can and encourage us by sharing your ideas and enthusiasm. Thank you.
Our own animals are loved, bathed, fed and visited periodically by their good friend the vet.
Don’t be offended by our dogs, yappy dachshund Gracie-B, and Bella Fontella. Gracie barks incessantly at EVERYONE even us, but don’t be nervous. she hasn’t bitten a soul and can be adorable on her terms.
Typically non-aggressive Grey Langur monkeys are hugely entertaining and 100% wild so don’t feed them please. Sharing our habitat with ‘the relatives’ is a joy and great privilege, but we remember they once owned it and still do to a large degree.
Please rest assured, nothing is loafing around in the garden waiting to bite you. Anything you might meet will be equally or more afraid of YOU.
SHARING OUR SANCTUARY
Whilst we feel privileged sharing our space with its wildlife, we recognise the unknown can cause undue concern for some. However, commonsense is generally adequate protection from wildlife encounters and irritants, while animal/eco-friendly controls and innovative measures play a big part too. Without being flippant, the first thing you’ll notice is that I’m still here - after 22 years, having experienced no more than occasional insect bites and a couple of bee stings.
Larger wildlife is afraid of us and keeps out of our way, and adopting sensible tropical habits, such as keeping windows closed overnight, switching lights off in an open-air bathroom when not using it, are advised. Please don't leave food out for the monkeys, however cute they may be!
Our tropical garden is natures’ sanctuary. Various reptiles and unusual looking mammals and birds are fascinating to study. To avoid surprises at night use a torch in the garden and follow pathways, and obviously don't touch the wildlife - it may not like it. For perspective, whenever I’m on holiday in the South of France, mosquitoes will irritate me much more there than they do all year-round at the hotel.
Buckingham Place is situated on the edge of a nature sanctuary and prime nesting beach for sea turtles. During daylight hours, beach visitors can roam freely, and if lucky, witness turtle hatchlings heading for the sea. After dark, for the sake of nesting turtles, beach access is necessarily supervised by wildlife rangers and village nest-protectors who operate a night-watch project funded by visitor donations.
Whilst we support the concept, feedback suggests the project can struggle with visitor numbers at times, therefore we invite you to discuss the topic further when with us. If you visit the project (from around 8.30pm) please take your donation (circa US$5 per visitor), keep an open mind and remember, these amazing creatures have been visiting Rekawa longer than us.
Important note; to avoid disturbing night-watch activities we lock our beach gate after dark, also, conservationists advise torches, mobile phone lights, bright clothing, noise and close proximity to turtles may adversely impact their habitual return.
Great guests and keen birders, Tony McGhee (Dec 2011) and Jane Poyntz (Feb 2022), left exhaustive notes for those following in their footsteps, of birds and other wildlife spotted in our gardens and nearby. Most sightings were at or within 4 kilometres of Buckingham Place; on ponds, lakes, beaches and the lagoon.
Immense thanks to Tony and Jane, both of whom wished fellow enthusiasts good luck!
Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Spot Billed Pelican, Yellow Bittern, Indian Pond Heron, Black Crowned Night, Great Heron, Little Heron, Purple Heron, Eastern Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Black Headed Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Eurasian Widgeon, Pygmy Goose, Garganey Duck, Original Honey Buzzard, Black Shouldered Kite, Common Kestrel, Brahiminey Kite, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Booted Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Green Billed Coucal, Indian Swiftlet, Stork Billed Kingfisher, White Throated Kingfisher, Black Capped Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, European Bee Eater, Chestnut Headed Bee Eater, Yellow Crowned Woodpecker, Black Rumped Flame Back, Barn Swallow, Woolly Necked Stork, Common Lara, Original Magpie, Robin, Indian Robin, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Layards Parakeet, Asian Koel, Darter, Yellow Eared Bul Bul, Great Knot Sanderling, Jeydons Bush Lark, Bar Winged Flycatcher, Shrike, Red Vented Bul Bul, Eurasian Blackbird, Black Bul Bul, House Crow ,Lesser Crested Tern, Pied Bush Chat, Common Moorhen, White Breasted Water Hen, Indian Peafowl, Ceylon Jungle Fowl, Orange Headed Thrush, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Red Wattle Lapwing, Pacific Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Indian Thicknee, Common Tern, Gull Billed Tern, Black Headed Gull, Whimbrel Bar Tailed Godwit, Pintail Snipe, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Mynah Bird, House Sparrow, Indian Jungle Crow, Water Cock, Purple Swamp Hen, Grey Crested Pinia, Tickells Blue Flycatcher, Lotens Sunbird, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint Lesser Hill Mynah, Asian Paradise, White Bellied Drongo, Eurasian Collared Dove, Black Spotted Dove, Hooded Oriole Flycatcher, Black Drongo, Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon. *Plus Iguanas Fruit Bats Numerous Bat Species Local Monkey Troupes (Langur) Monitor Lizards (Up To 2m!)
Additional sightings by Jane:
White-Browed Bulbul, Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon, Coppersmith Barbet, Pheasant-Tailed Jacana, Blue-Tailed Bee Eater, Brown-Headed Barbet, Green Imperial Pigeon, Green Bee Eater, Yellow-Billed Babbler, Scaly-Breasted Munia, Changeable (Crested) Hawk-Eagle, Purple Sunbird, Greater Coucal.