22 Oct 2015
Dana, Jordan
Sustainable Tourism

Located in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, in Jordan, the Feynan Ecolodge is an eco-exemplary hotel that runs on solar energy. It not only helps to raise funds for the conservation of biodiversity, but it is a significant economic generator for the local Bedouin community.

Founded in 1966, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is an association dedicated to the conservation of Jordan’s natural resources. To help revive the Dana valley, recognized by UNESCO as Jordan’s first biosphere reserve, the society suggested the Feynan Ecolodge, an eco-friendly hotel that runs entirely on solar energy.

Placed in the middle of a bare rocky valley, the hotel was designed by the Jordanian architect Ammar Khammash. Inspired by the traditional caravanserai (a resting place for Middle Eastern merchant caravans), the hotel looks like a fortress with sand-coloured walls, whose 26 rooms are lit by candlelight.

Solar panels provide energy, especially for the kitchen and the laundry room. Consumption, limited to 16-18 kwh, is the equivalent to that of a typical two-bedroom apartment in the capital Amman. The need for heating is very limited in this region, however, when necessary, olive residue is burnt in both fireplaces of the hotel, so avoiding the destruction of 4 tons of trees annually.

The issue of water is also very important, especially when we know that Jordan has very poor water resources. The water comes from a nearby spring, and its consumption is strictly limited. Reusable bottles and clay jugs are provided and made by local artisans, which also reduces the use of plastic bottles.

A candlelit eco-friendly hotel | The Switchers
A candlelit eco-friendly hotel | The Switchers

Fruits and vegetables are bought from local producers and are prepared in vegetarian dishes, which are served to guests as a buffet. Waste or surpluses are then transformed into fertilizer.

Awarded for its community involvement, the Feynan Ecolodge gives work to 80 Bedouin families, about 400 individuals. They are employed as hotel staff, but also as drivers or local guides, while women make the candles used to light up the hotel and make leather crafts sold to visitors.

 

Interchange with the local community is at the heart of the project. Thus, the hotel offers its guests workshops to discover Bedouin traditions and expertise. Similarly, the Bedouin introduce visitors to the treasures of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which is home to many endangered animals. An environment and human adventure to the benefit of all.

Feynan Ecolodge Tourism, Environment & Biodiversity
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