HI hotel eco spa & beach

HI loves ecology

Tuesday 25 October 2011, by Angela Zhang, Anne-charlotte Roulin, Eric Cao, Melody Abel

2 inspired

a) The main facts about the activities of the company

Hi hotel is a 38 room urban luxury hotel in Nice located 200 meters from the sea. It is has been founded by Patrick Elouarghi and Philippe Chapelet, in 2003. The design was created by Matali Crasset, the France’s leading young designer, also famous for being the pupil of Philippe Starck. HI is a hotel based on conviviality, open mindedness, exchange and eco-friendliness. It is a different way to conceive luxury by making it accessible and green. Hi proposes an experience where everything is prepared just for the customers and invites them to discover to new typologies of contemporary spaces: a bar, a restaurant, a spa (?HI body?), a meeting room (?HI business?) and a beach (?HI beach?).
Therefore, HI is a design luxury hotel to live a contemporary experience while being concerned about well being and committed to ecological values, in relation with today?s engagement to protect the planet. As the concept was a success, the founders of the HI hotel has developed other hotels in Paris (?HI matic?), in Tunisia (?HI dar?) and has also developed another way to promote their concept by offering accommodations (flat, house?) in different cities like Paris, Nice, Ibiza? (?HI casa?).

b) The ethical challenges this company is addressing

In accordance to their concept and their engagement, the HI hotel has to address the following ethical challenges:
- ensure that its products are responsibly sourced (cotton issued from fair trade, organic food?)
- minimize its impact on the environment (recycled paper for administration, waste sorting, energy saving?)
- educate its customer to adopt an eco-friendly behavior in the hotel and after in their daily life
- create a good and fulfilling working atmosphere for the staff

Finally, as an ecological hotel and to answer these ethical challenges, HI has higher costs and higher investments than a classical luxury hotel. Besides, its target customer is narrower than other hotels as people have to be both wealthy and sensitive to environmental concern. Therefore, another ethical challenge could be to manage to run a profitable business while fulfilling all its duties.

c) What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it

We deeply think that the HI hotel is ethical through its original and innovative concept but also through its long-term ecological commitment.
First, the HI hotel is deeply committed to ecological values. The whole concept of this hotel has been built on these values, from the construction (from mineral) to the running of business. Nowadays, the products used by the staff (from their clothes to work equipments) are made from recycled materials and resources are issued from fair trade (cotton). It also provides its clients natural ingredients like for example organic food in the restaurant and natural shampoo in the bathrooms.
Moreover, the HI hotel goes further in its ecological commitment. Indeed, it also aims at educating its customers by asking them to contribute to the environment protection by sorting their waste or saving energy (water, less frequent change of linen?).
Besides, the HI hotel developed a very original concept as a luxury hotel. Indeed, the convivial and open minded atmosphere it has created makes this luxury hotel ?accessible?. For us, offering this kind of atmosphere to its customers but also to its staff is a form of ethics as it can help everybody to feel fulfilled.
So, for us, this company is deeply ethical through its actions in the framework of its hotel activities but also as it tries to have a long term positive impact on the environment. Indeed, it commits to have its customers? environmental awareness evolved during their stay so that they could have a more eco-friendly behavior beyond their journey in the hotel.
As reward to their ecological involvement, the HI hotel ethical received in 2009 the Green Globe Bronze Benchmark.
To conclude, the HI hotel has succeeded in creating an ecological environment which satisfies their demanding customers but also helps them to become more ?green? in their daily life. For us, these two dimensions are very important and show that this model is trustable as it contributes to a more sustainable future.

d) The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve

Even if this company is trying to have a complete ethical behavior, we acknowledge that there is no perfect ethical company. Indeed, all companies have to deal with the tension between profits and social responsibility. In 2008, the HI hotel faced this kind of ethical dilemma. At a time where the hotel business was facing a major crisis, the HI hotel showed a reduction in occupancy rate and average daily rate. This is when the RedBull company contacted the hotel in order to host a major incentive program.
On one hand, this was a unique opportunity for the hotel to compensate its drop in occupancy rate and meet the profits expectations of the summer reason.
On the other hand, the RedBull event consisted in promoting their products which are often considered as bad for the health by the public opinion. Even if the effects of this beverage have not been proven yet, it is still not in-line with the organic and healthy products that the hotel is promoting. As the event would be related in the press, the HI hotel was taking an ethical risk of going against its core values and consequently losing its credibility among its customers.
The question was where to draw the line between making profits and preserving its values. Would it be more ethical to put the priority on its profits at the expense of its ecological values, or the contrary?
As a result of facts, the hotel decided to welcome the RedBull group in order to secure its profits. The question is not to judge whether this decision was good or bad but rather on shedding the light on the possibility for the hotel to improve by adopting an ethical behavior while dealing with this issue. Indeed, we think that the hotel is failing to fulfill its core mission of ?inviting people to discover new ways of experimenting luxury through the respect of the environment? when it decides to renounce to its core values in order to achieve profit. Actually, the hotel could have taken this dilemma as a challenge to both positively influence the RedBull staff to adopt a more eco-friendly behavior and meet their financial expectations. It could have been able to communicate on this challenge in order to improve its image. We think it would have been a way for the hotel to use money, not as a goal, but as a mean in order to accomplish its mission.
The HI hotel will certainly have to deal with other dilemmas. It should learn from its experience to resolve them in the most ethical way possible. Moreover, it also has to continue to expand its brand name through the communication of its ecological concept. It has to turn its ethical values into a competitive advantage as key differentiation regarding its competition. However, as there is also a growing ecological concern in the society, there is also a threat of entry of new competitors on this market. Under the pressure of the competition, the HI hotel should keep and cultivate its unique values and way of thinking.



Location: Nice (France)

Sector: luxury hotel

Official website: http://www.hi-hotel.net/en

Key figures:

Number of hotels: 3 + flats and houses
Countries of operation: France, Tunisia, Spain
Number of employees: 89
Rate of rooms: from 179? to 600?

Nbr. visits: 807

Nbr. inspires: 2