Having previously worked as a technician at Ritz Carlton Dubai, The Address Hotels Dubai Mall & Downtown Dubai and the Conrad Dubai, the Kerelan now heads up a team of energy-saving, very eco-minded “hospitality” engineers and gives unique behind-the-scene tours, introducing tourists to his “babies”.
He trusts machines and computers more than people when it comes to reducing energy and utility consumption.
Labriz must be one of the few luxury hotels in the world at which the arriving guests’ resort familiarization and orientation tour involves a food waste grinder.
“We used to burn all food waste in an incinerator,” says Thundil. “Now we grind all food waste in a semi solid form, and then compost for use around the resort. We compost an average of 4800 Kg of food waste every month, representing total diesel savings for a year of approximately 48,000 Litres.”
The tours takes in the hotel’s organic nursery in which 10 kilograms of produce is grown aquaponically each month, its energy saving wind and hydro turbines and solar heaters. Ravi proudly sings the praises of his kitchen hood and fan speed regulators, guest villa occupancy sensors and A/C monitors as well Philips CorePro LED LL vanity mirror lighting.
“Our villas are automatically controlled. The lights and air-conditioning switch off when doors remain open for more than 30 minutes, saving 2,500 kilowatts per hour.”
He also believe he makes the best , purest waterfall water in the world. Thundil also runs Labriz’s grey water and mountain spring water recycling plant on Mount Dauban, the highest peak of the five on Silhouette Island which was originally a French-run coconut and cinnamon plantation run by the Dauban family who were known as “The Rothschilds of the Indian Ocean.”
The water is filtered and placed in reusable glass bottles that are used throughout Silhouette and sent on to the two sister properties. The water bottling plant now eliminates up to 3800kg of plastic bottle waste. One man bottle 900 every day for guests who can top up their complimentary stainless steel water canisters from six hydration stations around the property and its 2.5km beach.
Guests drink their cocktails and mocktails through biodegradable pasta straws eliminating over 40,000 environment-degrading plastic straws since 2018.
Ninety-three per cent of Labriz is a protected nature reserve, as are the waters that surround it. At Grande Barbe, a four-hour hike across the island a local elderly couple, Abdul Jumaye and Elvira Dubois, look after eight octogenarian and nonagenarian giant tortoises as well as mangrove or “manglier” forests and largest natural marsh left in the Seychelles.
Aldabra giant domed tortoise is the longest-lived animal on Earth. The most famous was Adwaita who was brought back as a gift for Robert Clive of the British India Company. She died in Kolkata/ Calcutta zoo in 2006 at the grand old age of 255. A captive-breeding programme was initiated on Silhouette in 1997. The hotel now looks after eight adolescents.
Once eighty people lived in twenty-six houses on Silhoutte, named after Louis XV’s finance minister. Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767). The island was first annexed by France in 1771 having been discovered by the English boat, The Ascension” , in 1609. Vasco da Gama called the Seychelles the Admiralty Islands.
There was a church and a school. The old Gran Kaz plantation house by the jetty and harbour at La Passe is now a museum. The first hotel was built in 1983 and there is still a small community called Jamaica which has a store which one visitor once described as “making a Soviet-era supermarket look like Harrod’s food hall.”
Not only is Sihouette famous for its Indo-“reduce and reuse” utility initiatives to use energy more efficiently and reduce greenhouse gases, it also works closely with rangers of the Island Conservation Society to monitor green and nesting Hawksbill turtles and their hatchlings as well as the world’s smallest kestrel.
The island is a rich biodiversity hotspot with many endemic and threatened plant and animal species, including the Critically Endangered Seychelles Sheathed-tailed bat which has two roosting caves in a coastal granite boulder field. One of the rarest plants is the Impatiens gordonii, a white-flowered relative of the Busy Lizzie.