When it's time to travel again, it's time to go green. And since 22 April is Earth Day, let's daydream of the world's best eco sleeps, including luxury hotels, eco-friendly lodges and safari stays...
Located just above the Arctic Circle, Svart will be the world’s first energy-positive hotel when it opens to guests in 2021. The circular property has a 360-degree view of the Svartisen glacier, and aims to reduce its yearly energy consumption by 85% compared to other modern hotels, by using solar energy.
Experience a piece of eco-luxury on the beaches of Arugam Bay on Sri Lanka’s south- eastern coast. The hotel’s construction and design has been inspired by nature with structures made from wood, palm leaves and dried iluk grass, built to create as little disturbance to the surrounding vegetation as possible.
Where feasible, natural ventilation and lighting is used and waste water is biologically treated to protect the natural habitat.
Get back to nature in more ways than one at this luxury tented camp in the Makalai Conservancy. The camp does everything it can to reduce its carbon footprint including using solar panels for 30% of its energy consumption.
The property also has a heater pump system to reduce electrical power by 80%, and a bio-gas system to turn food and natural waste into natural gas to cook with. Used water is filtered and cleaned so it can be fed back into the camp’s waterhole for the animals.
The four resorts in Palawan live by a green ethos, which includes buying their products and employing staff locally, giving guests the opportunities to experience nature and the area’s culture, and building new sustainability programmes every year.
As well as green design and architecture, the resorts offer sustainable menus and plenty of nature-based activities in their verdant environment.
Soneva is committed to sustainability across all its resorts, but at Soneva Kiri it has developed a Carbon Calculator to monitor the full footprint of its operations; from energy consumption to freight, food, paper, waste and water.
Kachi is the first permanent lodge of its kind in Saral de Uyuni, Bolivia's otherworldly salt flats. Sitting at the foot of the Tunupa volcano, it offers a sleek, solar-powered spin on glamping, all set at a breathless altitude (3,600m).
Here, its six white domes seemingly float on the horizon. Lanterns keep you warm at night, and local cuisine comes courtesy of the chefs from La Paz’s much-lauded Gustu restaurant, which also serves as a foundation to give under-privileged youths a start.
In the light of the Gobi Desert, the Three Camel Lodge appears like a mirage, nestled between the Bayanzag cliffs and the Altai Mountains. A cluster of comfortable, eco-conscious gers: round, felt tents, decorated warmly in the Mongolian tradition, with local materials and hand-painted interiors.
Yes, it looks sensational, but most importantly it’s socially responsible – the solar-powered ger camp has banned plastic use, protects wildlife and uses profits to support struggling nomads in winter.
Set deep in the Central Highlands’ rainforest, no roads lead to this eco-lodge, so if you decide against navigating the Pacuare River’s rushing rapids, you can cross the river by a hanging gondola instead.
It's typically known for high-octane adventures, natural beauty and exotic animal sightings, but commitment to sustainability is evident throughout the lodge.
Clean energy is the big focus, with electricity generated by a turbine in a nearby stream. There are no buffets here - you pre-order the superb meals so that nothing is wasted. No trees were felled to house the bungalows, which are lit up with lanterns, creating a natural warmth. You can then wash off the day with the solar-heated water – or take a dip in the infinity pool, framed by rainforest and the sounds of nature.
With its handful of hand-carved teak houses and bamboo ‘tents’ set among the treetops, Bambu Indah is super-stylish yet sustainable – and won't blow your budget.
After a dawn yoga session, bathe in the freshwater pools and breakfast on organic ingredients – the restaurant has even replaced plates with bamboo leaves, and straws with papaya stems.
With its hulking gorges, thundering waterfalls and rolling hills strewn with wildflowers and wallabies, Karijini National Park is one epic spot for hiking, climbing and canyoning.
What’s more, this eco retreat (based in the park) treads lightly on the landscape, thanks to its solar power, lack of air conditioning and non-permanent (yet beautifully furnished) tented suites.
Owned and operated by a local Amerindian community, Rewa Lodge in Guyana has garnered many accolades among lovers of wild places. It first opened in 2003, when manager (and community chief) Rudy led the charge to open an eco lodge to benefit the local community and wildlife.
Rewa Lodge is an example of true grassroots tourism, with the community running it and directly benefitting. Rudy took our editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes to the nearby village, where a newly consecrated church, a health centre, nursery school and primary school were all funded through the lodge.
Ecuador’s extraordinary Mashpi Lodge is an eco-wonder set deep in the amazing Chocó-Andean Cloud Forest. At night, you can sleep well, knowing that not a single tree was removed during its construction.
During all hours, you'll be treated to uninterrupted views of rainforest from your room, and the hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, and jungle frogs that call this jungle home.
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