What better than visiting a beautiful, stylish hotel that also has a social-conscious? I don’t think we automatically associate luxury with eco-friendly but trust me the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. I’m counting down my top ten luxury eco-friendly hotels and detailing their commitment to sustainability and the environment whilst remaining super chic.
1. Gili Lankanfushi, The Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi has the accolade of being on of the most luxurious resorts in The Maldives whilst also being one of the most eco-friendly. A partnership with EarthCheck means that the resort can make sure they are keeping up the standard of their environmentally conscious measures in comparison with similar properties. The beautiful above water villas are made from natural, organic materials that don’t have impact on the environment and are mostly constructed from responsibly harvested wood.
There is a huge commitment to waste management and the three ‘R’s’ reuse, recycle and reduce – organic waste is composted and used on the gardens, plastic is kept to a minimum with the use of glass bottles and canvas bags plus energy efficiency is a top priority.
Education and social conscious is important at the resort too and they invite children from local schools to discover more about the eco-friendly practices.
As with other resorts in the Maldives, marine biology is incredibly important and a research facility on the island offers luxurious guest experiences whilst educating on issues regarding sustainability and conservation.
2. The Scarlet, Cornwall
Any list of luxury eco-friendly hotels in the UK is likely to include The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. The website even includes a list of 101 different ways that this gorgeous eco-chic, adults only hotel is sustainable.
The hotel is designed to reflect it’s natural environment and built using sustainable and recyclable material. Waste is kept at an absolute minimum for the day to day running of the hotel with a biomass boiler, grey water recycling, rain water harvesting and sea thrift-planted roofs. Even the pool is natural and chemical free with a living reed bed used as a filtration system.
As much as possible is recycled and reused – you won’t see any plastic bottles, towels from the spa are upcycled and careful wastement and energy-use practice are in place.
The restaurant is a reason to visit in itself and once again everything is controlled carefully to reduce environmental impact; induction hobs rather than gas, use of local and organic produce and efficient recycling of waste. I could seriously write a whole blog post on how environmentally conscious The Scarlet is having been awarded a gold grading from Green Tourism, but instead I highly recommend you pay the hotel a visit yourself. It’s one of my favourites in the UK.
3. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, The Blue Mountains, Sydney
When I think of the one hotel that I long to return to, it’s Wolgan Valley. A magical 7,000 acre conservancy filled with kangeroos, wallabys and wallaroos, it is also the first carboNZero©™ certified hotel in the world and Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort.
Super chic cabins are some of the best I’ve ever seen and are constructed from natural material whilst activities revolve around exploring the natural environment and wildlife. Work is focussed on securing a future for the regions 1,500 native and endangered species and protecting protecting Australian flora and fauna.
Ingredients served in the restaurant are harvested from the hotel’s own kitchen garden or sourced locally. The food at Wolgan Valley is just incredible.
4. Sasaab, Samburu, Kenya
Glamping doesn’t get more luxurious than at beautiful Sasaab located near the Buffalo Springs National Reserves, in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. The lodge, and it’s sister Safari Collection properties are totally dedicated to the community, environment and to conservation. Saving water is vital and before a shower we placed a bucket underneath the stream whilst the water heated up, this water can be reused for plants and cleaning. All glass, tin, paper and plastic is reused and organic waste goes to the vegetable garden. We also noticed solar panels on the grounds of the resort and this type of eco-friendly energy is used where possible.
Socio-economic concerns are key too; 75% of the staff come from the nearby community, local products are used and cultural traditions preserved. The Safari Collection also promote a School Meal Program, scholarship program and partner with a charity called SAFE to raise awareness of issues such as FGM, HIV and gender-based violence.
The Safari Collection is keen to help with the health and welfare in Kenya and partners with family planning, eye and dental clinics in the country.
Finally conservation of the landscape and animals are of the utmost importance and as well as a total respect for the animals surrounding the properties, programmes such as the Mara Cheetah Project go a long way to conserving the endangered species.
