Sustainability is a big word and we take it seriously. It’s a priority in all our projects from asset management to advisor and Planning.
Penha Longa Resort is in the heart of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a territory characterized by the rich biodiversity of fauna, flora, and natural habitats. Penha Longa Resort must be conserved and preserved through sustainable activities and initiatives. To this end, we have carried out extensive work to restore and preserve the resort, which is fundamental for both the local community and for the sustainability of the resort.
Sustainability is the future, and we are focused on sustainable management. In 2020, a Forest Management Plan (FMP) was drawn up and the forest area was classified into different plots. One of the plots was dedicated to preservation and production functions for the extraction of cork oak and pine kernel (from which the pine nut is used). Besides normal forest operations (cleaning, pruning) the FMP foresees actions related to the protection of the forest against fire and pests that attack the pine wood and the cork oaks. Important work has also been done to control invasive exotic species by removing species such as acacia and replanting indigenous plants such as cork oak and Portuguese oak where suitable habitats have been built, such as nests for the local fauna.
To help visitors appreciate the natural and cultural heritage, an interpretive center was created in 2021. This project is aimed at publicizing the natural heritage of this location, favoring the physical and diverse landscape that arises from the encounter between nature and the history of the place. At the Interpretative Centre it is possible to carry out activities, such as guided tours so that the public can learn more about the surroundings of the resort and become aware of the history, environment, and heritage. This place aims to stimulate critical thinking and the development of ecological-cultural awareness, contributing to the sustainability of the heritage sites at a local and regional level.
With a privileged location at the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, trails have been created with information about the fauna, flora and animals that inhabit the area. These hiking trails maximize access and minimize impact, leading to the highest point in the forest, where an Observation Tower has been constructed. The tower offers the best and most privileged views of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and is the ideal spot for observing the flora and fauna.
The Penha Longa Resort also has an organic vegetable garden, allowing fresh, organic ingredients to be served in its restaurants.
Finally, the hotel operations are also an important priority for the sustainability of operations. Penha Longa Resort is a Green Key resort that acts to ensure its activity is more sustainable. Green Key is an international award given to resorts that meet a set of environmental requirements in different areas as introducing environmental management, reducing energy and water consumption, sorting waste, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, promoting organic products, and avoiding chemical herbicides.
Penha Longa Resort joined Life Terra initiative that aims to unite people in a collective effort to plant 500 million trees in Europe. By harnessing and monitoring nature’s own carbon capture mechanism, citizens can take urgent action against the climate crisis. To achieve this goal, staff and residents of Penha Longa Resort joined the action by planting 100 new trees to protect biodiversity and prevent wildfires.
As the largest hotel in the region and a valuable source of tourism, it has a major social and governance responsibility. In this sense, the hotel has played an important role in the professional development and well-being of its employees, encouraging healthy practices such as gym, football, volleyball, yoga, and healthy meal options. It has also encouraged volunteer work, including forest cleaning, and has made donations to local communities, including support to local fire departments. The hotel is also very concerned about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Specific programs with well-defined objectives have been created allowing for an environment where all employees, customers, owners, and suppliers feel welcome and have the same range of opportunities.
Ecotourism is not just an economic lifeline for communities, it is an effective way to add economic value through the preservation of nature rather than through its exploitation.
Managing, developing, and owning an asset in such a unique location may not be as easy as in other places, yet it is a source of pride to demonstrate that ecotourism and investing in the community can benefit all parties involved.