SINGAPORE – Luxury resort operator Banyan Tree Holdings will be operating an eco-friendly resort, including elevated cabins and treehouses in Mandai Precinct.
This will be the first time visitors to the integrated nature and wildlife destination will have the opportunity to stay over in a full-service accommodation, said Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) and Banyan Tree Holdings in a joint press statement issued on Wednesday (Oct 11). The Singapore Zoo already offers overnight camps.
MPH group chief executive Mike Barclay said at a press conference on Wednesday morning that the resort will have a variety of room types that can target visitors looking for budget to exclusive options.
Executive chairman of Banyan Tree Ho Kwon Ping added that while people generally associated the Banyan Tree with expensive resorts, the upcoming resort in Mandai has the potential to offer different price points to remain accessible to Singaporeans and foreign visitors.
By 2023, the Mandai area - which currently houses the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari - will be expanded to include the relocated Bird Park and a new Rainforest Park. In particular, the Bird Park and Rainforest Park are scheduled to open by 2020 and 2021, respectively.
MPH and Banyan Tree said in their press statement that the upcoming resort will provide "an immersive stay close to nature" by offering activities that would inspire visitors to care for biodiversity and sustainable behaviour.
The activities include guided nature walks, native wildlife spotting tours, recycling workshops and educational movie screenings.
This project, which will have up to 400 rooms, will be the first resort to be operated by Banyan Tree in Singapore after running 43 resorts in 25 countries in the last 23 years. It currently operates a spa in Marina Bay Sands. The operator was selected from the eight who had competed for the project.
Construction of the resort is expected to begin in 2020 after selecting a design partner next year. The project will take about two and a half years to complete.
Aiming to be the "most environmentally progressive resort" in Singapore, Mr Barclay of MPH added that the resort will adopt environmentally-friendly and sustainable best practices.
Sited on a 4.6 ha plot of land - about the size of six football fields - on the eastern end of the Mandai Precinct, the design and development of the resort will be based on the principles and parameters of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
A 9-member multi-disciplinary working group led by chairman of the World Green Building Council Tai Lee Siang has also been formed to provide expert inputs in the areas of design and sustainable operations.
Part of the land is currently occupied by existing back-of-house facilities for the existing wildlife parks, such as a sewage treatment plant, animal quarantine facilities and staff quarters. These facilities will be de-commissioned and land cleared for the resort.
The development will be of low-intensity and built sensitively around existing vegetation, respecting existing tree canopies and the natural topography of the area, said Mr Barclay. This means the building will be capped at 4 storeys and below 21m, under the tree canopies.
A 15m wide strip of land along the edge of the Upper Seletar Reservoir will be set aside as a buffer of retained vegetation. The site will also be designed such that local wildlife can move about and to its habitat.
There will also be specific measures to control lighting and noise emissions while the resort will adopt sustainable designs to reduce and reuse energy, waste and water. This includes a design that provides natural ventilation and daylight, the use of renewable energy sources and materials with lower carbon footprint.
Guests in the resort will also be encouraged to adopt environmentally-friendly practices, such as reducing energy and water consumption in their rooms, recycling, and behaving appropriately around local wildlife.