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By Charlotte Dollin, Virgin Limited Edition

Virgin Limited Edition is an award-winning collection of stunning luxury retreats set in some of the world’s most beautiful locations. Contrary to popular belief, luxury doesn’t always have to come at the expense of sustainability, and we’ve been working hard to make sure one doesn’t compromise the other. At a first glance you would be forgiven for thinking these unique retreats present problems for leading a sustainable lifestyle; Babylon Restaurant at The Roof Gardens is 100ft above the busy streets of London, Necker Island is a private island situated in the British Virgin Islands, Kasbah Tamadot is a mountain retreat in Morocco, Ulusaba is a private game reserve in South Africa, The Lodge is a chalet in Switzerland, Mahali Mzuri is a tented safari camp in Kenya’s Maasai Mara eco-system and Mont Rochelle is a Hotel and Mountain Vineyard in Franschhoek, South Africa. At Virgin Limited Edition we don’t see problems though, we see opportunities and love any excuse to get creative!

We’re fortunate to be so close to nature at all of our properties; even Babylon restaurant sits above 1.5acres of Gardens in Kensington! Our locations make our teams even more passionate about protecting the area they live in and supporting it in any way they can. We know just how important it is to take care of the environment, and we are extremely sensitive to the impact our properties may have on the local communities within which we operate, so every decision we make we think about the impact we are causing. This includes working to protect the wildlife and habitat as well as community projects.

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To coincide with the start of southern hemisphere spring in September, the Pride ’n Purpose and Ulusaba teams are gearing up for the start of Arbor Month, the perfect opportunity to go beyond the usual safari adventure and help change the lives of others. This annual initiative is a great way for guests to become involved with many of the local communities living around the reserve. During their stay guests will be encouraged to buy and help plant a fruit tree in the local village of Dumphries. The overall mission is to improve quality of life by giving low-income communities fruit trees to plant near their homes. To ensure each guest stays involved with this project once they have returned home, the Pride ’n Purpose team will make sure to keep each individual updated on the progress of their tree and the other projects happening within the local community.

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As well as supporting local communities all of our properties are fortunate to be able to source the finest local ingredients and have their own specialities! When creating our menus our drive is ‘what’s in season?’, ‘what can we source locally?’ and ‘what is great quality?’. In its idyllic setting in the British Virgin Islands, surrounded by beautiful crystal clear waters it is no surprise that Necker Island scored an impressive 100% for its use of ocean sustainable fish. Necker Island sources seasonally available fish from farms with sustainable certifications so guests can be assured of the freshest fish whilst being able to enjoy views of the stunning habitat. Kasbah Tamadot places special emphasis on sourcing local produce, even using local salt, herbs, olive oil and growing their own apples, vegetables and olives. Throughout the summer The Lodge makes the most of the apricots that are in season to make jam which sees them through the winter. You can learn more about The Lodge’s sustainable efforts (and their love of cheese) in this video.

And it doesn’t just stop at the food; Mont Rochelle is in a unique position to be able to serve a wide range of high quality wines from its own vineyard, as well as from nearby vineyards, supporting local businesses and economies. Closer to home in London, Babylon makes use of freshly grown herbs  from The Roof Gardens  and uses local suppliers such as Sipsmiths Gin to create delicious cocktails. Why not try our Gin and Rhubarb Sour for yourself:

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Gin and Rhubarb Sour:

A perfectly balanced, classic gin sour with a subtle rhubarb undertone. Rhubarb infused Sipsmith gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup all shaken together with egg white. Served with a Dandelion and Burdock sherbet rim.

Recipe:

  • 50ml Rhubarb infused Sipsmith Gin
  • 20ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 10ml Simple Sugar Syrup
  • ½ Egg White
  • Rim of Dandelion and Burdock Sherbet

Method:

  • For this recipe we have used a Dandelion and Burdock sherbet, however, any of your childhood favourite sherbets (we were thinking Dib-Dabs!) will work equally as well!
  • Grab a martini glass and run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of the glass. Dip the glass into the sherbet and it should stick to the rim of the glass.
  • Add all the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake hard until the outside of the shaker becomes a little frosty.
  • Strain the mix into the sherbet rimmed glass and serve.

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