5. Petit St. Vincent Private Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Petit St. Vincent is a private island paradise in the Caribbean with a deep respect the natural environment and surrounding area. Recognised by National Geographic as a leader in sustainability, this resort is small is size but big in heart!
The beautiful individual cottages are constructed from local materials and blend with the gorgeous surrounding of this tropical island. Ocean water is processed in a desalination plant and is efficient and safe to drink from the tap whilst a water bottling plant on island means the avoidance of plastics.
A kitchen garden means ingredients are local and the restaurant delivers farm-to-fork concept whilst visiting children are invited to help collect the eggs from the 200 chickens on site.
The community-minded resort has a launched scholarship fund to help the children of the employees with financial support for their education.
6. Silky Oaks Lodge & Healing Water Spa, Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Silky Oaks Lodge & Healing Water Spa is an eco-lodge nestled deep in the forest on the banks of the Mossman River. The perfect home away from home whilst exploring the Daintree Rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef.
The treehouse accommodation blends perfectly with the natural environments and allows guest to feel totally at one with nature.
There’s an onsite waste treatment plant, water purification station, care is taken to use environmentally friendly products and waste is avoided as far as possible. Activities involve learning about the environment and experiencing indigenous traditions.
7. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
The first resort in Indonesia to receive the highest level of certification from EarthCheck for Best Practice Building Planning and Design, Alila Villas Uluwatu is dedicated to environmental sustainability. Unlike some of the other hotels in this list, the super chic hotel doesn’t have the ‘look’ of an eco-lodge – but it really is!
The beautifully designed hotel has been fitted out using local materials and furnishing are made from local artisans.
A water management system means the water is conserved and waste is converted into biofuels while a passive cooling system eliminates air conditioning by harnessing ocean breezes.
8. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Oh if I could return to Post Ranch Inn right now I would in a heart beat!! Located in Big Sur just off Highway One, this hotel is an absolute eco-treat.
The rooms are built using reclaimed materials and are both sustainable and recyclable and blend in with the natural environment. Some of redwood used in the room is actually made from recycled wine barrels. Whilst the landscaping has been planted with indigenous fauna and provides a home for the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterfly, California Red-Legged Frog, Western Pond Turtle and California Condor.
Guests are driven in a Lexus Hybrid, solar panels minimise energy use, water use is carefully managed and offered in glass bottles rather than plastic.
9. Singita, South Africa
Regular readers will know that Singita Boulders is my all time favourite hotel. The lodge located in Sabi Sands is just one of fifteen luxury safari hotels located throughout Africa all of which follow seven principles as part of the One Planet Living Certification programme.
Their care for the planet principles include building the lodges from sustainable material, zero waste and reusing where possible, efficient water use, zero carbon and energy efficiency, use of sustainable transport and conservation of the natural environment. The food served at the lodges is local and sustainable so that it is low impact and produces minimal waste.
They also uphold three principles regarding care for people with a deep respect for culture and community evident throughout the lodge. Business development projects are used to help with local employment and staff at the lodge are offered extensive health benefits.
10. Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
A member of &Beyond group, this beautiful paradise island is a dream for lovers of luxury ec0-tourism. Mnemba Island and other resorts in the group all adhere to a model of care of the land, wildlife and people as an intuitive part of their operation.
At the lodges they go as far as possible to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, recycle avoid waste and use water efficiently. Community spirit is important and they work with locals to drive development initiatives.
&Beyond group are also pioneers in terms of conservation – on Mnemba Island a rare antelope called the suni is bred and there is also a breeding project for Ader’s duiker, another endangered antelope.
The island is know for its beautiful coral atoll and &Beyond work with the Zanzibar Department of Fisheries and the local Zanzibari fishing communities to form the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area (MIMCA) who have introduced measures to reduce net fishing.
I loved putting together this post as these hotels with heart are some of the my favourite ever. I’m a huge fan of eco-tourism and environmentally friendly hotels and there’s still plenty on my bucket list to visit one day!
Do you love ecotourism? Have you ever stayed in an environmentally-friendly or eco hotel?
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