Grand Forest’s Statement on Sustainability ©
UPDATED JANUARY 2023
We naturally engage in sustainability actions up to today - for the present and in time..!
The Grand Forest Metsovo is a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World's Considerate Collection, certified by the Global SustainableTourism Council (GSTC) – the international, independent, not-for-profit body established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UnitedNations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); and Greenview, whose platform is the only GSTC-recognised sustainable tourism management tool. Criteriafor the Considerate Collection fully align with the GSTC’s global criteria across three key pillars ensuring all the hotels are Community Minded, Cultural Custodians and Environmentally Conscious. These pillars are all underpinned by a strong sustainability management system.
The sustainable virtues of our setting and surroundings:
The Grand Forest is built atop of a private mountain in Metsovo, Epirus, Greece.
The nearest domestic airport (IOA) is at a 45km distance and the nearest international (SKG) at a 200km distance. Perched on the slopes of the Pindus Mountain range at the footsteps of Pindus National Park in Greece, Grand Forest Metsovo is the height of sophistication and serenity. Designed with its surrounding peaks and black pine forest in mind, getting back to nature comes easily at this secluded mountaintop hideaway which makes the most of all four seasons, from skiing to wild truffle hunting.
The hotel is comprised of only 10,000 square meters in a total land area of 2 square kilometres. The design and construction deliberately reflects nature through materials, patterns, and management styles that are sympathetic to the surrounding vernacular features. Comprised of 62 suites spread in 8 staggered buildings with grey stone roof tiles, stone facades and chunky beams, the hotel lends to a distinctly mountain chalet ambiance with a welcoming, cozy feel. With peaks and forests discernible all around, and scents of pine and log fires. Nature is very raw here and the feeling that you are close to it is very strong.
NATURE IS AT the heart of everything we do here, We are situated on the edge of black pine forest that is part of the Pindus National Park, one of least explored and most verdant parts of Europe. It was established in 1966 and considered one of the most important protected areas for the maintenance of mountainous biodiversity. The National Park is characterized by extensive forests of black pine and beech in the park's lower and middle altitudes and Balkan pine at higher altitudes. The area hosts a population of Eurasian brown bears, which is a conservation priority species. Other mammals that live in the park are wolves, deer, wild cats and the Balkan Chamois. The park further provides shelter for more than 80 species of birds, including 10 types of rare bird species such as the Eastern imperial eagle, the Golden eagle and the Lanner falcon. A large variety of reptiles, amphibians, and insects, complete the picture. The hotel’s exact location is found on the foothills of the national park.
Within maximum 1hr around the hotel the guest may visit: the historic village of Metsovo, Averoff estate vineyards, the Averoff Gallery (one of the most valuable art collections in the country after the National Gallery), the Folklore Museum, the city of Ioannina and all its sights, and of course the famous rock formations with the monasteries on top of Meteora (UNESCO site).
Taking extra steps towards restoring and regenerating our destination rather than just reducing negative impacts:
The Grand Forest is inspired by its land and is established as a destination on its own, while introducing Metsovo to the conscious traveller, given the combined: the architecture, the experience, the endeavor, the people, the land and its mark.
The Grand Forest as a micro-destination, is marked in only 10,000 square meters in a total land area of 2 square kilometres- which is to be preserved and cherised. The design and construction achieved vigilant deliberation in order to certify the guests’ experience of the forest environment, reflecting nature through materials, patterns, and management styles that are sympathetic to the surrounding vernacular features.
Metsovo as a destination including the Grand Forest, has always been a thriving town, with an economy based on livestock, trade and crafts. Metsovite travellers and traders became prosperous, particularly in the Danubian principalities and Russia, and subsequently brought the benefits of their wealth back to their homeland by constructing public buildings, bridges, churches and schools. Metsovo became a cultural and commercial hub for merchants and traders from East and West. Of its benefactors, particularly noteworthy are the Tositsa Foundation and Evangelos Averoff, who were the driving force behind the economic boom and an influx of tourism in 1970.An important town since the 17th and 18th centuries due to its location on the main pathways between northern and southern Greece, Metsovo supplied the wool not only to Ioannina and nearby villages but throughout the Balkans and even north Africa. The town preserves its size throughout the centuries as it is by law forbidden to expand. The divinely preserved traditional character of Metsovo must be attributed to the wonderful locals who have a great passion for their age-old history. In the heart of Metsovo there are two spectacular museums, the Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art and the Folk Art Museum. The region of Epirus heavily relies on livestock farming, thus its cuisine entails delicious meats and plenty of dairy products. The mountains are full of wild greens and mushrooms, which are used to prepare hearty dishes. Goat and sheep cooked with wild greens is also a staple recipe of the region of Epirus. In the earlier years when the region relied heavily on farming and the economy was scarce, each household had to maximize the use of their ingredients. Nothing went to waste and this is when the making of local pies came in place and were a creative way to feed the family. As a result there were various types of tyropites (cheese pies) which consisted of different kinds of cheese fillings and hortopites, based on fillings of wild greens.
