Meet Mario Delicio — Owner, Director & Sustainability Enthusiast at Hotel Verde Cape Town
Mario Delicio and his wife Annemarie are the owners and directors of Hotel Verde Cape Town. As a joint shareholder of a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and CEO of South African companies Bev Plus Pty Ltd, and Dematech (Pty) Ltd, which has industrial agencies for several European companies based all over the African continent, Mario is a seasoned traveller who holds a sound knowledge of different African markets.
Why a green hotel?
“For many years, my life motto and the belief of my family has been that we have a responsibility as a company, as employers and as visitors on this planet to live as sustainably as possible. The seed of Hotel Verde germinated from this very thought,” he explains.
“Once we started the process of creating a sustainable hotel, I quickly realised that my dream of providing something luxurious and truly sustainable was not only possible, but also a business model worth sharing, with the potential to change lives and the industry as we know it
What we have achieved over the past 9 years is a testament to the passion and dedication of a team of people who have made it their business to be the change. The mighty willpower of our team to tackle the seemingly impossible has exceeded my every expectation.”
We are not inheriting the world from our forefathers, rather we are borrowing it from our children. That is the view we must take to live more sustainably. We have, as individuals and as a company, a responsibility towards our current and future generations.
Where luxury & thrivability meet
Mario’s extensive travel experience allowed him to recognise the needs of international travellers, ensuring that Hotel Verde, aside from all the green initiatives, also had all the necessary additions to ensure convenient and comfortable travel. Annemarie, on the other hand, played a pivotal role in the interior design of the Hotel, as a counterpart to interior designer Les Harbottle.
As a teacher, she was leading a children’s home in Germany before she came to South Africa in 1993 with Mario and their three daughters. She has always been very artistic, and her creative touch can be seen everywhere on the hotel premises. She loves gardening and has transformed a former rubbish-infested parking area into a beautiful landscaped garden with indigenous local plants and trees including a recovering wetland.
Today, everything that is decided and implemented at Hotel Verde Cape Town is always underpinned by sustainability.
“Thanks to our partner, Ecolution Consulting, and a number of other hardworking individuals, we have been able to achieve several prestigious certifications and awards, proving the extent to which we have gone to be thrivable.
“We attempted to leave no stone unturned while planning and implementing our green initiative. The sins of green-washing are rife in business today because the areas of sustainability and thrivability are still developing. We aim to fight green washing through legitimate interventions, education, and honest and transparent communication. We also acknowledge that we are on a perpetual road paved with hard work, constant lessons (and victories!).
“Many people are wary of the cost implications of being sustainable. But it has become apparent to me that if one makes the right, ethical choice — the return will follow. I hope that people will see all of our cumulative efforts and that they will be inspired to implement small changes in their lives and businesses too,” Mario explains.
A family business through and through
The entire Delicio family has played a huge part in making Hotel Verde what it is today. As mentioned previously Annemarie’s love for art, decor and landscaping resonates throughout the hotel and has given the hotel its home-away-from-home character and charm.
Their daughters also played a big role. Anika came up with the name Hotel Verde and contributed significantly to the procurement and processes during construction. Svenja conceptualised and created some of the art and was part of creating the beautiful mosaic wall that stands at the entrance, whilst Romina was influential in conceptualising and refining the values and mission statements of the hotel.
“For us, lifestyle is more of an aspiration towards better, more conscious, and sustainable living expressed in all activities by individuals. It’s about touching everybody in the process of going green and providing a platform for behavioural change and mind-set moulding. Our investors/owners and managers, our team and guests should all be offered the opportunity to embrace a sustainable lifestyle form their own point of view, by doing business, by working at a green hotel or staying at a green hotel as a guest,” Mario enthuses.
“We believe sustainable business projects depend upon our ability to ensure that our relationship with our clients, guests and employees is more than merely a business relationship. They should feel a sense of belonging to the Verde community and expect relationships within that community to continue whilst holding each other accountable for efforts in sustainability.”