The London-based Inhabit Hotel has showcased sustainable, responsible design and practices from its inception. The recipient of a Green Key award, the hotel is now on a mission to exceed industry standards and become a Certified B Corporation business. The visionary behind the hotels, Nadira Lalji, has an approach to sustainability that is evolving and experimental, but thought-out and considered, extending to all areas of the operations. In terms of materials, the design aims to connect people back to nature: Stone is stone and wood is wood. There are no printed finishes in the hotel. Lalji also believes that the modern hotel can exist as part of its setting rather than as a bubble for travelers. To embody this philosophy, Inhabit works with local businesses such as Goldfinger, a social enterprise that teaches carpentry to the disadvantaged. Through such partnerships, Inhabit aims to connect to its local surroundings in a way that makes an impact. The hotel’s focus on holistic well-being ties a thread through it all. As Lalji tells us, “Mindfulness fosters not only a greater sense for one’s immediate surroundings, but also by extension, an appreciation of, and care for, the greater world. It’s essentially the starting point for empathy and community engagement.”
The hotel recycles all waste and repurposes and reuses wherever possible. Zero waste goes to landfills. The monthly recycling rate is above 91%. The Goldfinger furniture features recycled and reclaimed materials and the hotel avoids all synthetic chemicals.
Inhabit partners with Con-Serve to reduce its gas and electricity consumption. In the first year of partnership alone, the reduction in electricity was equivalent to the amount generated by 74,837 light bulbs being switched on for 24 hours.
Guests can refill their bottles at Belu filtered water taps on each floor of the hotel. Belu is a UK-based water company that produces carbon-neutral and ethically-sourced bottled water. 100% of the company’s profits go to WaterAid.
The hotel works with a wide range of local partners to source food, textiles, furniture, art, and more. The restaurant features a seasonal, plant-centric menu with no meat and no dairy.
Inhabit believes hotels can be portals of education for locals and travelers. The hotel is involved with the London Design Festival, hosts workshops with local creative freelancers, and showcases art curated by Culture A.
Inhabit hosts year-round workshops with local creative freelancers, hosts talks, and offers well-being programs for locals and guests. The hotel also offers running maps and a carefully curated guest directory that features a variety of small businesses.
The hotel offers Tokyo Bikes, which guests can use to explore the neighborhood. Inhabit is a short distance from a local train station.
The hotel communicates its environmental and social initiatives through its website, social media channels, and in-room materials.
We spoke with the team at Inhabit Hotel to learn the latest on the hotel’s conscious journey.
After receiving a Green Key award, we are now on a mission to exceed current industry standards (in business in general, but in hospitality especially) to become a Certified B Corporation business. We incorporate sustainability best practices from construction, design, and supply chain considerations through to our daily partnerships and operations. Our approach is evolving, experimental and incrementally improving, but above all, it is thought-out and considered. We interrogate all elements of our supply chain, hold ourselves accountable to a five-yearly sustainability plan, and are now putting out an annual report. The importance of consumer education at hotels is key and constantly growing. Hotels can be portals of education in sustainability. Associated programming also introduces an additional layer of accessibility to the wider community. The role of the hotel has become extended, and it now has the capacity to exist as a part of its locale, rather than as a bubble for travelers. This is especially exemplified through local collaborations, which allow hotels to evolve into cultural hubs and more than just somewhere to stay. For example, in teaming up with Goldfinger, a social enterprise that hosts an academy teaching carpentry to the disadvantaged, Inhabit’s overarching theme of community engagement becomes an impactful reality that tangibly connects the hotel to its local community.
We support local enterprises that share our passion for wellness and commitment to sustainability. Our hotel showcases our community partners in its build and operations. Even our furniture, food, water, retail, and programming are community-driven. Key creative and community partners that Inhabit Hotel has worked with to help make this vision a reality include Goldfinger, Holland Harvey, Kalinko, Aerende, Globechain, Women's Returners, Belu, IQ Air, Self Care Co, Culture A, Yeotown, and more.
It is so important to consider where the materials that go into making a hotel come from. It takes bravery to pursue the use of new, alternative materials, which we try and integrate within the core structure of Inhabit Hotels (especially when they are untried in terms of their longevity and durability). That said, we hope that certain products such as our wood furniture will stand the test of time (which limits wastage and replacement of furniture, a clearly unsustainable practice that many hotel groups inadvertently engage with).
The Originals Nadira Lalji