Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

Interview With The Co-Founder Of The All Vegan Hotel: The Vegan Lodge

by | February 8, 2019

A dream come true hotel – all vegan lodge, debuts in an ancient coastal town of Antalya, Turkey. We got a chance to talk to Emre Dilek, one of the founders of the 100% vegan hotel. Read the excerpts from the interview below. 

vegan hotel
Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

As early as just a few years ago, the thought of staying in a hotel that was completely vegan was a far fetched fantasy. The Dream Hotel, Vegan Lodge found in Olympos, Antalya one of the most beautiful holiday spots in the world with its magnificent nature and sea, opened its door to guests and offers vegan versions of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. The Vegan Lodge is living proof that being vegan does not mean giving up taste. The grounds of the hotel guarantees fun experience, where visitors can embrace nature it’s open to both vegans and non-vegans. I am very curious about the story behind The Vegan Lodge, which is the first completely vegan hotel in the World. What follows is the story of this very special hotel from the founder himself, Emre Dilek.

Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

Hello Mr. Dilek, what inspired you to open a completely vegan hotel?

“I’ve been a vegan for nearly 12 years, and I’ve had a lot of difficulties on holidays. Besides that, I had been a manager in the hospitality industry for a very long time. I worked on increasing the diversity of food and beverage delivery for the vegans in the hotels where I was a manager. It got to a point that I made it my mission, with my partners to start a vegan facility.”

Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

Generally, when people hear the word ‘vegan’, they can show a little bias. What were the reactions you received?

When people around me heard of our idea, the first question asked was: ”can the non-vegans come there?”. Others asked: “if we come there, what will we eat?”. In January, when we opened our hotel as a soft opening, the reactions we received from a German group were very positive. There were only 3 vegans in the group of 56. A week later, more than 10 guests commented “We were deeming being vegan is a marginal thing and they eat weird foods, but we ate delicious and various foods. It was a great experience”. Some even stated that they would continue to eat vegan for at least a while following their vacation. Therefore, I think that those who have misconceptions can overcome these prejudices during a vegan holiday.

Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

Other than being vegan hotel, what is the difference between The Vegan Lodge and its contemporaries?

Our facility covers 30 acres. There is a plant richness of hundreds of olive trees, pomegranate trees, and other fruit trees. In addition to veganism, we will try to implement some projects that will benefit the environment. For instance, we started to produce some electrical energy by using solar panels. Furthermore, we are in the process of setting up a permaculture garden to meet part of our needs. The next phase of the garden is to produce for almost all of our needs. We would like to consider food waste as a natural fertilizer in this garden.

Photograph by The Vegan Lodge

Is your cook or chef a vegan?

“I am one of the cooks, our other chef is also a vegan.”

Great!

Well, how do you come up with your food menu items?

Generally, we have a rotating menu because most of guests stay one week. Turkish cuisine has a diverse makeup that is appropriate for vegan choices with little or in some cases, no modifications or substitutions. For this reason, we prepared a menu with touches from international cuisines within the framework of Mediterranean cuisine.

Finally, what is the message you to leave our readers with?

All lives deserve respect and compassion.

If we can adapt all the actions we carry out in our lives, especially in terms of eating and drinking to this idea, we fulfill our responsibility not only for ourselves but also against humanity and all other living things.

Zuhal Sengul

Freelance Journalist | New York, USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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