Hotels that help you tread lightly when you travel
Staying in luxury can be even sweeter when you know you’re doing your best for the environment. From the latest eco-tech, to sustainable builds, and coral nurseries – here’s our round-up of what the best eco-resorts are offering. So you can offset your air miles and book your out-of-this-world escape, safe in the knowledge that you’ve made a planet-friendly choice.
1. RELEASE THE TURTLES AT…THE FORTRESS HOTEL & SPA, SRI LANKA
With every room offering an awe-inspiring view of the Indian Ocean, the Fortress Hotel & Spa in Galle, Sri Lanka puts coastline protection front and centre of their agenda. The colonial style luxury resort is endorsed by Green Globe, an international sustainability standard, for its efforts in keeping its coastal environment pristine.
But that’s not all. The hotel runs its own turtle conservation project to help protect the area’s endangered native sea turtles. Every year from October to April guests can take part in releasing the tiny hatchlings into the ocean – a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience in a very special place.
2. COMMUNE WITH THE TREES AT…ARIMA, SAN SEBASTIAN
Less than three miles from gourmet mecca San Sebastián, Arima Hotel takes eco-friendly to a whole new level. Check in here and you’ll really be treading lightly – the hotel meets the new Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency, and has a motto of ‘live green, love green.’
Set within the Miramon Forest, the Scandi-style building seamlessly blends into its surroundings, and uses cutting-edge technology to reduce its environmental impact. Inside the hotel, rooms with panoramic windows overlooking the trees are equipped with organic toiletries, and state-of-the-art sound insulation. And Misura, the hotel’s light-filled restaurant offers up delectable plates of elevated, organic cuisine.
3. EXPLORE CAVES AND VALLEYS AT…ARIANA, CAPPADOCHIA
Overlooking the majestic Uchisar Valley in Cappadochia, Turkey, Ariana is the last word in sustainable luxury. This eco-boutique uses solar power to produce much of its energy, and offers electric vehicle charging points. The tumbling terraced gardens provide seasonal ingredients for Mediterranean menus in the fine-dining restaurant. Rooms seem hewn from the rock of the canyon itself – a few are even caves converted into luxury suites complete with onyx, stone and mosaic details.
Venture from your cliff-top hideaway to explore rocky landscapes on horseback – or lift off into the most spectacular sunrise on a hot air balloon flight at dawn.
4. CONSERVE THE CORAL AT…BAROS MALDIVES
Think Maldives and what do you picture? Villas perched over crystalline water, rays scooting through the shallows, white sands and blue seas to the horizon… Baros is all of this in full postcard-worthy perfection. But this is a resort with something extra. Fully committed to protecting its fragile paradise, Baros takes sustainability seriously.
Under the guidance of the resident marine biologist, guests can get involved with a coral rehabilitation programme, to help replenish the vulnerable reefs around the resort. The Baros dive centre is fully eco-certified, and trips beneath the surface focus on respecting marine life. Behind the scenes, the resort works hard to minimise its impact on the natural environment, using biodegradable cleaning solutions, and recycled water to irrigate its gardens. So you can enjoy paradise with a clear conscience.
5. LIVE THE (ECO) DOLCE VITA AT…LEFAY DOLOMITES AND LEFAY LAKE GARDA
Looking for a luxurious break in Italy? Whether you choose to relax by the shores of Lake Garda, or among the mighty crags of the Dolomites, if you choose a Lefay resort your eco-credentials are secure. Both hotels are built with natural materials that mirror their stunning surroundings, and put energy efficiency front of mind with innovations in renewable resources, rainwater harvesting and solar panels.
The outstanding – and vast – spas in both locations are temples to wellness, and high-end dining experiences fuse the best of organic, sustainable produce with a traditional-meets-contemporary approach. And you can rest assured that the discreet and highly-trained staff looking after your every need are treated with the respect they deserve, thanks to Lefay’s people motivation and development programme. This is real sustainability at its luxurious best.