When the Partnership & Expertise Goes Beyond Golf
Resort at Squaw Creek
Lake Tahoe, California
BrightView has been an incredible partner in getting our vision to fruition. Their team really listened to us and came up with a design concept that brilliantly utilized our space. They came up with ideas we hadn't even thought of, not only for Rooftop Roots, but also for other parts of the resort. In our industry, we need fully capable partners like BrightView who have the wide range of expertise and eye for detail—and who understand the guest perspective. Being green-oriented and progressive is easy when you have a great partner like BrightViewAndré Priemer - General Manager, Resort at Squaw Creek
High-Altitude Destination Resort Seeks to Elevate the Guest Experience
Minutes from Lake Tahoe and nestled among the slopes of Northern California’s premier ski destination, the Resort at Squaw Creek is a year-round destination. In addition to an 18-hole championship golf course and a host of world-class amenities, the resort features five restaurants, offering from casual fare to fine dining.
But like any world-class resort, Squaw Creek knew it had to refresh to continually draw guests. Recently, when a new executive chef came on board, the idea to introduce farm-to-table dining was proposed. But while the resort had a vision, it didn’t have a plan.
Who knew that the team that would make it happen would be found on Squaw Creek’s golf course.
Farm-to-Table Garden Increases Green Footprint & Resort Visibility
As Squaw Creek’s longtime golf course maintenance partner, the BrightView team had had already helped the resort revamp its 18-hole golf course to the extent that, in 2015, Golf Advisor named Squaw Creek one of the 25 most improved U.S. courses based on player reviews. When the resort needed a solution that went beyond golf, our team had the extensive resources with which to easily step in and help.
Working together with Kurt Buxton, Vice President of BrightView’s Design Group, Squaw Creek’s farm-to-table vision soon became a reality. In addition to his design expertise, Kurt was well versed in sustainable agriculture and particularly in hydroponics, a soil-free method of growing plants in sand or gravel that recycles water and saves nutrients that normally leech through soil.
Kurt’s experience is first hand. He and his team have their own hydroponic system at the BrightView offices in Southern California. After a site analysis of the resort, Kurt zeroed in on a previously unused rooftop space and created a design that would attractively and effectively house the hydroponic growing system and improve esthetics for guests looking out at the rooftop from resort guest rooms.
“With our design and master plan, the resort was avoided the trap of a one-off spending scenario,” says Kurt. “We forecasted outlay to priorities, gave them a step-by-step trajectory and brought in the expertise they needed to make the garden a success.”
The expertise Kurt is referring to is Todd Mehl and Santa Barbara Tower Garden LLC, the company that Kurt and his team worked with to create the system in southern California and one of the leading hydroponic suppliers in the country. Santa Barbara Tower Garden supplied nine aeroponic towers, a 100-gallon tank that recycles the water used for the plants—and did so at BrightView’s volume purchase pricing.
Working together, BrightView and the hydroponic experts helped Squaw Creek identify what they could grow that would be economically feasible and that their restaurants could use. On-site training was provided and before long seeds were germinating.
André Preimer, Squaw Creek’s general manager was thrilled, noting that BrightView brought a wide range of expertise to the project and an eye for detail, something that Preimer feels is critically important when it comes to providing for a great guest experience. What’s more, BrightView was able to help Squaw Creek achieve greater sustainability on an aggressive timeline.
Rooftop Roots Generates Glowing Reviews and a Plan to Go Forward
Within two months of the project initiation, Squaw Creek had a fully operational rooftop hydroponic garden and a fleet of aeroponic towers growing lettuce, herbs and micro-greens. Thanks to this expediency, resort management was able to showcase the garden, christened “Rooftop Roots,” in time for a visit by one of Squaw Creek’s major international investors.
The response was positive and plans are underway to go forward with the master plan, which includes a greenhouse that will house the plants during winter months. Local press has picked up on the Rooftop Roots story and community leaders, from the area’s hospital, non-profits and school districts, have visited the site to research how they, too, can implement hydroponic gardening in their own institutions.
Squaw Creek Resort is now 100% self-sustaining in terms of herbs and micro-greens—quite an accomplishment for a four-diamond hotel with 405 rooms.
Rooftop Root’s harvest now supplies all the resort restaurants and is done so in an environmentally sound, water-wise way. Combined with BrightView’s work in re-tooling Squaw Creek’s golf course irrigation, the resort has successfully increased its green footprint and decreased its water use and costs.
The management, ownership and entire Squaw Creek team is delighted. As Preimer noted, “Being green-oriented and progressive is easy when you have a great partner like BrightView.”