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Name of Property:

Fuegoblanco, Spain

ECOCLUB.com Rating:

1 ECOCLUB Sun1 ECOCLUB Sun1 ECOCLUB Sun0.6 ECOCLUB Suns  3.6 out of 5




Number of Rooms:

Six (6)

Double Room Rates Range:

Euros 73 - 83

Name of Applicant:

Kenneth Beachill


Kenneth Beachill (Autonomo - self employed status)

Rating Application Date:

14 Jul 2009

Rating Period:

17 Jul - 17 Sep 2009

Breakdown of Ratings - (Total Raters):

 4, 3.5, 4, 3, 3.5, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4 - (10)

Individual Ratings & Rater Comments: Click here to read details
Rating Explained:  This rating is voluntarily produced by ECOCLUB.com Members following an application by the Lodge. The first 5 sections of this application correspond to the current ECOCLUB Criteria . Each section is of equal weight (1). When a criterion was fully met in their view,  raters award a full point (1), when it is not met but they felt genuine effort was being made, half a point (0.5) and when they felt that it was not met and no effort was being made to meet the specific criterion, no points (0). Therefore, the maximum possible rating was 5 and the minimum 0. The final rating is calculated as the average of all ratings.
For more information on the ECOCLUB.com Rating see here



(1.a) Who owns the Lodge?: Please clarify if private, family, public, municipal, NGO, cooperative, as well as the nationality and place of birth of the owner.
Family, Kenneth Beachill, Scottish-born in Rothes

(1.b) Who manages the Lodge?
Kenneth Beachill.

(1.c) How many rooms are there?
Six letting rooms. (One a suite) Two guest lounges. Lots of outside space. Commercial kitchen. Owners flat. We also have a 5m diameter Mongolian Yurt which we use for pilates and acupuncture sessions.

1c - Mongolian Yurt
1.c: Our Mongolian yurt. Brought direct from Mongolia and used to provide Pilates and
Acupuncture sessions (July 2009).

(1.d) How many beds are there?
12 for guests

(1.e) How many employees are there?
Myself plus my English partner (pareja de hecho) plus two Spanish part time employees

(1.f) How many employees are from the same village / city?

(1.g) If applicable, do employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?
Not applicable

(1.h) What is the total size of the land on which the Lodge is built?
26.000 sq. meters

(1.i) Who has access to the Lodge’s facilities and its land and for what uses?
Only guests. We try to keep hunters off by using special fencing that stops trespassing but does not impede the movements of wild animals . We currently set aside long grasses and areas as we have foxes and hares on the property as well as a number of species of rare birds. (Squacco Heron, Ringed Pluver…)

1i - View of front garden
1.i: View of front garden. We have 7 acres of land going down to the Guadalhorce river
where rare birds, terappins and other wild life are in abundance (Summer 2008).

1.i2 - Squacco Heron

1.i2: squacco herron one of the unusual birds that can be seen down by the river, together with red pluver, hoopoes, bee eaters, kingfishers, paraquetes (Summer 2008)



(2.a) Lodge Siting (how was location chosen):
Original building was part of a working farm in the fertile Guadalahorce Valley. Found via the Internet.

(2.b) Policy followed during construction:
Already constructed.

(2.c) Lighting:
Use of solar lighting and energy saving bulbs where possible. Energy efficient A rated appliances chosen.

(2.d) Heating:
Solar and oil assisted central heating for ground floor together with two wood burning stoves partly fuelled by pruned trees from our orchard.

2d - Solar Heating System Controls 
2.d. Some of the switching and filtering controls for our solar heating system.
The system incorporate six of the pumps like the one middle left and 3000 litres of hot water storage (July 2009).

(2.e) Cooling:
Some design with air flow and placement of windows to minimise need for cooling. Electric fans through out and air conditioning units in 4 guest bedrooms. Total of six air conditioning units which can also provide heat.

(2.f) Cleaning:
We use natural products where possible and recycle oil to produce our own soaps.

(2.g) Water Management:
Water comes from our own well and is used for domestic and irrigation for plants and trees. We use a reed bed collector to process sewage and brown water.
We have fitted low flush toilet systems, low flow taps and shower heads throughout. Our orchard is watered at night using  a drip feed systems.

2g - Water Management 
2.g: The white thing near the middle, slightly left of centre, is our well. It supplies all our needs.
We directly irrigate our trees and produce drinking water by use of filters.

