12 Of The Best Eco Hotels In The World
If you thought top-quality accommodation and sustainability were mutually exclusive, think again. In all corners of the globe, hotels are now offering luxurious digs, superb service and first-rate facilities alongside some pretty impressive green credentials. To celebrate the UN's Year of Sustainable Tourism, we've selected ten of our favourites. From luxury hotels and eco-lodges to a private island and a tree house, finding somewhere memorable to stay while leaving little impact has never been easier.
1. Tri Lanka
Situated on the shores of Sri Lanka's largest natural lake, Tri Lanka takes contemporary sustainable design to new levels. The 11 beautiful suites were created using entirely local materials and the interiors and exteriors blend into the landscape with living walls, green roofs, edible gardens, solar arrays and recycled wood throughout. To ensure minimal impact, every last detail has been considered: it's a completely plastic-free zone, the lighting is LED and even their boat is electric.
2. White Pod
If you're looking for a completely unique hotel experience, White Pod may just be the ticket. Their eco-luxury pods nestled high up in Swiss Alps allow you get back to nature without forgoing any luxuries. Sustainability is high on the hotel's agenda with pods heated by pellet stoves, all the furniture reclaimed or recycled, and the panoramic restaurant serving food that is all locally sourced. The highlight? The incredible view from your pod, as well as the private lifts and slopes on your doorstep.
3. Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
Amazon Rainforest, Peru
If you're planning a trip to Peru look no further than Inkaterra, a small travel company pioneering sustainable tourism across the country. Of their five hotels, our favourite is the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Located deep in the Amazon jungle, this eco-lodge is the perfect base for exploring the lush jungle and spotting the incredible wildlife - don't miss the treetop canopy walkway or a night spent in the tree house. Best of all, your stay funds ecological research and conservation projects alongside providing planet-friendly jobs.
4. The Scarlet
Perched upon a cliff in north Cornwall, The Scarlet is top of our list for a UK-based eco-escape. The unique glass structure truly makes the most of its stunning location, and you'll have a hard time dragging yourself away from the hotel itself thanks to the Ayurvedic spa, natural swimming pool, cliff side log hot tubs and endless relaxation areas. When it comes to sustainability, The Scarlet has taken 101 steps to improve their green credentials. To name a few, there are solar panels and biomass boilers throughout, local produce dominating in the restaurant and the all-natural spa runs an upcycling towel program.
5. La Granja
Worlds away from the all-night clubs and flashy beach resorts, La Granja, a restored farmhouse come nine-room agriturismo, is much more in keeping with the original bohemian vibe of the white isle. The Design Hotels project markets itself as a members-only retreat where like minded souls can come together to relax in the rustic surroundings, enjoy food fresh from the farm via communal dining, and partake in weekly rituals including music, workshops and yoga. From pioneering biodynamic farm techniques to supporting the Ibiza Preservation Fund, sustainability and community is at the core of their ethos.
6. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
When it comes to five-star luxury with an eco edge, look no further than Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Located on a secret bay in southern Vietnam reachable only by boat, this sustainable masterpiece blends beautifully with its natural environment, and the collection of villas (all with either direct beach or sea access) make for a truly magnificent stay. Like all Six Senses properties, the hotel sticks to strict sustainability standards as well as supporting a number of local community projects - at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay your stay benefits the Ninh Van Village Primary School and the Dao Orphanage Coral project.
7. Hostal Grau
Cast aside your thoughts of organised bar crawls and dodgy dorms, the Hostal Grau is much more like a boutique hotel - and a sustainable one at that. From the coconut-fibre mattresses to the recycled furniture and automatic water saving taps, every effort has been made to implement its sustainable intentions. Slap bang in the middle of Barcelona's buzzing historic district, style has not been scrimped on either, and the simple yet chic rooms provide the perfect bolthole for a weekend exploring the city.
8. Jicaro Island Lodge
If you wish to live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy and really escape from it all, Jicaro Island Lodge is for you. This island getaway just minutes from the colonial town of Granada consists of nine two-storey casitas on stilts, a lovely private beach and floating yoga deck. Built entirely from timber reclaimed from trees blown down during Hurricane Felix, its eco-credentials are impressive. Not just successful when it comes to leaving minimal impact, they also prioritise supporting their local community through training and education based projects.
9. Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte
Set amongst the rainforest of Bahia, northern Brazil, this is picture-perfect paradise at its finest - think white sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters and coconut trees as far as the eye can see. The Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forteidyllic eco-resort are big supporters of sustainable tourism and every care has been taken to preserve the natural environment. Additionally, the hotel runs a number of socio-environmental projects that guests are encouraged to learn about through activities such as boat trips and trekking.
10. Campi Ya Kanzi
In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya lies boutique eco-lodge Campi Ya Kanzi. Offering luxury accommodation and incredible wildlife spotting, it is its forward-thinking approach to sustainable tourism that makes it stand out. From using renewable energy and offsetting carbon emissions to employing local people of the Maasai tribe, it is hardly surprising that they were first camp in Kenya to be gold rated by Ecotourism Kenya.
11. Janeiro Hotel
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Escape the crowds of tourists in neighbouring Ipanema and Copacabana beaches at the casual yet chic Janeiro Hotel, situated in the heart of leafy Leblon. In a city known for over-the-top glamour, this hotel (designed by Brazilian lifestyle impresario Oskar Metsavaht - dubbed the "Green Pope" by Eco-Age founder Livia Firth - of Osklen clothing label) places its focus on being as sustainable as possible. Rooms are simple and elegant, in line with the Osklen aesthetic and ethos; guests can eye up sustainably and locally sourced furnishings in every room. You'll be able to get up close and personal with the ocean-front hotel's eco initiatives including energy-efficient air conditioning and support of a foundation that works to revitalise the beach environment in surrounding neighbourhoods.
12. Fogo Island Inn
Nestled within a tight-knit fishing community off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn is the ultimate rural retreat. The hotel's dramatic structure puts a futuristic spin on local outport architecture, while its environmental initiatives are just as progressive (think: rainwater catchment systems and renewable solar and wood-burning energy sources throughout the property). Locally sourced, sustainable building materials were chosen whenever possible for everything from the floors to furniture. In the restaurant, local, organic and seasonal food is a priority - the hotel even established the Fogo Island Agricultural Co-op to supply the kitchen.
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