Living the hi life

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Living the hi life

The inventors of the concept of joie de vivre, the French, still have to get their heads around the joy of organic food and green living. But here and there small ventures are popping up that are putting France on the sustainability map! One of these is HI Hotel. Located in the elegant but slightly stuck-in-its-ways town of Nice, the edgy 4-star newcomer is signalling a different direction in luxury hotels on the Cote d'Azur. An independent hotel in an industry crowded with global chains, HI was from the outset intended to be a design hotel. The brainchild of promising French designer and Philippe Starck protégée, Matali Crasset, it is an eye-popping combination of bold colours and quirky features.blog-hihotel-2 During the building process in 2003, it evolved into an eco hotel almost organically (forgive the pun). The hotel's manager Laurence Shukor explains: “We chose paints that weren't chemical. We also used ecological resins on the floors. Whenever there was an option to choose something that wasn't harmful, we chose that direction." Energy-saving light bulbs, an organic canteen, biodegradable cutlery and crockery and bicycles for rent all helped the HI Hotel get the bronze status from Green Globe, a sustainability label that certifies companies in the travel and tourism industry.blog-hihotel-4