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Sustainability Commitment HCP

  • CEO Message

At Hotel Casa Palmela, we share the conviction that brands operating in the luxury segment have an increased responsibility regarding good social, environmental, and economic behaviors. We consider this responsibility to be a significant strategic opportunity to influence our customers and partners in adopting sustainable choices. For us, the concept of luxury does not involve excessive consumption and waste generation in any way. We believe it is possible to provide a top-level experience while maintaining an unwavering commitment to social and environmental responsibility, always thinking about the community we are part of.

Thus, we adopt a proactive stance in identifying and managing the sustainability risks we face. We recognize the importance of intensifying our efforts and collaborating with other stakeholders globally. In this sense, we use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a guiding framework for the actions we undertake throughout this decade.

Our primary goal is to integrate sustainable practices into all aspects of our business, from managing natural resources to relationships with local communities. We aim to have a positive impact on the environment and the communities we interact with, both directly and indirectly. For us, this approach is not just a responsibility but a commitment rooted in our vision for the future and our mission as a company.

Joana Guedes

The Hotel

Established in 2015, Hotel Casa Palmela is part of the Once Upon a House (OUH) group and is a family-oriented project committed to conserving a heritage that spans over 400 years, remaining in the same family for about 200 years and classified as a Municipal Interest Heritage.

It is a 5-star hotel, a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World chain, and located entirely within the Arrábida Natural Park, just a few kilometers from the city of Setúbal and localities such as Aldeia Grande, Aldeia do Grelhal, and Aldeias de Azeitão.

Due to the rules imposed by the General Directorate of Heritage regarding classified buildings, it underwent interventions of little relevance to comply with the requirements necessary for the operation of a hotel unit.

The rules and norms of the Arrábida Natural Park were also respected in order to maintain the total natural integrity that environmental protection areas demand.

With twenty-one rooms and five cottages, it can accommodate up to 68 people simultaneously and has a permanent team of around 45 direct employees who work in shifts, ensuring a high-quality experience in all the services it offers.

A restaurant, two swimming pools, a massage center, and an equestrian center are some of the visible infrastructures that allow guests and passers-by to enjoy a personalized experience in the Arrábida Natural Park.

The hotel’s location unequivocally contributed to the creation of a concept that allowed it to stand out from other hotel units and offer distinct experiences, thus creating its own personality that emphasizes authenticity.

On the one hand, it is a hotel that offers nature and adventure tourism experiences, focusing on outdoor activities. Here, guests can experience the thrills of horseback riding, mountain activities, and wildlife observation. On the other hand, due to the genuineness of the region, it challenges guests to visit and experience local activities, many of which are still carried out in a traditional way. From cheese making to tile production, passing through bread making, and activities such as fishing, shepherding, among others.

With a predominantly foreign occupancy, from countries such as the USA and Canada, as well as European markets, mostly France, Belgium, England, or the Netherlands, Hotel Casa Palmela is, therefore, a tourism operator that goes beyond the concept of bed and breakfast, inviting its guests and other visitors to consciously explore the region and truly experience the local inhabitants’ way of life, undoubtedly contributing to the region’s economy sustainably.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

In Nature

Situated within the Arrábida Natural Park, our environmental responsibility is reflected across the 70 hectares of the property, adhering to the most stringent rules for preserving fauna and flora set for this protected area.

Forest cleaning, stream and firebreak maintenance, wildlife protection, and environmental awareness campaigns are regularly conducted by teams of specialists hired for this purpose.

In Hotel Operations

Since recycling is one of the fundamental pillars of good sustainable practice, the transition from private property to hotel was made by minimizing the impact this operation entails, reusing not only furniture and spaces, thus avoiding over-dimensioned transformations or complex interventions in the environment.

Beyond the Obvious

In addition to the obvious conscious relationship with nature and natural resources, we also understand sustainability as something that includes the importance of the cultural, social, and economic reality of the community to which we belong. That’s why we not only implement measures such as the sensible use of resources, but also support the local economy, favoring small businesses in the region, such as the baker who brings fresh bread every morning or the master potters who provide many pieces used for decoration and service.

In terms of human resources, hiring processes are conducted prioritizing those who live closest to the unit, thus contributing to reducing the inherent environmental impact of commuting and allowing employees to spend minimal time on transportation so that the work-home/home-work commute has no significant impact on leisure time and the time dedicated to each one’s family.

