The World's Ten Best Eco Lodges & Resorts

28 Dec 2015

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Minimising your carbon footprint while holidaying needn’t mean forgoing hotel luxuries or unique experiences. There are many eco-certified establishments in simply stunning locales around the world where careful consideration has been made to reduce impact to the surrounding environment and introduce sustainable initiatives. From futuristic alpine pods to tented suites within a safari reserve, consider going green on your next holiday.

1. Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Albuquerque, USA

Breathe in the bucolic atmosphere of this family-owned bed and breakfast on an historic ranch set amid a 10-hectare organic lavender farm in New Mexico. Visitors can opt to stay in the New Mexican-style Historic Inn rooms and suites, which incorporate salvaged wood, or the newer The Farm rooms and suites in dairy-style buildings. Some of the sustainable initiatives found throughout the Los Poblanos property include using environmentally friendly cleaning products, water-saving measures, serving locally sourced food and recycling waste. Eco edge: The handmade lavender guest soaps can also be purchased as a keepsake souvenir onsite from The Farm Shop along with other luxe artisan goods.

2. Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, Heredia, Costa Rica

Voted the number one hotel in Central America in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2013, Finca Rosa Blanca is designer digs with a difference. The boutique resort is situated within a three-hectare organic plantation and at a lofty 1,219 metres above sea level – perfect to view the cloud forests and volcanoes. Underground electrical systems, solar panels, recycled coffee pulp as fertiliser, and organic produce grown onsite and used in the restaurant underpin the maximum level of eco certification of this resort. Eco edge: 1,000-thread count bamboo linens and sky-lit Jacuzzi bathtubs add a luxury touch to your eco-friendly stay.

3. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Resort, Vanua Levu, Fiji

The renowned explorer’s name is synonymous with marine conservation, so it should come as no surprise that the resort that bears his moniker is a sublime fusion of luxury and sustainability. Situated on almost seven hectares of a former coconut plantation and surrounded by a marine sanctuary, this exclusive, eco-friendly retreat comprises just 25 bures. Guests can learn about the natural attributes of the area through eco tours and medicine walks led by naturalist guides through the onsite edible organic gardens, which are tended by traditional Fijian methods. Eco edge: Explore the underwater reef ecosystem of soft corals and tropical fish with an expert marine biologist as your guide.

Image: Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Resort.

4. Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa, Easter Island, Chile

From above, the grassed roofs of the Hotel Hangaroa buildings blend seamlessly with the unique landscape of Rapa Nui, also known as Isla de Pascua or Easter Island. Architectural elements also play homage to nature and the island’s ancestors, inviting the outside in through the incorporation of cypress tree trunks, volcanic rock and clay into the structure of the rooms. The ethos of Hangaroa extends to the local community with many Rapa Nui natives as hotel employees. Eco edge: Enjoy a relaxing treatment at the onsite Spa Manavai, an organically designed space where many of the therapies are based on the island’s natural products.

Image: Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa.

5. Whitepod Resort, Les Cerniers, Switzerland

The futuristic white pods of this eco-luxury hotel play hide and seek amid the pristine landscape of the Swiss Alps in winter. Revealing a green exterior come summer, each of the 15 pods is a geodesic-style tent atop a wooden platform set 1,400 metres up in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range. For winter heating, each pod has its own wood-burning stove and electrically heated bathroom. The low-impact accommodation mean less resources are used and less waste produced. Eco edge: The cosy interior of each pod is decorated with unique antique objects and natural wooden accents.

Image: Whitepod Resort.


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6. Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, Port McNeill, Canada

With an idyllic locale within the delightfully named Great Bear Rainforest in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the family-owned Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort is powered by a hydro system. Get back to nature at one of nine cosy wooden cabins with an intertidal or streamside location and thoughtful touches like homemade cookies and organic amenities, then get outdoors for kayaking, paddle boarding, bear spotting, hiking and even yoga on the floating deck. Eco edge: For extra green credentials, Nimmo Bay seeks to eliminate the environmental footprint they can’t impact by purchasing carbon offsets.

Image: Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort © Jeremy Koreski.

7. Campi ya Kanzi, Mtito Andei, Kenya

In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and at the foot of the Chyulu Hills, live out your safari fantasy in tented luxury at Campi ya Kanzi. Guests can choose to slumber in one of six thatched-roof tented cottages or at Kanzi House bush villa. A solar-power system generates electricity and hot water for the entire camp, the pool is topped up with rainwater, and food is cooked using eco-friendly charcoal. Take a safari to see lions, elephants, buffalo and more in the wild. Eco edge: Campi ya Kanzi is invested in the local Maasai community and committed to protecting its culture while offering visitors an authentic safari experience.

Image: Campi ya Kanzi.

8. Six Senses Con Dao, Con Son, Vietnam

A retreat for all the senses, enjoy good karma at Six Senses Con Dao. Part of the Bangkok-based Six Senses resort group and located on an island within Con Dao National Park, this 5-star resort takes its cues from the local environment with modern design inspired by traditional fishing villages. Beachside suites and villas are crafted from reclaimed teak and recycled antique panels, and the resort uses only non-toxic cleaning products and organic amenities for guests. Eco edge: A popular diving site and local fishing spot as well as a prime breeding habitat for the endangered dugong, Six Senses Con Dao is committed to protecting the bay surrounding the resort.

Image: Six Senses Con Dao.

9. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Cape Town, South Africa

Visitors voted Bushmans Kloof as the number one resort and safari camp in Africa in the Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2013, and it’s not hard to see why. Set amid the designated UNESCO Cape Floral Region site and blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna, accommodation includes beautifully appointed rooms, suites and the Koro Lodge. Activities range from rock art excursions to nature drives and walks and tours of the onsite organic gardens. Eco edge: As one of its conservation projects, Bushmans Kloof has one of the world’s largest privately owned herds of Cape Mountain zebras on the 7,500-hectare reserve.

Image: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat.

10. Longitude 131, Uluru, Australia

Within Australia, Longitude 131 lies at the gateway of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where visitors can explore the outback with the resort’s trademark barefoot luxury. The 5-star ultimate glamping experience contrasts the red ochre surrounds with 15 sweeping stilted luxury tents with rain showers that aim to add minimal impact to the fragile desert environment. Take a tour around sacred sites and enjoy indigenous-inspired modern cuisine served under the stars. Eco edge: The entire resort runs on solar power, which includes air-conditioning and lighting, so you don’t miss out on creature comforts in the outback.

Image: Longitude 131.

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.