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The Galeodan Suites in Helena’s Garden

The Philosophy behind Helena’s Garden and the Galeodan Suites

How we develop this land and share it with our endemic neighbours and human visitors is shaped partly by responsibility but mostly by a genuine desire to celebrate and protect this unique and fragile corner of paradise.

 

We designed the Suites, with split drainage for recycling and solar power among other features and had thought to call them “The Galeodan Eco-Suites”. But it has taken us several years to get even this far and lately it seems that every other establishment in the Galápagos is an “Eco-Hotel” or “Eco-Lodge”, all to often in little more than name. The “Eco” prefix is rapidly becoming a cliché in hospitality and tourism in general.  So we thought again and decided they would be just ”The Galeodan Suites”.

Besides, Helena’s Garden is a lot more than the Suites themselves. It really is a garden - An oasis of green space, preserved in one of the most desirable tourist-development locations in the Galápagos. San Cristóbal and particularly these lots have tremendous commercial potential but we will leave most of it untouched. This is our home, the home of our children and, if we love and care for it, a home for future generations.

Green Space

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Endemic Garden

Green Spaces

The 5 lots which constitute Helena’s Garden (light green on the right) occupy some 2,650 m2.

The Galeodan Suites, offices, concrete walkways and access ramp occupy 333m2 which is only 12.5% of the total area. In the future we will be building a new home and, possibly, an additional block of suites on the lower lots. Even then, the total developed area will be less than 25% of the total area of Helena’s Garden. 2,000 m2 will remain green.

Map of Helenas Garden - Usage

Between Helena’s Garden and the main road to Playa Mann is 1,100m2 of Common Green Space (dark green in the map). This part of the Torre de las Iguanas subdivision is shared by all the owners and must remain free of development.

With the help of the Charles Darwin Foundation, we have developed an Endemic Garden between the Penthouse and the road. As the name suggests, the garden features plants that grow only in the Galápagos Islands. Initial landscaping and planting was performed in 2012 and the Garden will be expanded to completion in 2017.

 

 

 

Construction

 

Light-weight, Efficient Structure:

All the Suites are built with reinforced concrete floors and columns and block walls. We make extensive use of ceramic block, particularly on exposed walls. Ceramic block is lighter than concrete and has superior insulating qualities allowing significant energy savings, particularly in the hottest months. The concrete floors are a honeycomb of concrete and foam blocks (fully enclosed). They allow lighter overall construction (using less material) and like the ceramic block: excellent sound and heat insulation, particularly on the areas exposed to sunlight.

The Finishes

Al the windows, doors, beds, closets and shelves are solid wood, crafted by local carpenters. The walls and ceilings have an unpolished, rustic finish in keeping with the surroundings.

All our construction is undertaken using local labour and, where feasible, local materials. The doors and windows are all wood. The windows use tinted glass for energy saving.

 

 

 

Services

 

Split Drainage Plumbing

The Pelagic Suites feature a split drainage system. Black water (from the toilets) goes directly to the septic tanks while grey water, from the kitchen, sinks and showers is directed to tanks for re-use.

Solar Power

At this time, the Galeodan Suites are served by conventional power. However, when complete, the final (Terrace) level of the Pelagic Suites will support an extensive array of solar panels which will significantly reduce our overall energy consumption to “near-zero”. During periods of partial occupancy, we expect to feed more energy back into the grid than we consume.

Gas or Induction Cooking

Ecuador’s National policy is to phase out all domestic gas-cookers and replace them with electrical induction cookers. To this end they are phasing out the existing subsidy on the price of domestic gas in exchange for a temporary subsidy on electrical power and the opportunity of buying inexpensive induction cookers, imported in bulk from China; on the face of it, a laudable initiative but for the alleged poor quality of the replacement cookers and,  in Galápagos, a power system that lacks the capacity or infrastructure to handle the increased demand.

So, for now, the Suites are equipped with gas-cookers. However, they are wired for installation of induction cookers as soon as they become a viable alternative. Most likely that will first come about as a result of further expansion of the solar panel array.

Hot Water

While most lodgings in San Cristóbal only provide shower-head electrical heaters, each Galeodan Suite has its own, more efficient and much safer, on-demand,tankless water heater (calefon) providing hot water to the kitchen and bathroom sinks as well as the showers. At this time, the heaters are gas-fired but the Suites are also wired for electrical induction heaters once they become a feasible alternative. As with induction cooking, we expect that will first come about with expansion of the solar panel installations.

Lighting

Standard light fixtures are equipped with energy efficient CFL bulbs. Security lights and dimmers, are equipped with LED bulbs

Cooling

For comfort in the warmest months of the year, we provide high-efficiency, quiet, split-system air-conditioners in every suite. We just ask you not to be wasteful in their use and turn them up, or off, when you are out for a period (such as on an excursion). All the Suites have ceiling fans, and screen doors (front & back) to promote natural ventilation.

 

 

 

 

 

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+593 99 643 4823 (Maria Elena)
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