(2.h) Cooking:
Usual domestic appliances powered by electric. Electricity in this part of the world has a high percentage of wind, solar and hydro generation. We use a 3 phase supply which has a higher efficiency than single phase.

(2.i) Waste management:
We recycle domestic waste, plastic, paper, clothes etc. through local authority schemes. We compost organic waste. We try where possible to repair domestic appliances machines etc.

(2.j) Insect, pest control:
Non really. Occasional use of citronella candles. Ant control using baking soda

(2.k) Energy Sources, Use & Saving Measures:
We have a large solar array and high capacity tanks for hot water storage. This provides almost all the hot water. (Photo enclosed)
A back up oil fired system exists but is rarely used. 

2.k - Solar Panels 
2.k - Environment - 12 solar panels. They are linked to 3000 litre storage tanks which have
features of our own design aimed at minimizing energy losses and water consumption (February 2008).

2.k2 - Washing & Drying 
2.k2 - Power of the sun. We wash using ecological soap and save energy by drying visitors sheets
and clothes outdooor. Our climate allows us to do this the majority days throughout the year (July 2009).

(2.l) Noise Protection:
Not an issue

(2.m) Accessible by public transport?: (If yes, please provide instructions from nearby city.)
A train service exists between Málaga ( including the airport) and Álora. Buses will get people within two kilometers of Fuegoblanco . We send instruction to guest prior to their arrival. Also, instructions exist on our website at http://www.fuegoblanco.com/maps.htm

(2.n) What is the recommended way of reaching your Lodge from the nearest International airport?
Train or car hire. We provide train and bus time tables to guest and encourage them to use public transport  for site seeing when this is practicable. We also provide bicycles.

(2.o) Distance from nearby village / city:
2.5kms.  Nearest tapas bar about 1.5kms. Malaga about 40kms.

(2.p) Architectural Features:
Nothing outstanding but visitors and inspectors all give favourable comment on the design features we have been able to incorporate; especially our long rectangular windows at the front of property.

2p - Architecture
2.p - Architecture - View from the front of Fuegoblanco. We have received many favourable
comments about the design incorporated by us into the front of the house. Sept 2008 (2p)

(2.q) Construction Materials:
Concrete and steel.. Some local stone used in upgrading the building.  Traditional Andalucian tiles and Ardales stone used to refurbish the courtyard.

(2.r) Landscape Management:
We manage the gardens and 7 acre orchard using eco. friendly techniques, no chemicals,. We are certified by CAEE, the Spanish soil association equivalent, who inspect us regularly. We have planted 400 new lemon trees this year (Verna lemons). We are certified to sell organic oranges , lemons and vegetables. (transitional certificate becomes full in September 2009 after 5 years.)  We grow many of our own vegetables and fruits.

2r - Landscape Management 
2.r - A view out from the orchard towards the mountains, Sierra La Huma. You can see the
new trees in the fore ground together with the mature specimens. We have done lots of working
in nursing the older trees back to health and productivity (July 2009).




(3.a) Initiation or participation in local projects:
Initiated a project which let to the Ayuntamiento (local town hall) setting up lessons to encourage expatriate foreigners to learn Spanish. Now entering its fourth year. We regularly photograph the Art en la Calle project in Malaga City and promote it on our website

(3.b) Contact, cooperation with local organisations:
We are members of Comité Andaluz de Agricultura Ecológica (CAEE) and Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos  (COAG), membership organisations intended to promote the growth of organic farming, approved and funded by the Junta de Andalucia. We supported the setting up of COAG organic markets by distributing posters and making people aware of the timing of the markets.

 3.b. - Organic Agriculture Certificate
3.b - Copy of our certificate to sell organic produce. Our main focus
is on lemons and we have around 1000 trees producing organic fruit (May 2009).

(3.c) Direct Donations:
We directly contribute to a local dog sanctuary which works to re-home neglected and abandoned  dogs through links with a Swedish charity. We have 'charity boxes' to encourage guest donation  and provide regular contributions to car boot sales in order to raise funds.

We make clients aware of their work by having a file full of photographs and information.

In 2007 we subsidised half the cost and fitted for free a high pressure misting system for cooling at a donkey refuge 8Refugio los Burritos. where the older and sometimes frailer animals get stressed and ill in the summer heat.  In early 2008 we provided the equipment for them to fit a system, at half our cost, to a similar refuge in Nerja.

We contribute directly to the offset of our calculated carbon emissions. (this year 7 tons). We provide links on our website to enable clients to easily offset flight emissions  if they choose. This year our contribution will go to Kenya re-forestation.

