Park Plaza Cardiff embraces green spaces

Hotel Sustinable Initiatives

Over the last few months two brilliant initiatives have enabled the Park Plaza hotel in Greyfriars Road, Cardiff to maximise the hotel’s green and sustainable spaces, creating a more pleasant experience for guests and giving something back to the local community.

Firstly, the new riverside herb garden at the hotel is flourishing, providing fresher flavours to the hotel’s AA Rosette awarded Laguna Kitchen and Bar and encouraging the head chef to turn to a more seasonal and local-orientated menu. Justin Llewellyn, Head Chef at the Park Plaza commented: “This is something the kitchen team have always wanted to do but being situated in such a central urban location it was never going to be easy. Fortunately for us we were able to utilise a slice of land along the river bank to the rear of the hotel and I’ve been really pleased to see that the herbs planted so far have been flourishing!

“It is our ambition to soon be operating a fully functioning kitchen garden. We may be a metropolitan hotel but that doesn’t mean we can’t operate under rural principles. The idea that we have grown and nurtured something from seed, to the final moment when a customer appreciates and enjoys the final dish that we present them is something that is very appealing to me.”

A variety of herbs, including classics like Oregano, Thyme, Sage and Tarragon, as well as more exotic choices including Vietnamese Coriander and Chocolate Mint, are being grown in large wooden planters alongside the river to the rear of the restaurant’s kitchens. And this herb garden is only the start. Justin comments, “Moving forward I have plans to implement seasonal menus, introduce more local suppliers, state provenance on the menus and take full advantage of the daily rotating menus to utilise hyper seasonal products like gulls eggs and white asparagus which are generally only available for one week of the year.”

Alongside this, the hotel are also working on a slightly larger green space project. Working alongside Groundwork Merthyr & Rhondda Cynon Taff, the hotel hopes to improve the urban green space, which forms part of the Old Docks Feeder Canal that passes through the hotel property. The area is heavily wooded with deciduous trees, as stipulated by the Marquis of Bute as a boundary to the city centre, and has recently been designated a Conservation Area with Preservation Orders being placed on many of the trees.

Groundwork Officers will supervise and train young people in a range of vocational and transferable skills while carrying out clearance of vegetation, removing unwanted materials and creating an Urban Oasis of native bulbs and shrubs. This will open up the area providing more light, enhance the biodiversity and improve visible wildlife habitat within the city showing that nature can fit in an urban landscape.  Alongside improving one of the cities green spaces, the project also provides valuable work experience opportunities for young people, who on completion of the project will be given a guaranteed interview for employment opportunities with Park Plaza.

Margaret Waters, General Manager, Park Plaza Hotel Cardiff said: “Groundwork carry out some really vital projects in the local area and we’re delighted to be able to support them in their work.  The hotel benefits from being located in a beautiful environment and we’re committed to ensuring it remains that way, both for guests and the local community.  In today’s competitive jobs market, work experience is crucial to helping candidates stand out from the crowd and as one of the city centre’s major employers, we believe it’s important to support volunteers through interview opportunities.”

For more information on sustainable initiatives when it comes to food and drink see our article on sustainable hotel kitchen initiatives

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