Eco Villa in Christchurch isn’t just a place to stay, its a home from home where their vision inspires innovative ideas and eco-friendly principles.
Connecting with Nisha and Evan, it’s evident just how much their passion is taking shape in moulding Eco Villa to leading change and in becoming a community hub.
Can you give us the insiders scoop on what guests can expect from a stay at Eco Villa?
One of the most common comments we get from guests is that it’s a home from home and we strive to create a homely place that feels like your home! There are wonderful shared facilities and the private rooms are beautifully renovated featuring furniture made from recycled timber that came from the house during the renovation.
To give you the insider’s scoop here’s a first-hand experience from a guest review that so fittingly describes us:
“The Eco Villa is hard to describe because it doesn’t fit any of the ‘normal’ categories we’re used to, instead it cleverly combines the best features of all of them. I would say it’s a boutique luxury hostel for grown ups! Nisha and Evan are great hosts, the facilities are new and beautifully done. The location is ideal for exploring Christchurch and it’s good value for money. You have a private bedroom (ensuites are available) plus a fully fitted communal kitchen, dining room & lounge. Self-service breakfast is provided and there’s a lovely garden. I highly recommend this place, I hope it’s a concept that more people follow.”
What makes Eco Villa unique?
The Eco Villa has been designed to be more than just a place to stay. It’s full of inspirational ideas and unique features designed to showcase eco-friendly principles with the intention to inspire our guests. Whether it be collecting rain water, being inspired to grow a veggie garden, upcycle something or reducing waste there are lots of great projects and ideas that we hope will rub off on people! On top of that, it’s a fun place to stay where you can meet others and enjoy the many perks we offer – romantic outdoor baths under the stars or free bikes to use to explore the city!
Your future vision for Eco Villa how does this influence your daily decisions, especially with being a sustainably minded business?
Our vision is for the Eco Villa to become a community hub and a fantastic place to stay that inspires people. We will have a great meeting space that will become available soon for communities and businesses to rent. We’ll also run our own in-house events for the community with the intention to inspire others and share ideas! Ie. conscious movie nights, morning yoga sessions, cooking classes, showcasing local musicians and more!
Another vision for the Eco Villa is for it to become an educational tool. We hope to educate people on the decisions we’ve made and what we’ve implemented and to showcase eco-friendly ideas. Over time they’ll be little stories and signs about the Eco Villa and what we’ve implemented. We are planning an interactive website that guests will see when they log onto the internet sharing these ideas and practices.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for Eco Villa?
We both come from very different backgrounds but with the same goal to help others. Nisha has lived on eco-communities and off the grid for parts of her life and Evan has always been aligned that the idea of living without creating too much impact on the planet. He’s also got a real passion for saving power and money and keeps Nisha in line and living frugally and turning off light switches!
A huge source of inspiration comes from a self-development course we both teach whose aim is to contribute to a better world. We always knew that whatever we created had to have a positive impact on others and improve people’s lives. We feel there are many ways to contribute to a better world and improving living conditions and taking care of the planet is one of them. We both really love hosting and meeting people and we wanted to create a business that would contribute to the rebuild of the city and the Eco Villa grew out of our shared goals and purpose!
Sustainability – why do you think its important for businesses to showcase sustainable principles?
In business and in daily life I’ve noticed there is this bridge that you have to cross often where one direction is the most cost effective and the other is better for the environment and people. Sometimes the cost increase is minuscule and other times it can be a lot. It can be a challenge to keep making decisions that fit with our own ethics and what you feel is right.
I feel it’s important for businesses and people to make decisions that are better for the planet and for our future because our decisions and actions can have a greater impact than we realise. Some businesses are in a unique position where the decisions they make can have a huge ripple effect and influence many people. Sometimes it feels like the decisions we make won’t make a huge difference to others but you never know!
As an example, I read a Facebook post a few months ago about a cafe that decided to go dairy free after watching a youtube video about cruelty in dairy farms. We don’t drink cow’s milk but felt it was necessary to offer cow’s milk to guests as it is the norm. So I started buying organic cows milk (at least it’s organic I told myself!). I still didn’t feel that great about it because I know the huge impact the dairy industry has on the environment especially here in Canterbury and it’s been a hot topic lately!
Reading this article inspired me – I thought if a cafe can do it then so can we! So we now offer 3 different non-dairy alternatives – all organic and some homemade. I feel that by not offering cow’s milk we are making purchasing decisions that fit our ethos about being environmentally friendly and we also offering our guests a chance to try something new and consider what impact their purchasing decisions are having on the environment.
It’s been greatly received and turns out more than 50% of people don’t drink dairy anyway! A lot of guests have been inspired about going dairy-free after trying our delicious breakfast with affordable, homemade and yummy alternatives to a traditional dairy-based breakfast.
My hope for the future is that eventually things will balance out and we will pay the true cost for everything that we buy. Wouldn’t it be great if everything we bought had an environmental impact and proper wages included in its price? If environmental costs, recycling or a tariff for non-recyclable items were included in the price of a product then sustainable items would be cheaper than non-sustainable items. That would make the cost vs people/environment bridge an easy one to cross every day! Until then we’ll have to rely on educating ourselves and our conscience to make the best choices.
What do you love most about your community?
With the rebuild in full swing, we’ve noticed an awesome trend of new, ethical and eco-friendly entrepreneurs opening up different businesses in Christchurch. They tend to young and innovative (like us!) and have a real passion for contributing something with meaning to Christchurch City. There’s so much great stuff happening and new things opening every day it’s hard to keep up with all the changes! We are super excited to start networking and reaching out to others to create shared and collaborative projects that contribute to the community.