Nerja businessman, Jonathan Méndez, has transformed what was the town's two-star Estrella del Mar hotel into an environmentally friendly hostel.
The establishment, MB Hostels Premium Eco, which opened earlier this month, has 12 rooms, all of which have been decorated using natural materials and are mainly powered by a series of solar panels on the roof of the hostel. Méndez, 39, explained to SUR last weekend that although the panels are unable to generate all of the electricity the hostel needs, they do provide around 70 per cent. The panels provide electricity as well as hot water for the hostel.
Water from the sinks and showers is treated on site and reused for flushing the toilets as well as for watering the garden, and guests are able to use electric bicycles for free. Méndez also says that there are no single-use plastic items in the hostel and cutlery is 100 per cent biodegradable.
The food served to guests is organic, from bread to coffee, fruit and other food. The businessman explained that food waste, along with the cutlery all gets composted and is used on the garden.
The former hotel's dining area has been converted into a library, with around 1,500 paperback books in six different languages. Méndez says that he sourced the books from local businesses and guests can find literature in Spanish, English, French, German, Swedish and Dutch. "I wanted to give the hostel a touch of tranquility and instead of a lounge with a television and video games, I have bought this huge book collection, through contacts with local businesses," Méndez explained.
Guests can also have fun on the giant covered slide which curves around the back of the building from the top floor to the hostel's garden, and as if that isn't enough, he aims to give each guest a tree to plant as a gift when they check out.
"The importance of environmental awareness is growing and in the tourism sector you are seeing it more and more," said the businessman, who also owns Nerja's three-star MB Boutique hotel which opened in 2015.
Méndez explained that the philosophy behind the hostel, which has cost 600,000 euros to adapt, is that guests leave no carbon footprint during their stay and that the model is 100 per cent sustainable. "It is a philosophy which I think could attract attention as a franchise, especially to smaller bed and breakfast establishments and urban hostels," he said.