Green Travel Magzine

LooLa Adventure Resort: A Carbon Neutral Trip to Paradise

Have you thought about visiting Indonesia but don’t know where to begin? Visit Bintan Island, and be sure to book with LooLa Adventure Resort! Enjoy a beautiful view and an environmentally friendly stay with the world’s most responsible Tourism Operator. LooLa makes sustainable travel fun and simple, and lets you personalize your experience based on your individual interests. 

LooLa Adventure Resort is named after the founders Dr. Marc van Loo and his wife Isabelle Lacoste. Both Marc and Isabelle enjoyed a first-hand experience of Singapore while teaching. Embracing the beauty, local culture, and hospitality of the area, they invested their teaching money into the creation of an eco resort. When the resort was completed in 2000, local staff suggested the name “LooLa”; a combination of both Marc and Isabelle’s last names, and the name of a local seashell.

LooLa is run completely by local staff. They focus on educating and entertaining their guests, and continue to experiment with and further develop accessible and sustainable methods to provide local families with clean water and increased income. The resort has won several sustainability and customer awards, including “Asia’s most inspiring EcoTourism operator” in 2012, Singapore’s “best sustainable SME” (small and medium-sized enterprise) in 2016 and 2017, and Tripadvisor’s “Travelers’ Choice” for family hotels in Indonesia from 2013 to 2017. 

rocky island coastal sand dark ocean
Source: Akudui

Lodging

When planning your trip with LooLa, the flexibility starts with the type of room you would like to stay in. Original LooLa “rustic chalets,” made for 2 to 5 people, are built right above the water and use fans and sun-warmed water to give you an experience close to nature. They all feature a beautiful veranda you can use to take in the breathtaking view of the water and feel the sea breeze against your skin. 

“Eco luxury villas,” made of local and inexpensive materials, are located right on the beach and include a fridge, handmade furniture, and eco cooling systems. The “Isa villa” has a capacity of 7 to 15 people and features pavilions connected by staircases along with an upstairs living room. The “Sabine villa” is larger and the roof is made of 50,000 bamboo shingles, built using traditional Balinese techniques; 7 to 30 people can comfortably stay in the villa, which features three upstairs rooms and a room downstairs that has its own balcony. 

LooLa’s dormitories are great for schools, businesses, and other large groups. With 75 beds, 25 bathrooms, and a location right on the beach, the dormitories are perfect for accommodating groups of up to 300 people. 

For the more adventurous travelers, there is the opportunity to camp on Survivor Island for a night. Become one with nature as you pitch your own tent and cook domestic foods on a deserted island. 

LooLa has also coordinated an option for guests to homestay with a local family in the village. The family receives the profits when you stay with them, and you get to know some of the local people personally as you cook meals, play games, and learn more about each other’s lifestyles. 

pink and yellow sunset sky mountains green forests overwater villas
Source: LooLa Adventure Resort

Activities

There is so much to do and enjoy during your stay at LooLa, and with the resorts assistance you can curate your experience to match your interests. There are fun activities for all ages. If you are interested in climbing, try rock climbing, coconut tree climbing, the skywalk, or the flying fox – where you climb the climbing tower and then jump into the pool below. 

There are also a number of water-based activities to enjoy, including kayaking, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, the sea-flat marine walk, raft designing and racing, ninja wipeout circuit, and boat & boomnet – where you jump from a moving boat into a net. 

More activities include basketball, an obstacle course, ping pong, a bonfire made of fallen palm leaves, futsal, Indonesian-style tie dye, petanque (a traditional French game), pizza making, a kelong float along the sea, Sjoelbak (a traditional Dutch game), volleyball, fish and crab catch and release, and archery. 

Sustainable Aspects

While all activities are environmentally friendly, LooLa also gives its guests the chance to get involved with sustainability directly. One of these programs is Trash to Cash where you remove plastic waste from the beach and recycle it into bags and ornaments with local women. The women then sell the creations for supplemental income, making it a fun and meaningful experience for all parties. You can also support the local economy by visiting the market in Tanjung Pinang, or buying from LooLa’s store where all profits go to the local employees. 

There is also the opportunity to learn to cook delicious plant-based Indonesian dishes. Plant-based cooking is better for the environment and you can replicate the delicious recipes at home when you return. If cooking isn’t your thing, test out your green thumb by planting mangrove trees. The species is the best carbon absorbing tree in the world, and planting the trees can make your trip, or even your year, carbon neutral. LooLa teams with UMRAH, the local Bintan university, to help you calculate the amount of carbon you use to travel to the resort (or in a year) and the amount of mangrove saplings it takes to offset this output. You can also aid in environmental research by measuring the trees that you plant and those planted before you, thus enabling the planting of millions of mangrove trees. 

mangrove roots forest green leaves trees growing in water
Source: Timothy K

LooLa also offers a tour of the resort where you can learn more about its sustainable projects. View and learn about Loola’s Safe Water Gardens, use of solar and green energy, eco cooling, journey towards zero waste, rainwater harvesting, mangrove trees and carbon neutrality, local wildlife, and sustainable architecture. The chance to experience LooLa’s sustainable technology is even available in your room. The eco villas use Cool Cocoons, a beautiful cloth around your bed space that vastly reduces air conditioning energy bills by trapping the cold air from the air conditioner in a small space and which simultaneously keeps insects out. Being eco-friendly definitely doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort!

You can also learn about, fund, and build a Safe Water Garden (SWG) with LooLa. SWGs are lifesaving sanitation systems that treat sewage and prevent diseases that come from contact with polluted water. Lack of safely managed sanitation is a pressing issue in Indonesia, and funding or building an SWG can provide a family with sanitized water for life. Support and work with local schools and families to make sanitized water more accessible with a Safe Water Garden, the most cost-efficient sanitation system in the world. Learn more at Safe Water Gardens

Being sustainable is more than simply being environmentally conscious. A truly sustainable establishment also examines its social and economic impact, and LooLa exemplifies this with its commitment to gender equality, staff happiness, and support for the local community. LooLa’s employees are 100% local, receive healthcare, and receive overall income packages that significantly exceed the minimum wage. LooLa’s projects support the local community, and when you stay with them you finance the creation and continuation of these projects. You also get the chance to observe and experience the projects for yourself. 

Why It Matters

Oftentimes, the tourism industry focuses on pleasing guests and pays little attention to its negative impact on the destination. Sustainable tourism initiatives and resorts like LooLa challenge this norm by benefiting both guests and the destination’s local community. Your support for sustainable tourism, whether online, in person, or through donation, furthers the notion that the environment and local communities are worth investing in, and encourages mainstream tourist destinations and services to implement sustainable changes.

The success of LooLa Adventure Resort testifies that being sustainable attracts tourists and fosters tangible benefits for all parties involved. No matter your age, interests, or experience level, LooLa makes for a fun and meaningful experience on Bintan Island. There’s even a virtual option in case you do not want to travel but would still like to enjoy the view and support the resort’s sustainable projects. Book your trip or donate today!

 

ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.


Want to learn more?

LooLa Adventure Resort 

Safe Water Gardens


 

Schuyler Buckler
Schuyler was raised near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then moved to Sugar Land, Texas with her family. She is currently based in Austin, Texas, while completing a degree in Sustainability with a minor in business. Schuyler is passionate about living sustainably and hopes to inspire others to begin their own sustainable journey. She enjoys botanical gardens, fashion, and spending time with her cat, Dannie.