3c - Donkey Refuge 
3.c - Some of the donkeys at the Refugio Del Burritos. We encourage our visitors
to visit and take a look at the work they are doing (Summer 2007).

(3.d) Who took the initiative to build this Lodge?
Kenneth Beachill decided on the conversion from derelict farm house to Casa Rural Turistico (Small rural hotel)

(3.e) Did the local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge?
I expect the planning department gave the go ahead to the original build. But, this is Spain so who knows.. In this region  a good number of local mayors are in prison for taking bribes rather than enforcing. local planning law. The Junta de Andalucia approved the alterations and licensed the project. They give the local populace 30 days in which to lodge objections. No the place was already built but we altered it to provide en-suite bathrooms and add energy saving measures.

(3.f) How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?
Profits are negligible and are put back in to improving the property. This year we have decided to calculate and pay for carbon offset on our energy use in running the business. We are trying to assess some of the schemes and are  currently focusing on reforestation in Kenya as a preferred offset program.

(3.g) Are there any national and local taxes to be paid or are you exempt?
We pay local and national taxes

(3.h) What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?
Almost all consumables are sourced locally. Bio Bio supply our ethical soaps and detergents from Madrid.but recently we have started to recycle  and produce much of our own soap.

(3.i) Do you cultivate food for the guests?
Yes and visit organic markets which are held in this region.. We grow courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, melons, sandria, pears, plums, peaches, oranges, lemons, caci, nespero, quinces, potatoes onions, carrots, etc

3i - Organic Vegetables
3i - Our organic vegetable garden producing courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, beans,
melon, sandria, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, onions (July 2009).

(3.j) Do you have any agreements with local producers?
Only informal with local  Alor´ Eco warehouse to buy our crop of lemons

3j - Lemons & drip feed
3.j - One of our recently planted 400 Verna lemons already bearing fruit. Note the
drip feed irrigation system that runs directly from our well (July 2009).

(3.k) Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?
Applied for funding to help with the conversion of the orchard from standard to organic production ( waiting)




(4.a) Do your employees have health insurance?

(4.b) Do your employees have paid leave?
No we only have part timers. They get occasional bonuses.

(4.c) Are your employees entitled to maternity leave?
Yes state provided.

(4.d) Do you pay your employees above the minimum wage? (Please state minimum wage, and provide salary details)
Yes we pay a minimum of 8 euros per hour and max of 10 euros per hour. In 2008 the minimum was specified as 20 euros per day.

(4.e) Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week:
One at between 6 to 18 hours. One at 18 hours per week. Maximum 6 hour days for paid workers; much longer for the owners.

(4.f) Do you employ your staff all year round?  (If not, please explain arrangement)

(4.g) Do you employ immigrants? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits?
In the past Eastern Europeans did  casual picking work as part of a gang employed by fruit warehouses. We now employ local labour to pick our fruit and pay a fair rate. There is no restriction on immigrant employment and we would give equal pay. We are just incredibly small and that has not been an option.

(4.h) Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, how many hours do they work and how do you source them?
We are incredibly small and that has not been an option.

(4.i) Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?
We are just incredibly small and that has not been an option. –As the orchard comes back t life we may consider the WOOFER scheme.

(4.j) Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors?

(4.k) Is there disabled access at your Lodge?
The building was constructed before we bought it and does not lend itself to wheel chair access. We do however, cater for visitors otherwise  differently abled. Deaf, blind for example.

(4.l) What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism?
The adverse effects in Spain are primarily on the costas, which essentially have been ruined by overbuilding. We encourage people to visit inland and to get involved with rural tourism and appreciate the fantastic countryside and rich cultural heritage of parts of Andalucia. We encourage guests to use local restaurants, visit local sites. Engage in local activities. eg. Bruja de Luna Mora, Local Fiestas, Romerias

4l - Cultural Event
4.l - Cultural event Luna Mora in Carratraca. Traces Moorish and Christian musical and cultural roots.
We encourage guest to attend this and many other local festivals (Sept 2008).

4l2 - Countryside Walking 
4.l2 - Economic - Promoting the area for rural tourism - Indication of the type of walking and
fabulous countryside. We publish http://www.walkinginandalucia.com which makes local walks available
to anyone who logs on (Spring 2008).

(4.m) Do you undertake any poverty reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to poverty reduction?
Not specifically but, Spain is a first world nation and there is no obvious poverty in Álora village.( occasionally poor people come up from Málaga city and 'work' the bars but other than occasional contributions we have real involvement. We do make our own regular contribution to 3rd world charities.

