Going green in the hospitality industry is no easy feat. This is particularly the case for hotels and resorts given the immense amount of water needed to wash all the linens, the energy required to power hundreds of rooms, and the plethora of single-use plastics, like complimentary water bottles and shower caps, used during every guest’s stay.
Thankfully, the rise of eco-friendly properties ensures travelers can still satisfy their wanderlust guilt-free. From safari adventures to deserted island camps, these seven jaw-dropping eco resorts prove that sustainability doesn’t have to come at the expense of experience and style.
Zarafa Camp, Botswana
This stunning getaway located within the wildlife-rich Selinda Reserve is comprised of just four tents—100-square-metre units, each with their own claw-foot bathtub and private plunge pool. Guests can spot hippos and elephants, and take in the view of the Zibadianja Lagoon without stepping foot off this property which also features a lounge, library, and dining area. Not only was the property constructed using recycled hardwoods and canvas, the camp relies entirely on solar power, converts organic waste into cooking gas and runs its game vehicles on vegetable oil. It’s a luxury game-watching experience, one that treats its natural surroundings with the utmost respect.
El Albergue, Peru
For adventurers headed to Machu Picchu by train, the El Albergue in Ollantaytambo makes for a dreamy launching pad. The eco-conscious traveler will find comfort here knowing that the waste is almost entirely composted or recycled, with non-organic waste used to make bricks for construction projects, while an on-site organic farm produces the hotel restaurant’s food (along with its cañazo, a local sugar cane alcohol). With its rustic-chic rooms and awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountains, El Albergue is surely picturesque, but it’s this boutique hotel’s commitment to sustainability where it really shines.
Soneva Fushi, The Maldives
Luxury villages surrounded by white sand and azure waters aren’t often the first image that comes to mind when you think “sustainability”, but this Maldives island resort is proving that five-star paradises can also be leaders in eco-friendly hospitality. Soneva Fushi is home to the largest solar panel system in the Maldives, entirely plastic-free and recycles or reuses 90 per cent of all waste. Meals feature organic and locally sourced products, and are entirely meat-free on Thursdays. Even the surfing is eco-friendly; the boards-for-hire are made from recycled products. If Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas deemed it a worthy honeymoon spot, you know it must be special.
Holzhotel Forsthofalm, Austria
Nestled amongst the Austrian alps lies Holzhotel Forsthofalm: a 110-room, ski-in/ski-out resort that prides itself on its sustainable efforts. The hotel is constructed entirely from wood, stone, glass, and other natural materials, all sourced from the surrounding area. Neither glue nor metal was utilized in the resort’s construction—the building is anchored with 200,000 wood dowels. As a result of the construction materials and methods, Holzhotel Forsthofalm requires less energy for heating and cooling (it’s a popular destination for hikers and cyclists in the summer months) and what it does need is provided in part by solar panels.
A row of breathtaking, thatched-roof huts greets you overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean sea at Azulik—a spiritual sanctuary celebrating the four natural elements. Fair trade and conservationism are at the heart of its award-winning design, which features rooftop dining in a bird’s nest of undulating wood overlooking the jungle (swoon), and an on-site wetlands area for flood control, water purification, and shoreline stability. Villas are WiFi and electricity-free, so you can find your way home from dinner through the undisturbed jungle via romantic, candle-lit walkways. Oh, and there are no showers—just bathtubs filled with water from the hotel’s cenote, and the sea.
Mumbo Island, Malawi
Just a short boat ride from Lake Malawi National Park, a digital detox awaits at Mumbo Island. Located on a formerly deserted island, the region is known as one of the best freshwater snorkeling and scuba diving destinations in the world for its water clarity and rainbow-hued cichlid fish. There are no showers here, but a bucket of hot water is presented at your lakeside abode and attached to your bamboo bathroom by rope (it’s actually a lot more luxurious than it sounds!).
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