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Hotels with Heart: Six of the Best Hotels that Give Back

At the end of May our co-host Polly tweeted about spreading some sunshine with an act of kindness – her tweet went viral spreading love along with it! With that in mind we decided to stick with the theme of kindness for our travel link up. It’s a growing trend for luxury hotels to not only provide the very best experiences and accommodation but many also ‘give back’ to charity and the local community often with philanthropic projects. I thought I’d base this post around my favourite hotels and hotel collections that have spread their own kindness. As I’ve previously written about eco-friendly hotels, I won’t touch on this aspect of the hotels too much but sustainability often comes as part and parcel of these philanthropic hotels.

1. The Safari Collection

A couple of years ago I stayed in the famous Giraffe Manor in Nairobi and sister property Sasaab in Samburu, Kenya. Both hotels are part of the Safari Collection, a company that not only provides experiences that are both luxurious and authentic but also actively supports the local community. 
I could write a whole blog just on the Safari Collection as the company does so much for the community. In terms of health care they partner with Community Health Africa Trust to provide family planning and education to the women, Medical and Educational Aid to Kenya (MEAK) to hold eye clinics for the communities and UK dental charity, SmileStar, to provide free dental and health treatments.
In terms of education they set up the The Safari Collection School Food Program to help combat malnutrition, they participate in a scholarship program and set up Team Talk a project intended to encourage empowerment of girls and improve health and sexual education through sport. They also have a young conservationist program, a school building program and have set up a charity called S.A.F.E Kenya  with youth leaders in the community to stage music and theatre productions to address and raise awareness of FGM, HIV and women’s education, gender-based violence. 
Not only that, but hotel are dedicated to the environment and sustainability with green initiatives rolled out throughout the properties. As African safari lodges they are also concerned with conservation and have set up the Mara Cheetah Project in order to protect the vulnerable species.

2. &Beyond Group 

&Beyond Hotels were actually originally established to cater for the rising trend for ecotourism and sustainable travel. The core message of the company is  “Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People” and has been rolled out in numerous properties around the world, mostly wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. A few years ago I stayed at &Beyond Mnemba Island, their luxury private island retreat in Zanzibar and it was one of my favourite hotels of all time!
&Beyond works in partnership with Africa Foundation to facilitate the development of rural communities living in or close to the Africa’s conservation areas with a focus on healthcare, education, promoting small businesses and the environment. For example since 1992, Africa Foundation has supported 80 schools and constructed over 200 classrooms including the development of Nkomo School in Mnqobokazi in partnership with &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.
The Positive health program means a dedication to providing its staff with information to achieve freedom from poverty, malnutrition, gender inequity, stigma, HIV/AIDS and TB. The Lillydale Home-based Care Centre was set up to help those affected by AIDS and HIV.
The Happy Homes Preschool allows mothers to seek employment and currently looks after 180 children close to &Beyond Kirkmans Kamp. 
These are just a few of the projects that &Beyond support – you could write a book on the number of things that they do to support the community and that’s without even getting started on support for the environment and wildlife.

3. Alila 

Alila is a hotel group with luxury hotel based mainly in Asia. I’ve personally stayed at Alila Villas Uluwatu, a beautifully designed property in Bali. 
Alila support the YPAB Foundation, a home that provides education and health care to orphaned children. The home also helps find foster families for the children.

4. Small Luxury Hotels 

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Small Luxury Hotels which encompasses gorgeous little hotel gems around the world. I’ve stayed in lots of their hotels including Petit St Vincent, Hemingways and Hotel Romeo and many more!
What you may not know about the hotel collection is their charity affiliations. In 2014 and 2015 they raised over $1 million dollars for over 100 charities across the world, such as the British Red Cross, Macmillan Cancer Support, American Cancer Society and Save the Children.

5. Jade Mountain 

Jade Mountain isn’t just the most beautiful hotel in St Lucia, but it’s also a hotel with heart! Owner Nick Troubetzkoy was one of the founding members of the Soufriere Foundation, a organisation set up to help the local community.
The resort was also built by a local workforce in support for the economy of the area.

6. Singita 

Singita, a group of safari lodges in Africa dedicated to community, conservation and sustainability. Their work with the local community is absolutely integral and they are dedicated to a three-fold program of educating children, development of local businesses and awareness of conservation in the community. 
As with &Beyond and The Safari Collection, Singita runs far too many community projects to list in this blog post but a few examples are the Feeding Program to help malnourished children in Zimbabwe, the Gorwing to Read program to help child development and The Community Culinary School to train chefs. 
Environmental Education Center (EEC) was established to educate youth about conservation and the Kambako is a ‘living museum’ just outside Malilangwe Reserve established  showcase of the Shangaan culture.

Again I won’t even go into what this hotel group does for sustainability and conservation as this blog post would just be far too long!

I feel like there’s so much more to luxury travel than appears on the surface. Have you ever stayed in a hotel with heart or a philanthropic hotel?