For avid skiers and winter holiday lovers, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (also known as Saint Gervais Mont Blanc) is a destination you would have travelled to before and in the last few years, a new player in the tourism and hospitality field has been making quite the buzz – Tropical Snowman Chalets.
Owned by Nick Wong, a Malaysian entrepreneur and former financier in London, the Tropical Snowman Chalets is a set of refurbished chalets that host families on their ski holidays in Saint Gervais.
A boutique and novel vacation experience applauded by many who have tried, Nick now ventures into his second project – taking over a 150-year-old property and turning it into a sustainable, zero-waste, zero-plastic Hotel, Art Gallery and Restaurant.
Meet Hotel Le Regina, a 150-year-old property and former 2-star "bed and breakfast" in the heart of Saint Gervais, which Nick has just procured as he permanently settles down in Saint Gervais with his new family – wife Yevgeniya and newborn baby boy Lucas.
On his project, Nick says, "I started Tropical Snowman, a ski and summer chalet in 2016 and have enjoyed much support from Malaysian travellers and media. An opportunity to expand came along and this neglected 150-year-old building caught my eye because of the work it needed and the potential to make a statement is tremendous."
"Sustainability is a topic very close to my heart, I have been constantly decluttering and reevaluating my consumption to go zero waste and zero plastic personally. The hotel has 12 rooms and a disused kitchen at the moment and I plan to extend my personal values into this. The challenge is to add touches of luxury and warmth and create an unforgettable stay for all my guests despite the environmental friendliness practices."
For this new venture of Nick's, everything aims to be a sustainable practice. For starters, he will introduce zero waste and zero plastic practices into the hotel that our guests can also emulate at home, an initiative to bring eco-sustainability to the daily lives of his guests and not just within the holiday itself.
For the hotel restoration portion, cradle-to-cradle® products will be used – a practice where waste from one process is used in other processes, so that nothing is wasted.
For the amenities and facilities, there are plans to create on-site 'lab' where Nick himself and his team will brew natural/organic personal amenities for hotel and concoct eco-friendly cleaning agents for housekeeping needs. Not to mention, working with local suppliers that have similar practices and creating a farm-to-table restaurant to minimise carbon footprint. The list goes on... (which you can have a read here).
Nick adds, "We will also be bringing the tropical vibe here to the French Alps by using Bamboo, a sustainable material to build our conservatory at the patio."
And not only that, art (something close to the heart of L'Officiel) also comes to play in this hotel, where there will be an unusual art gallery formed. This works in a way, where the hotel will collaborate with artists to create works for each room and will then be displayed in the rooms itself for the guest.
The best part? When unoccupied, the rooms will adopt an open-door policy and double as a Free-Access-For-All Art Gallery for the rest of the guests in the hotel.
And now this is where we can come into the picture because Nick's sustainable venture with Hotel Le Regina is a Kickstarter project, where those interested can chip in and fund the project. Nick says, "We feel that Kickstarter is a perfect platform to share this project and initiate people to pledge to stay with us, and witness how we turn this neglected building into a Zero Waste/Zero Plastic Hotel, Restaurant and Art Gallery."
The Kickstarter campaign (with a target of £33, 000) has been 90% funded and still needs a little bit of push before its deadline in 19th March 2020. Nick himself will receive the key to the hotel on May 2020 and restoration works and his plans will be implemented and expected to be completed by June 2021.
And if you are one of the higher pledgers (min £60 on Kickstarter), you will be rewarded a stay at the hotel between June 2020 to June 2021where you can get the first-hand experience of Nick's restoration journey and progress.
We think that this is the perfect way to spend your year-end ski holiday with a more unique and unforgettable experience aside from skiing (and we heard, Nick can even bring you out to hike around the glaciers and forage for mushrooms as part of your stay)!