Through partnerships with social support associations in the region, Hotel Casa Palmela integrates into its workforce collaborators who, for special reasons, have encountered difficulties in naturally entering the job market.

There are several success stories of employees who, under special integration programs and after a period of internship and adaptation, have become part of the hotel team with a work contract, rights, and functions that enable career progression, security, and financial independence.

Ethics and Conduct at Hotel Casa Palmela: Promoting an Exemplary Work Environment

At Hotel Casa Palmela, ethics and conduct are the pillars that sustain both our relationships with our employees and our guests. We are firmly committed to promoting an exemplary work environment where respect, transparency, and equality are absolute priorities.

We value and celebrate the diversity of our team, recognizing that each member contributes uniquely to our success. We promote a culture of inclusion where all voices are heard and respected, regardless of origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

We maintain open and transparent communication, encouraging constructive dialogue and providing channels for our employees to express their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. We believe that candid feedback exchange is essential for individual and organizational growth.

We are committed to offering equal opportunities to all employees, promoting a policy of merit and fairness in all our recruitment, promotion, and remuneration decisions. We prioritize the safety and well-being of our team, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

In addition to caring for our employees, we also assume social and environmental responsibility in our operations. We implement sustainable practices to minimize our impact on the environment and contribute positively to the local communities where we operate.

In summary, at Hotel Casa Palmela, ethics and conduct are not just words but values that guide every aspect of our operation. We are committed to creating a work environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to provide the best possible service to our esteemed guests.



Hotel Casa Palmela is committed to promoting sustainable development and contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This report highlights the hotel’s initiatives and practices regarding each of these goals.

Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls

With the aim of eliminating gender discrimination and violence, we are committed to creating a workplace free from gender discrimination and violence. We participate in awareness campaigns and support organizations working to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable, and Modern Energy for All

To ensure universal access to sustainable energy services, we are committed to adopting renewable energy sources in our operations and promoting energy efficiency.

Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment, and Decent Work for All

To sustain inclusive economic growth, Casa Palmela Hotel supports local economic growth by offering employment opportunities, promoting training and capacity building, and collaborating with initiatives aimed at the sustainable economic development of the region.

Building Resilient Infrastructure, Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization, and Fostering Innovation

To develop sustainable and resilient infrastructures, we invest in sustainable construction practices and promote the use of eco-friendly materials. We collaborate with local authorities for the development of infrastructures that support economic growth and human well-being.

Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

We adopt waste management practices, promoting the reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials. Additionally, we encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable practices in their operations.

Protecting, Restoring, and Promoting Sustainable Use of Terrestrial Ecosystems

To ensure the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, Casa Palmela Hotel adopts sustainable land management practices and promotes the conservation of local biodiversity. We actively participate in reforestation initiatives and ecosystem restoration to preserve the surrounding nature.


Casa Palmela Hotel reaffirms its commitment to sustainable development, taking an active role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the UN.

We will persist in continuously improving our practices and partnerships, aiming to generate a positive impact on both local communities and the environment. Through concrete and responsible actions, we seek to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future for all.

We are committed to adopting measures that promote the conservation of natural resources, respect for biodiversity, and support for the socio-economic development of surrounding communities. Additionally, we aim to establish meaningful partnerships with local organizations to maximize our positive impact and strengthen community ties.

At Casa Palmela Hotel, we view sustainability not only as an obligation but as an intrinsic commitment to our vision of responsible hospitality. We will continue to advance with determination, working tirelessly to build a fairer, more equitable, and environmentally conscious future.

It’s a journey towards a better world for present and future generations.



Located in the environmental protection area of the Arrábida Natural Park, Casa Palmela Hotel recognizes the vital importance of preserving and protecting the environment. Our sustainability policy reflects our commitment to adopting responsible practices and minimizing the environmental impact that this activity entails.



Aware of the importance of controlled energy consumption, Casa Palmela Hotel has adopted behaviors and equipment for energy control and management to minimize waste without compromising guest comfort, staff, and overall operation.

Twilight Sensors Lighting System:

We have installed lighting systems with twilight sensors outside and in some common areas to optimize energy usage, automatically adjusting the intensity of lighting according to ambient light. This not only reduces electricity consumption during periods of low activity but also increases the hotel’s energy efficiency and minimizes resource waste. This practice contributes to the preservation of the natural environment around the hotel, avoiding light pollution, and demonstrates our commitment to sustainable practices.

