Sustainable hotels with Inkaterra, and a sustainable lunch in South Ken

Inkaterra's Reserva Amazonica, PeruI went for a lovely lunch with a Peruvian hotel group called Inkaterra today, at a restaurant called Bumpkin in South Kensington.

Inkaterra has some of the most exciting, sustainable hotels in Peru. It all started in the 1970s with Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica right in the Amazon jungle. Next were La Casona in Cusco, part of the super-luxury Relais & Chateaux collection, and Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel right by Machu Picchu. Inkaterra has now launched another sister brand, ‘by Inkaterra’, which is slightly more affordable but retains the same eco credentials.

The hotel group has its very own research arm, the InkaTerra Association, and employs its own scientists – guests can help out too while staying there.

All the guides or ‘interpreters’ employed to give wildlife tours are local, and real experts. I know what a difference this can make – when I went backpacking in Peru we got totally ripped off. The guides who took us into the rainforest didn’t have a clue what they were looking at and I had to point out wildlife to my friend.

Across its various properties, Inkaterra has been responsible for the discovery of many new species of frogs and orchids and planted countless trees and restored other habitats. Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel holds the record for the highest number of native orchid species found in their natural environment in the world!

With all this talk of sustainability, Bumpkin seemed a particularly appropriate choice for the press lunch – all of their produce comes from right here in the UK (except its olive oil – which we really do struggle to produce in this climate, apparently), right down to seasonal cocktails. I enjoyed a lovely duck breast with spring onion and tarragon cake. This does go against my Meat Free Monday efforts, but I didn’t have meat at all over the weekend so I reckon Sir Paul would forgive me?

There must be birds in that there courtyardInspired by the lovely, locally-sourced salads on the menu at Bumpkin I came home this evening and vowed to have one more go at growing something for myself on the balcony. I know what I got wrong last time – the soil level was too low, so the lettucey shoots had to struggle too high to reach the sunlight and went all limp and wobbly and died. So I’ve topped the soil right up, and also sown just a fine row of seeds, as opposed to chucking in the whole packet like I did last time (also wrong, it would appear).

If it doesn’t work this time, those bloody troughs are going in the bin.

In other balcony news, we most definitely have some birds visiting the feeder now as the sunflower hearts have almost all gone. Wildlife triumph!

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