- Benjamin John
Story of CGH Earth and their core principles
I would like to take you all to the bustling airport town of Willington Island in the late 1960's where a restaurant was taking shape into the present day Casino Hotel, Willington Island. The property was opened in 1966 with 32 rooms and a restaurant. That is where the story began, the story of a present-day tourism culture in Kerala, the story of a million smiles. As a tour operator based in Kochi, our association with CGH Earth has not been just business, but a lot more than that.
A decade passed and Casino Hotel was in its full swing. A letter from Cochin travelled all the way to Mumbai with the message “Son I want you to come back and assist me in business”. The letter was to Jose Dominic, a chartered accountant then, working with an accounting firm and enjoying the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai. Half-heartedly, the son comes back to Cochin and joins the family business.
A painting of the Casino Hotel, by Morris Katz
A decade passes away and, the business was flourishing in its own course. That was when an offer comes to Casino Hotel, an invitation, to visit an inhabited Island in the Lakshadweep islands, two fifty kilometres away from the Malabar coast. The call went to prominent hotel chains across the country. The group of hoteliers was to fly, all the way from Cochin to Agatti, from where they would visit the Island called Bangaram. The idea was to use the island for tourism and to know the viewpoint of the industry stakeholders. All of them wanted their own time for feasibility checks and market study. That was when Mr Dominic said, if offered the resort will be commissioned within three months. That made Casino Hotel win the tender and drive the resort, the following year, that sowed the first seeds of what we call CGH core values.
The whole agenda was to build local huts with local materials without disturbing the ecosystem of the place - no trees cut, no massive constructions, employ local men and get the best out of nature without causing any harm.
CGH earth has adopted what they call, non-negotiable core values: respect for the environment, local community and adoption of the local ethos.
It was these core values, that made Bangaram remain as Bangaram, in all sense. It was the beauty of the islands that was employed and offered to the discerning traveller. During those days, with limited air connectivity, reaching Bangaram was a terrible task. But still people came in, so much was the beauty of Bangaram. This was when the nearest Island groups of Maldives had direct connectivity with Europe and had an inventory of 8000 rooms.
From the lessons learnt in Bangaram, the team moved to the Cardamom Hills of Kerala, Periyar. The group erected a 40 room property in 1991 and named it "Spice Village". It was very much like a tribal village, places similar to that of the Mannan tribal community, native to Periyar. In no time the Spice Village came up and, they ventured into the next property at the backwaters of Kumarakom. They followed traditional Kerala Architecture this time and named it “Coconut Lagoon”. Next in the line was the “Spice Coast Houseboats” and the beach property of Mararikulam that resembled a local fishermen village and named it “Marari Beach Resort”. And finally “Brunton Boatyard” at Fort Cochin, that very much resembled the old colonial structures around.
Subsequently, other properties in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were opened. The group was rebranded as CGH Earth, that stands for Casino Group of Hotel, as well as Clean, Green, and Healthy and Earth stands for being Eco-friendly.
The group found new horizons, traversing into Ayurveda when 'Kalari Kovilakom' was introduced. A palace in Palakkad, where the traditions of Ayurveda is explored in its real sense. The length of the stay usually starts from twenty-one days. 'Kalari Rasayana' in South Kerala also follows the same ideology.
The term holiday is being redefined; it has come a long way from experiential holidays to something that could be termed as transformative holidays, where people visit a destination, pick up elements that transform their lives and go back from where they came.
If you wish to plan a beautiful holiday experience clubbing multiple CGH Earth properties, we would be more than happy to assist you with the same. You can send you request to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://greenearthtrails.com/tours they will be more than happy to assist you.