As the Grand Forest is a family-owned hotel with the family originating from Metsovo, we share the Metsovian culture and values, and we do take action towards sustainable practices, which happens to come naturally through our culture.
Delivering Social & Economic benefits to the Local Community:
90% of our team is local (50miles radius). We do invest in their growth and training both personally and financially.
Priority given to local suppliers:
All ingredients are locally sourced from the mountains and local only suppliers. We take great pride in supporting our area. 75% of furnishings have been made by local craftsmen and carpenters.
Local artisans have an opportunity to promote or sell their crafts:
We operate a hotel shop, which exclusively sells: handmade jewellery by local artisans and Metsovo’s food & beverage products.
Excursions and experiences we organise that bring economic benefit to the local community:
Our highly-trained team, including our concierge will tailor an excursion to the town which will definitely include culture (museum visits) and gastronomy. Our visitors will bring economic benefit with their visit to the town as well as the hotel itself; as we utilize all suppliers, technicians and craftsmen of the town.
Additionally, we have developed ourselves a wide range of nature experiences (hiking, biking, wild truffle hunting etc.) with the real local expert of each one. We have invested in time, effort, training, and have also contributed in acquiring part of their tools and equipment in a non-financial investment way. We carefully select our team, suppliers, operators giving priority to being local and sharing the common values: respect, transparency, integrity and genuineness.
Championing cultural heritage:
All our exclusive experiences are curated and being kept small. We do not allow more that 8 people to enter the forests – when we can do that. We care to preserve the virgin nature as it is, we therefore try and feature our exclusive experiences in an educational way.
Respectfully bringing authentic elements of traditional and contemporary local culture in our operation, design, decoration, and cuisine:
The design and construction achieved vigilant deliberation in order to certify the guests’ experience of the forest environment, reflecting nature through materials, patterns, and management styles that are sympathetic to the surrounding vernacular features. The soil of the area is very mountainous, with strong territorial bouts and many forests and the hydrographic network area (Aoos, Arachthos etc.) is rich. The strong sense of the prevalence of the natural environment as the original image has successfully been maintained. The hotel entrance depicts the nature with a, as short as possible, input symbol. The buildings are amphitheatrically built so as to follow and complement the rugged terrain of the natural ground, while the 'back' of the buildings sinking into the ground, so that it blends with the environment and the residents have unobstructed views. The architectural project expression borrows traditional elements mainly found in mountainous mainland Greece. The whole facility is governed by uniform architectural character, where a hierarchy of buildings included on the severity of the common elements of their form.
Maximising the hotels benefit to the environment:
We constantly encourage our team to reduce and reuse. We are currently commencing a devoted sustainability plan, which will include in-room recycling bins and guest education material, as we have managed to bring to our area the service of recycling collection.
We do not use plastic bags (paper instead) or plastic food wrapping – we either use reusable wrapping or paper. Water bottles are glass or reusable only- as the hotel is served by its own natural springs therefore where water is served, is natural and in reusable glass bottles. Straws are paper. In-room amenities packaging is a 100% compostable and made of recycled plastic.
Using gas and electricity – all lights are led.
All devices (showers, toilets) are low-flow since the construction of the Grand Forest (2011-2013). We do encourage guests to reuse towels and sheets; our default policy is the re-use of linen and towels, single-use is on request only.
5. Food and drink
All ingredients are sourced locally; they are not grown on site as we believe the benefit to the local community is greater when appointing the local farmers to grow the ingredients. 92% of all food ingredients is organic. Local food only policy/ gastronomic concept. We only source fish and meat by local and premium suppliers.
6. Gardens and greenery
We do not have “gardens”, we use the forest itself as a garden with its native flora only. (Small exception at the hotel entrance where one can find native flora in flower pots).
7. Conservation & Regeneration
It is in our core values to preserve the mountain. The hotel is built with the landscape intervention kept at minimum, aiming to keep the forests secure for their natural habitats.
"We aim for our guests to connect remotely with nature in a respectful way, in full privacy and enjoy meaningful details taken care of by genuine people. We flawlessly assist guests in exploring, creating, enjoying, relaxing, restoring and engaging in life-enhancing experiences." ©