It is not easy to find an eco-friendly place to stay in Rome. With more than 12 million tourists visiting Rome every year the Italian capital is hardly bothered with providing green stays. That is why I always think of The Beehive Hotel as a real treasure for the conscious traveller. This stylish, budget, eco-conscious hotel/hostel is owned by Linda and Steve, an American couple, who packed up their apartment in Los Angeles and came to Rome 16 years ago. They describe the Beehive as “a unique cross between a budget hotel and an upscale hostel”. I asked Linda about their green philosophy and this is what she said.
What makes The Beehive green and eco-friendly?
We do all that we can within the boundaries of our own facilities to be as eco-friendly as we can. Our housekeepers use only eco-friendly cleaning products including many times just plain vinegar and bicarbonate. We do the “raccolta differenziata” and separate out the trash and have bins in our lounge for guests to recycle. We use recycled toilet paper, hand towels and napkins. Our soaps for guests are natural handmade Italian soaps and in the shared showers there is a special honey based shampoo and shower gel is by a small cosmetic company in Viterbo.
We do not change linens and towels daily, but only every 3 days for stays of 4 or more days. We use low consumption light bulbs when we can – so unfortunately, people think our rooms are dark when they first enter, but the light does get brighter the longer it stays on. We have motion sensors for several of the lights in our common area spaces. Our cafe is vegetarian and we use mostly organic ingredients. Our garden provides us with grapes, figs and herbs. How is The Beehive different from other hostels/hotels in Rome?
I think we are different because we’re small and personal. The Beehive is very much a personal business – it is us – my husband Steve, myself and a handful of long time dedicated staff members so you are dealing with human beings. It is time consuming, but we personally respond to all emails and requests. We take time to give thoughtful and helpful information whether we have space or not. We care about our guests, but do expect the same respect in kind. Ours is a calm and relaxing place to stay. We do encourage our guests to be social, but we do not provide a “party club” atmosphere. The Beehive is a reflection of ourselves – this is the reason why it is eco-friendly – it is not a gimmick, it is how we personally live our lives.
I have stayed in The Beehive and what amazed me was how relaxed and tranquil the place was despite being just a few steps away from the Termini train station. I loved the attention to details that is rarely found in budget hotels. Linda and Steve hand pick every single piece of furniture and created a great eclectic interior. Many pieces are custom made by their creative friends who work with recycled materials to create wardrobes, desks and luggage racks. The garden walls (yes, there is a beautiful peaceful garden!) were painted by a local street artist Gio Pistone. Linda and Steve organise organic dinners and storytelling events on a regular basis but not to make extra money. They strongly believe in community, connecting and collaboration and have created a warm open space where everyone is welcome. “Because it is so personal sometimes we make decisions that are perhaps not the wisest thing financially for a budget place, but that we really believe in such as having a cafe with organic food and fair trade coffee and teas instead of a packaged breakfast with Nescafe cappuccino”, says Linda. How often would you hear words like these nowadays?
Photos by: Green Holiday Italy, The Beehive Hotel.