Ok, I admit it – it was my birthday early February. Unlike the past two years, we were at home! Now I love birthday celebrations, my husband would rather leave the country! Couple that with our, what seems like permanent search for ‘fun’ or different hotels, those with a good vibe, great music – or at least not ‘parlour’ music – and a good view, a short London stay fitted the bill. The Treehouse London Hotel, Langham Place, London popped up on my Google search. Ooooh, I thought, that looks interesting. Roof top bar, perfect! It was indeed a perfect stay, one of the best and fun hotels we have stayed in.

But you know me, I always like to look deeper …. this is what I found….

(Audio file intro above, if you want to hear my voice!)

Wherever we travel to, whichever hotel we stay in, I always want to know how sustainable it’s being. Are they just playing lip-service and doing the minimum – there has been a lot of ‘green-washing’ – or are they prepared to make that investment both financially and physically, towards sustainable tourism.

Are they prepared to discuss it with me? It’s a good indicator as to where they are on the above! The latter has proved more difficult with just a few exceptions – pleasingly the Treehouse hotel is one of those exceptions.

So let me dive right in.

The Expected Hotel Sustainability Stuff

Yes, they do all the things that you would kinda expect – or at least hope – from a hotel these days. Refillable toiletries, a reminder that your towels and sheets really don’t need washing everyday and at least glass bottles for water. These should all be a given, right?

Great start! Love all of the natural materials they use in this hotel, wooden signs and wooden room cards – a much lighter carbon footprint than metal and concrete.

Asking at the front desk if I could have a short meeting with whomever was responsible for their sustainability, my appointment was booked and I met their Director of Operations, Anastasia Schneider later that day. This is what she told me….

The whole ethos of the hotel brand is to be sustainable.

ANASTASIA SCHNEIDER, Director of Operations

Opened in 2019, pre-COVID, they were leading edge in this industry in London with regards to sustainability. Then we had COVID – the hotel was able to keep partially open, mainly for production companies actors. As we gradually returned to some sort of norm, they noticed that they were being contacted by the hotel industry schools, students asking if they could write dissertations on their sustainability practices because they were the first hotel in London to be sustainable! A GREAT indicator on how important this was becoming to that younger generation.

On top of that, with the energy crises and rising prices that followed after COVID, other hotels began to reach out to them, wanting to know what it takes to be sustainable, the penny was beginning to drop!

So what does it take to be sustainable?

Anastasia explained to me, you need to have a strong corporate team behind you. Hard work and investment are required. Fortunately, with sustainability at the core of the SH Hotels and Resorts group, this was a given. Long term the investment, both financial and the time needed, will pay off – and not just for the planet but for the hotels/hotel groups. I am sure that’s what the stumbling block is for many hotels to go deeper than just refillable toiletries.


Only in exceptional cases from my experiences, is guest drinking water dealt with sustainably. Another Place supply carafes of water in your fridge, you just ask for a refill, and Four Seasons Maldives with their on-island water purification plant are worth noting.

The Treehouse London hotel has funky water stations on each floor with a refillable bottle in your room. Brilliant idea and it got me to wondering how they managed to install these water stations, given its not a brand new building, and how complicated and/or costly it would be for other hotels to do the same? Well of course it helped that the building had a refurb for the 2019 opening, but Anastasia did say the plumbing was complex.

History lesson: originally the Queen’s Hall concert hall stood on this site – it was bombed in 1941. The Saint Georges Hotel was built next and operated until 2019. Gutted and renovated the Treehouse hotel is now on floors 9 – 14 with restaurants on the ground floor and I presume offices on the remainder.

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Cool hidden things you wouldn’t know they do that make them SUSTAINABLE!


Notice the hand written note in my fruit bowl

Ripped bed sheets! Bound to happen. Depending on their state, they are offered to team members and gifted to homeless shelters – but they also donate them to a local company, who turn them into the stationery that the hotel then uses for all of their hand written notes. Supports the local, small businesses, and takes recycling to a whole new level. Cool huh!


