Revamped from an old wood-burning power station, the 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa set on the edge of Knysna’s Thesen Island’s tranquil marina, is arguably one of South Africa’s most unusual hotels. A fascinating blend of history and innovation, the luxury hotel demonstrates with great success the seamless merging of historical and contemporary values with green practices and sustainability.
Today, the Turbine is heralded as an icon of Knysna’s heritage, social, economic, ecological integration and environmental sustainability.
Since its inception, the Turbine has made every effort to be as eco-friendly as possible and has always been committed to responsible and sustainable tourism. That it has maintained a relatively light footprint over the years is largely due to the range of energy and water-saving measures incorporated and implemented. These include:
In a history-making move in December 2022 the Turbine entered a new phase in electricity generation. 90 Solar panels were installed which feed into the hotel’s electricity supply reducing Eskom usage and lowering the hotel’s carbon footprint. Energy-efficient air conditioning and fridge-freezer systems and appliance timers have since been integrated and also, in a bid to optimise energy usage further, an energy monitoring system that tracks the electricity consumption. This, according to the Turbine’s general manager Kate Christie, resulted in “the entire air-conditioning system being revamped, ensuring efficiency without compromising on comfort,”.
The Turbine Spa with an impressive range of beauty, body massage treatments, facials, manicures, pedicures and grooming services, proudly partners with BABOR and TheraVine™ making use of their eco-friendly range of health and skincare products.
The commitment to sustainability extends to the culinary experience with head chef Greg Coleman, who ensures that the hotel’s cuisine follows a farm-to-table and ocean-to-table philosophy. “We source our fish locally from two suppliers that are part of SASSI, and our organic herbs and salads are supplied by local farmers. Our organic food waste goes to a local pig farmer, we serve water in recyclable glass bottles and, as my hobby is beekeeping, we use my honey as much as possible”.
The Turbine is a disabled-friendly hotel. There is a disabled toilet downstairs and a bedroom designed to accommodate any disabled guest.
In harmony with its surroundings, The Turbine successfully marries luxury, an immersive experience and sustainability in a way that respects both nature and discerning travellers.