Mar de Fulles: A paradise in Sierra del Espadán

The team and great family of Barrio La Pinada knew first hand Mar de Fulles, a project of social and ecological tourism which is located in “Sierra del Espadán”. From Mar de Fulles, they explained to us that ” Everything began with an intention: to find a place where the landscape is preserved as it was in its origins and nature speaks for itself ”

The project was born with the purpose of generating sustainable tourism through the establishment of an ecological hotel. They shared with us their innovative vision of social entrepreneurship in which they proposed the idea that “everything should be felt, touched and observed as if the soil were being trodden on for the first time. We wanted to develop a rural tourism experience with minimal environmental impact”.

To find the right location they went through many places, until they found the ideal, located in  Sierra de Espadán. His team walked through terraces and almond groves to create a trail called “Arbolado Singular”, a trail that runs around the hotel with more than 30 secret corners,  creating a place for nature lovers, respecting the forest and native fauna that grows around us.

The idea of establishing a green hotel comes from the interaction with the Greenpeace volunteer group in Valencia. During the meetings the promoters of Mar de Fulles understood that the environmental awareness and education work that they were doing in the city was very limited. Then came the idea of creating a place in the middle of nature where once you know and enjoy the ambience, then you can value and respect the environment.

One of its greatest achievements is the use of nature and their own facilities as an example of social and environmental awareness.

During the meeting they told us that the development was as exciting as complex. Mar de Fulles is the result of the collaboration of people who believed and were involved in the project. At first, they had limited economic resources, but cooperation was key to turning this weakness into a strength and link between the group. This deficit forced them to replace simple and ordinary solutions with ingenious ones, seeking greater efficiency and sustainability, achieving the incorporation of suppliers who became collaborators or partners in the project.

Sustainability and eco-design

The fundamental base which the project is based is sustainability and eco-design. From four angles: energy efficiency, organic farming, fair trade and local suppliers.

Mar de Fulles has intelligent photovoltaic installations, “one part goes to consumption directly without going through batteries, another part goes to direct charging to prevent the batteries from being discharged and a third part is waiting for the needs. And, above all, a very efficient use, because we divide the consumption by days to the hours of maximum production”.

The organic garden is maintained by all the people who work in the hotel as a great team, for the moment they acquire the seeds and the seedlings. In a short period of time when the design of the greenhouse is completed, it will allow them to do the whole process.

Mar de Fulles owes its success in great measure due to eco-design, an the idea that is based on changing the conventional way of building and demonstrating that the ecological is no more expensive than regular way. “The building has cost 200,000€ more than a conventional construction despite the use of sustainable and quality materials. The building requires very little air-conditioning as it takes advantage of the sea breeze that comes naturally to us and the insulating materials”. This provides greater energy efficiency and effective management of resources.

Awards and Recognitions

In 2016, they received the “Citizenergy” prize, awarded by the European Parliament. These awards aim to promote the implementation of renewable energies in Europe, financed directly by European citizens through collective platforms, such as cooperatives or crowlending.

In words of Juanma, member of Mar de Fulles team, “it was a nice gift for us and for all the people who have collaborated, used to 11 years of great difficulties to make Mar de Fulles, it was an unexpected ” slap on the back ” that gave us the hope that not everything is lost in the administration”.

An example of socio-environmental sustainability

Set an example of good being, requires having continuous plans of improvement and be open to new collaborations that want to use our facilities for the testing of environmental technologies or solutions, so Mar de Fulles has implemented this empathy with the environment in an efficient and profitable way.

One of the main bastions of Mar de Fulles is the gastronomic quality. This is based on the equipment and products used. “Our kitchen team comes from a large restaurant with Michelin stars who have come to work because of our social commitments. The product we use is our own or local, we consume organic products, fair trade, free of GMOs, without palm oil, we avoid multinationals, fish farms…”.

The project has been a long road, full of emotions, suffering, will and hope in the construction of a groundbreaking and sustainable vision. This has been possible thanks to the collaboration of many people. During the interview, the question was obligatory and heartfeltly grateful, Juanma told us that “not everyone can be named…. My family in the first place, Josep Antoni Nebot from Heliotec, José Pascual from Ingenieros Sostenibles, Xavier Salvador from the Arenes studio, Miquel Badenes from Nonna Design, Paco Guijarro from Stuccollums, Juan Navarro from Sancal, Juan Garibi from Fiare, Natxo Nebot from Caixa de San Vicent, Manuel López from Naturkasa…”.

This project is an example of improvement and serves as a mirror for innovation and ecological tourism. They show that the alliance of people is as powerful as the greatest of fortunes and that the path to social and environmental sustainability is not impossible, in fact it is more difficult but much more satisfactory and Mar de Fulles has confirmed it.

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