One common drawback to traveling for those who eschew meat is finding healthy food for their vegetarian lifestyles. This is especially difficult at B&Bs or hotels where one must take meals during a conference.
It takes one to start one. Finally, in 2011, travel journalists Thomas and Karen Klein and information technology specialist Peter Haunert, all vegetarians since childhood, founded VeggieHotels, a sort of safe haven for those who want to continue their healthy habits on the road. The new hotel association that started in Berlin now encompasses more than 500 places of every type of lodging in more than 60 countries worldwide. The idea has spread to the United States where there are more than 50 such hotels and inns.
Up until now, most lodging with health-conscious meals included spas, fat farms or wellness-type vacations. But these are usually temporary retreats for those who consume animal products on a daily basis. At VeggieHotel lodging, vegetarians meet like-minded people who share their values of a non-meat eating life.
VeggieHotels CEO Thomas Klein predicts a strong growth of the vegetarian industry: “As the ecological and health disadvantages of a meat-based diet become more and more obvious, a clear trend-shift towards a vegetarian and vegan diet is observable – this will increasingly influence the culinary repertoire of the hotel cuisines. The step to a purely vegetarian offer is a reasonable alternative in the direction to a sustainable, ethical and health-conscious hotel industry.”
Many of the hotels in the association also serve exclusively or mostly organic food and other options like vegan, gluten- and lactose-free dishes, as well as raw and whole foods. Accommodations often adhere to design principles of eco buildings and are furnished with sustainable materials.