Energy Cut Cards:

Our hotel provides guests with energy cut cards to promote electricity consumption efficiency in rooms. This initiative allows guests to switch off electrical devices when not in use, contributing to a significant reduction in energy consumption and the conservation of the region’s natural resources.

LED Lamps:

We prioritize the use of LED lamps in all our facilities, as opposed to high-consumption lamps. LED lamps are known for their energy efficiency and durability, helping us reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions while providing necessary quality lighting.

Heat Pump for Refrigeration Chamber:

Our concern for energy efficiency also extends to cooling other spaces. We use heat pumps in the refrigeration chamber, ensuring precise temperature control with reduced energy consumption, in line with the environmental conservation principles of the Arrábida Natural Park.


We invest in solar energy as a renewable source for domestic hot water heating. Our solar panels convert sunlight into thermal energy, providing a sustainable source of hot water and allowing us to eliminate 100% of our gas dependency, contributing to the reduction of our carbon footprint.


We commit to not using fossil fuels, such as gas, in our operations. We opt to use exclusively electricity, a cleaner and renewable energy source, aligned with the environmental preservation goals of the Arrábida Natural Park.


Electric Car for Short Trips:

For short trips, we provide an electric car as part of our vehicle fleet. This measure not only reduces exhaust emissions but also promotes the use of clean and sustainable transportation technologies, preserving air quality in the region.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations:

To encourage the use of electric vehicles, we offer charging stations for both guests and passersby. This infrastructure aims to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable mobility in the region.


Filtered Local Tap Water:

We choose to offer filtered local tap water in our facilities instead of bottled and transported water. In addition to reducing the amount of plastic waste, this measure promotes water resource conservation and helps protect water quality in the region.

Pool Water Treatment with Salt:

Treating pool water with salt offers significant environmental benefits compared to traditional chlorine use. The electrolysis process converts salt into natural chlorine, eliminating the need for additional chemicals and reducing the amount of toxic substances in the water. Additionally, this practice can save water, as treated water replacement is significantly less frequent.

Irrigation Water:

Garden irrigation is done in a controlled manner through smart irrigation systems, constantly monitored by human resources to control its necessity and detect any anomalies or failures that may lead to inefficient consumption. Irrigation water comes exclusively from wells on the property without the use of any chemical treatments.


Waste Recycling and Composting:

We have implemented a comprehensive waste treatment program at our facilities, including the separation of different types of waste such as paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Additionally, we encourage composting of organic waste, utilizing restaurant food scraps to produce natural fertilizer for our garden and vegetable patch.

Refillable Consumables and Amenities:

We prioritize the use of refillable consumables and amenities in our operations, thus avoiding packaging waste and reducing our waste production. This includes offering personal hygiene products in refillable dispensers and using returnable packaging whenever possible.

Utilization of Garden Products and Composting:

In our garden, we utilize all products grown in the restaurant, ensuring a sustainable cycle of production and consumption. Additionally, we use composting to turn organic waste into natural fertilizer, thus closing the nutrient cycle and minimizing our environmental impact.


In-House Production of Food and Aromatic Products:

Our hotel produces a variety of foods and aromatic products, including tea, oregano, honey, jams, cookies, lavender, and various vegetables. All this production is done in a natural environment and according to the seasonality of the products. This initiative not only reduces our carbon footprint by minimizing food transportation but also promotes sustainable agriculture and the use of fresh, local ingredients in our cuisine.


Promotion of Native Flowers and Plants:

We value and promote native flowers and plants found on our property, over species bought from outside the region. This not only preserves local biodiversity but also promotes healthy and resilient ecosystems within our environment.

Sustainable Agriculture and Garden:

We commit to replacing chemical products with environmentally friendly alternatives in our agriculture and gardening. We use organic methods and sustainable farming practices to maintain our gardens and vegetable patch, thus protecting soil health and the region’s biodiversity.

Circular Economy:

We have implemented a circular economy approach in our operations, where X% of products are locally sourced, and Y% of human resources are locally hired. This not only strengthens the local economy by supporting producers and communities in the region but also reduces our carbon footprint by minimizing the transportation of goods and personnel.