From planting trees in Hyde Park, picking trash up from the seafront at Brighton beach to local little clean ups, the staff volunteer and get involved in these and other activities for their direct community. Know what is different though? They respect their staff’s life/work balance and pay them while they are volunteering.

Mini bar:

Love the mugs

A challenging item to make sustainable. Why? They realised it’s not just about trying to provide healthy, organic, locally sourced, mini bar items, but you have to think about the packaging. Where does that come from, what is it made of, is it truly recyclable AND cost effective to supply? Then there is the coffee! Moving from Nespresso to Workshop Coffee with fully compostable capsules, albeit costs the hotel more, took time for some guests to accept. It’s the team members that have to deal with this pushback, which is why sustainability is always at the core of their training.

Keep going Treehouse London hotel, it’s worth it – hopefully us guests can pick up these changes and implement them at home too.

Food Waste and Sustainable Events/Gatherings

One of my pet hates! Love them, they have a food digester! Reducing their food waste to grey water through natural processes. And they were one of the first hotels to do that. Perfect.

Inside the Digester

Do you know how hard it is to give away food? So many rules, regulations and liabilities. This is something that Anastasia mention was a challenge that needs to be worked on – not by them, they are willing and able. Changes are required to be implemented for hotels to donate food that would otherwise be trashed unnecessarily, to for example, homeless shelters. Much of this issue is around liability it seems. Is it at the local councils or government level? If there is a solution that can be found, let’s find it!

They also invest in Foodprint! I had never heard of that.. so every trash bag is weighed, type of material is selected via an app i.e. crushed glass, recycled material or organics, and they can work out how much carbon savings they have made each month compared to the previous year, by reducing and reusing.

Sustainable Events/Gatherings: After running a successful ‘sustainable event’ pilot in the Rooftop bar, with a group that chose the Treehouse hotel for its sustainability, they will be rolling these out in the future. What are they? You choose your menu items for your event, but the staff/hotel controls the portions. They know which dishes take longer to prepare, and which are quick to deliver if extras are needed, so can manage quantities and food waste is kept to a minimum. You can even get a sustainability certificate! I know where my next event will be held.

The Engineering Team

Finding repurpose in everything we purchase


Anastasia is really proud of their internal engineering team. They fix and re-use everything they can. Repurposing broken furniture turning broken chairs into kitchen tables, wooden gifts for the young guests – they built a little chair for one of the children staying in the hotel. They really don’t throw anything away, from making picture frames for guest bedrooms down to the hoarding used by the builders during some construction, that has been kept to turn into furniture.

House Keeping

Last years project was re-sourcing and changing many of their suppliers, to ensure organic and good for the planet as much as is possible. That meant changes to toilet paper, kitchen towels and all the chemicals and cleaning products, to ones that were even more biodegradable including the packaging and shipping.

So what’s the catch?

Of course it’s not all plain sailing. These programmes take effort, planning and funding. You don’t always get things right straight away and there is always more work to be done.

Note to hotels working on their sustainability: More education about what sustainability really means is helpful. Anastasia uses the 17 UN sustainability goals to keep her team’s training fresh and prompt new ideas to help the environment. Every new team member has a mandatory hour’s sustainability training as part of their onboarding. It’s the little things that are implemented that count! Like sourcing locally rather than from places far away like China, reducing those air miles and supporting your local economies.

What’s Next?

Installing intelligent heating in the bedrooms and public areas i.e. corridors and restrooms – when you go in or out of your room it can sense that and adjust systems up or down as required, switching off TV’s, lights and aircon’s saving energy. A significant project, significant investment but being able to control all of these systems centrally, electronically, has huge benefits. They share best practices with other hotels and regularly meet as an industry group in order to improve sustainability in this industry sector.

Investment in Sustainability pays off in the long term

NOTE TO GUESTS: Don’t be frightened to suggest sustainability ideas and challenge the hotel or resort you are staying in. Establishments like the Treehouse London Hotel, welcome that. The more we keep asking, the more progress will be made. As a guest you can often see changes that can be simple to implement and have a significant positive impact on their sustainability.