Whether it’s a big box store selling organic produce or a car rental company hiring out hybrids, corporations are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Nowhere is this more evident than in the hotel industry, where green certification has become a badge of honor for big chains as well as indie properties. Around the globe, luxury lodgings strive to reduce their carbon footprint, and GAYOT’s list of Top 10 Eco-Resorts in the World features the sustainability movement’s standard-bearers. Beach resorts, urban oases, mountain escapes and country retreats — each choice offers a unique destination, superior amenities and a commitment to a healthier planet.
A hillside setting and farm-stay experience offer an enticing alternative to the typical Caribbean vacation.
At Belle Mont Farm, sun and surf meet sustainability in a unique way. This boutique resort is home to Caribbean-chic one-bedroom Guesthouses, Farmhouses for up to 16 and private off-site Villas. Planet-friendly perks begin with rainwater showers and extend to the surrounding 400 acres of tropical forest and organic farmland. Fresh fruit and vegetable crates are delivered to guests each morning, and “Pick Me” signs hang in the trees, creating what the resort proudly calls an “edible landscape.” The property is designed to benefit the local community through education and employment, as well as provide exceptional luxury — of note are the individual pools, personal pull-down movie screens and projectors, and private wine selections chosen by the house sommelier. If you spend the day out foraging or fishing, the chef will happily incorporate the results into your nightly meal.
This hotel is proof that luxury and a commitment to sustainability can reside together in harmony.
Claiming to be one of the greenest hotels on the planet, this property is more than just talk. Sure, it has LED lighting, uses solar power to heat water and boasts a house restaurant that serves “de-poshified fine food” featuring daily deliveries of local meat, vegetables, dairy and seafood. But the real proof is in the details. In the 32 gorgeous guest rooms, you will find Forest Stewardship Council-certified wallpaper made with vegetable inks and furniture crafted from storm-felled trees. Suppliers are assessed using environmental standards, and the hotel itself has earned GOLD level status from the UK’s Green Tourism board. From training staff in sustainability principles to serving locally brewed beers and spirits in the bar, this property raises the standard for the greening of the hotel industry.
Sleek modern architecture serves as home base for exploring Easter Island’s mysterious moai statues.
This striking Easter Island resort pays tribute to the Kainga philosophy that espouses respect for the connection between the spiritual world and our planet. The architecture reflects the village of Orongo, the remains of which can be found at the peak of Rano Kau volcano, and the main lounge is based on an ancestral casa bote, which is a house shaped like an upside down boat that can be viewed among the island ruins. Nature preservation is found in the form of solar panels, wind power, waste recycling, water filtration, native landscaping and the use of organic ingredients at the restaurants and spa. Located on a coastal road near the center of town, Hangaroa makes an ideal base for exploring the island’s legendary moai statues.
Luxury, leisure and eco-friendly practices make this an ideal destination for the socially conscious traveler.
A leader when it comes to environmental responsibility, LeFay does more than just recycle, work with sustainable suppliers and channel and store rainwater. This Green Globe-certified designer resort signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of the Environment to define a management system of CO2 emissions for the tourism sector. It also has its own biomass-fueled electricity plant using clean, renewable energy sources, and its buildings are integrated into hillside terraces and face south to save on heating. The setting evokes paradise, surrounded by olive trees and lemon groves in a natural parkland on the Riviera dei Limoni. Among the features are elegant suites, fine dining and a commitment to wellness that extends from healing the body and spirit to greening the planet.
This eco-friendly boutique hotel offers a comfortable, contemporary oasis in the heart of Manhattan.
Created as an environmentally conscious hotel group, 1 Hotels debuted in South Beach and then journeyed up to Manhattan. We love every green detail at this Central Park beauty, from the paneling made of reclaimed wood to the creative reuse of the building’s original details, right down to the mail slots. Furnished with hemp-blend mattresses, guest rooms are equipped with triple filter water systems, natural bath products, sand timers for the shower and digital newspapers. From a farm stand in the lobby to Jonathan Waxman’s Jams restaurant to snack bags that welcome guests on arrival, the hotel shines a spotlight on fresh, seasonal produce.