Projects for Protection and Conservation of Wildlife Habitats:

We are committed to implementing projects for the protection and conservation of wildlife habitats on our property, with a special focus on preserving the Greater Horseshoe Bat, a native species of the Arrábida region. We work closely with local experts and conservation organizations to identify and implement protection measures, such as installing shelters and creating suitable feeding and breeding areas for these species.

In summary, at Casa Palmela Hotel, we are committed to integrating sustainability into every aspect of our operation, from the local economy to wildlife protection. By adopting these measures, we seek not only to offer an exceptional experience to our guests but also to contribute to the preservation and conservation of the unique natural environment of the Arrábida region.

Explanation and Interpretation Process of Environmental Conservation Rules:

While strolling through the property, we offer our guests an explanatory and interpretive process of environmental conservation rules. This initiative aims to increase awareness of the importance of environmental preservation and provide guidance on how to interact responsibly with nature. Guests are encouraged to respect natural habitats, minimize environmental impact, and contribute to the protection of local biodiversity.

On-Property Guest Experiences:

We offer a variety of experiences for our guests on the property, providing activities and entertainment that avoid travel and reduce the environmental impact associated with the use of fossil fuels for longer trips. Our guests can enjoy nature trails, cooking classes with local ingredients, wellness activities, and more, all within the tranquil environment of the hotel and consciously sustainable manner.


Through the lens of sustainability, the values of Casa Palmela Hotel reflect a profound commitment to environmental preservation, social responsibility, and sustainable development. Some of the hotel’s fundamental values in this context are:

Respect for the Environment:

Casa Palmela Hotel values and respects the environment, recognizing the importance of conserving natural resources and protecting biodiversity. The hotel’s practices reflect a commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of its operations and preserving local ecosystems.

Social Responsibility:

The hotel acknowledges its responsibility to positively contribute to the local community. This includes supporting social initiatives, promoting education and local development, as well as creating employment opportunities and collaborating with local suppliers.

Transparency and Integrity:

Transparency and integrity are essential values for Casa Palmela Hotel in the context of sustainability. The hotel seeks to communicate its sustainable practices and initiatives clearly and transparently, maintaining high ethical standards in all its operations.

Sustainable Innovation:

The hotel values innovation as a tool to promote sustainability. It constantly seeks new solutions and technologies that can improve its environmental, social, and economic practices, aiming to achieve increasingly sustainable performance.

Commitment to Quality:

Casa Palmela Hotel’s commitment to quality extends to its sustainable approach. It seeks to offer a high-quality experience to its guests while maintaining its commitment to sustainability in all its operations.

These core values guide the actions and decisions of Casa Palmela Hotel, demonstrating a firm commitment to sustainability in all areas of its operations.


In the scope of Casa Palmela Hotel’s sustainable responsibility, we are committed to implementing a series of initiatives and actions aimed at promoting sustainable development and positively contributing to the environment and local communities. Here are some ideas and objectives we want to achieve in the future:

Reducing Environmental Impact:

Implement measures to reduce energy and water consumption in all areas of the hotel, through the adoption of more efficient technologies and raising awareness among staff and guests.

Expand waste management, including the implementation of comprehensive recycling programs and reducing food waste.

Conservation of Biodiversity and Preservation of Natural Resources:

Develop and maintain green areas within the hotel, creating habitats for local flora and fauna.

Collaborate with conservation organizations and participate in reforestation programs and protection of local ecosystems.

Promotion of Local Economy and Sustainable Tourism:

Give priority to purchasing local and regional products, thus supporting the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint associated with goods transportation.

Offer tourist experiences that value the culture, traditions, and gastronomy of the region, contributing to the sustainability of local tourism.

Community Engagement:

Establish partnerships with local institutions, such as schools and community associations, to promote environmental education and social responsibility among local residents.

Offer volunteer opportunities for hotel staff, encouraging them to engage in community and conservation projects.

Certifications and Recognition:

Work to obtain internationally recognized sustainability certifications, such as Green Key or ISO 14001, as a way to validate our efforts and commitment to sustainability.

Participate in awards and competitions related to sustainability, aiming to gain recognition for our work and inspire others in the hotel industry to follow our example.

These are just some of the many ideas and objectives we have for the future of Casa Palmela Hotel in terms of sustainable responsibility. We are committed to turning these ideas into tangible and meaningful actions, thus contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive world.