(4.n) Do you undertake any inequality reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to inequality reduction?
I have full training in equal opportunities policies and we are fully aware of the issues. I believe that it would at this stage be overblown to have a formal written document for such a small establishment.

(4.o) Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction?
Went on anti Iraq war marches but it didn´t make any difference. Participated in Vigils after the Madrid bombings.
Spain which appears to be a liberal society compensating for having suffered under a dictatorship within living memory.

(4.p) What is the minimum, average and maximum age of your employees?
Around 45.




(5.a) Is there a local community / e.g. a nearby village?
Yes white village of Álora. Population 14000. Thriving and prosperous.

(5.b) Do guests interact with the local community and how?
Yes. Visiting local sites, museums, galleries, and restaurants, tapas bars, using local transport.. visiting fiestas and cultural events.

(5.c) What type of information is available to guests at the property?
A range of guide book. Lists of recommended activities, days out etc. maps. Lots of local information.

5c - Information for Guests
5.c - A tiny selection from the many maps books, leaflets and guides we use
to introduce people to the local amenities. We strongly promote the donkey sanctuary Los Burritos and
the Lobo Park which has three of the very few rare Arctic wolves from which they attempt to breed (July 2009).

(5.d) What type of activities are available to guests at the property?
Horse riding, cycling, bird watching, walking and hiking, visiting towns of historical and architectural importance, sunbathing, swimming. badminton, table tennis. relax in hammocks or sun beds.

5d - View over the orchard
5.d - View over the orchard from the breakfast terrace.
Note the table tennis which provides further activity for our guests.

(5.e) Local guided tours for guests?
I am generally available to do guided tours for local walks. We provided detailed information for local self guided walks. We also have  published the website www.walkinginandalucia.com which provides information on local walks. We arrange bird watching tours.

(5.f) Events / presentations held at the facility so far?

(5.g) Specific programme for children?
We make visitors aware of local activities for children.

(5.h) Research / Publications produced / assisted by the property so far?
Short paper: The changing face of the Guadalhorce. Describing the effects of changing agricultural practices in the area.

(5.i) Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how?




(6.1). Please state any awards or green certificates won by the property:
We have two ethical awards (Environment and Food) from Alistair Sawday's.

 6.1 - Awards 
6.1 - Awards - Alister Sawday's logo. We have two ethical awards - in 2009 Food and Environment.
Alistair Sawday's work by review with detailed questionnaires and also send their inspector to check the place.

(6.2). Have there been any independent (i.e. not paid or otherwise related to you) guest reviews, newspaper, radio, TV or guidebook reviews on your property, which may support any of your replies above? If so please provide detailed information and links (up to 10).

You can find 17 reviews on tripadvisor.com at

and around a dozen on Responsibletravel.com at

We are reviewed in Alistair Sawday's :- Special places to stay -  Spain, and also in the new publication 'Green Europe'

We pay for these entries but, they send round their inspectors and reject entries that do not meet their criteria

We are in Guy Hunter Watts: 'Small Hotels and Inns of Andalucia' and also in a number of lesser known written guides and travel websites (Lanier's, Fischer's).

(6.3). Please propose up to 5 people with full title and contact details who are well-informed about your Lodge and are ready to back your statements in this application.

Details of 4 references were provided and these were contacted by ECOCLUB to review the application and confirm its accuracy. Three references replied confirming the accuracy, one reference did not reply.

(6.4). Is there anything else you feel relevant to this questionnaire, that you have not already covered?

We provide only serve fish and vegetarian cuisine. We totally avoid meat the production of which I believe disproportionately consumes scarce resources, contributes to the degradation of the environment by destroying virgin land to create pasture and,  produces green house gasses. Most ethical guides seem to over look this.

(6.5). Please sign to indicate your agreement with the following:

I hereby declare that all my answers are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and understand that I and/or my company will not have the right to veto or 'hide' our ECOCLUB Rating, which will be decided in the manner specified at http://www.ecoclub.com/rating if we find it unfavourable. I also understand that the rating will be valid for a minimum of 1 Year, and a maximum of 3 Years. By submitting this questionnaire I indicate acceptance of all ECOCLUB Rating terms, conditions and procedures as stated at http://www.ecoclub.com/rating and understand that these may be modified at any time without notice.

(Please enter (paste) your signature below or type your initials to indicate acceptance)

Your Name: Kenneth Beachill - Date: 14 July 2009


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