Safari-style tents and a pristine natural setting unite to offer an upscale eco-friendly escape.
Self-sustaining Eco Villas and safari-style Eco Tents provide the foundation for this environmentally savvy resort in a dramatic wilderness region in Western Australia. Elevated boardwalks made of recycled and byproduct materials minimize the resort’s impact on the environment, as they link accommodations and the oceanfront restaurant, where homegrown organic produce and sustainable local seafood are featured. An on-site water recycling plant provides irrigation for the landscaping, which is made up of indigenous plants, and a state-of-the-art solar power system allows for minimal electricity use. Enhancing your low-impact holiday are activities such as whale watching tours and night walks on the beach to view nesting endangered turtles.
An exclusive collection of luxury tents allows adventurers unique access to the Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Situated on the Kanha Tiger Reserve in central India, where 50 to 60 adult tigers roam, the seasonal (October through May) Shergarh Tented Camp was created by restoring a damaged and misused parcel of land. Returned to its indigenous woodland state, it now serves as a haven for leopard, sloth bear and the rare barasingha (swamp deer). Each of its six luxury tents enjoys a woodland setting that ensures privacy. Meals are prepared from homegrown vegetables and feature classic Indian recipes, and hospitality needs are tended by staff members from nearby villages. Working as stone masons and mud-plasterers, locals also provided the traditional artisanship found throughout the camp.
Offering a slice of paradise, this private island resort is ideal for a romantic, nature-centric getaway.
Unlike many Thai islands, the Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand are undiscovered and unspoiled — and Song Saa intends to keep it that way. Inhabiting two islands connected by a footbridge over a marine reserve established by the resort, Song Saa is only 30 minutes by boat from Sihanoukville, but it feels as if it’s in another world. Jungle- and sea-view villas are constructed from reclaimed driftwood and fishing boat timber, and the setting is so tranquil you might wake to find a rare hornbill hanging out on your balcony. Guests can enjoy a spa nestled in the rainforest, and a restaurant and lounge sitting just offshore, embraced by the sea. Song Saa employs a full-time marine biologist and conservation staff members, and also offers plenty in the way of unique resort activities, from sunrise yoga to Buddhist temple ceremonies.
Environmentally friendly policies set the standard at this chic urban hotel.
Notorious for its crimes against the environment, China is also a place where eco movers and shakers are fighting the good fight. Case in point: URBN Hotel Shanghai, the country’s first carbon-neutral hotel. This boutique property is more than just chic and sleek; it’s good for the planet. Located within easy reach of the historic French Concession, it was developed from a renovated factory warehouse and incorporates locally sourced and recycled materials. Every guest room features an air purification system, mattresses are made from natural materials including cactus fiber and seaweed, cleaning products are organic, and energy-efficient cooling and heating systems have been installed. This holistic approach extends beyond the local area with participation in the Million Tree Project, which plants trees in Mongolia to offset carbon emissions.
Sustainability and a do-it-yourself attitude unite at this back-to-nature retreat in the Swedish woods.
Sustainability is the hotel world’s catchword of the day, but Urnatur takes this concept one step further into the realm of self-sustainability. Craving a cup of tea? Staff will help you forage for local herbs to make it yourself. A three-hour drive from Stockholm in the Holaved forest, the seasonal (April through October) Urnatur offers accommodation in tree houses and hand-hewn huts. Light comes from kerosene lamps, and heat from solar or wood power, with wood being gathered from storm-fallen trees whenever possible. Most menu items are procured locally, such as crayfish and berries, and activities include building nesting boxes for owls. Moss Cabin’s peat roof is covered with wild strawberries in the summer, and Tin Castle offers one of few concessions to the modern day: electricity to meet event needs.