Green for go! 10 sustainable holidays
Want to do your bit for the environment while enjoying your hols? Check out these eco-friendly hot spots which are clean, green and keen on a bit of luxury too.
We’re more eco-conscious than ever but we’re also dying to get away on holiday, which sounds like a conundrum, right? Not necessarily! It’s perfectly possible to go green whilst indulging in some R & R.
Staying at a sustainable hotel doesn’t necessarily mean having to compromise on the good things in life, though it might mean using less plastic (hooray), eating local, seasonal dishes and supporting the nearby community.
A recent survey by booking.com revealed 64% of travellers would like to stay somewhere more eco-conscious in the coming year, while a Skyscanner survey taken in the lead up to COP26 showed 80% of UK respondents believe it’s vital to make travel more sustainable. Flying to a destination is always going to be a problem carbon-wise admittedly, but train’s an option in Europe and don’t forget you can carbon offset through charities like Forests Without Frontiers and Earthly.
So there we have it, green’s the way forward – now pass me an Aperol Spritz (in a recycled glass with a paper straw, obvs).
Bambu Indah, Bali
This little pocket of paradise bills itself as a ‘sustainably-minded jungle retreat with the luxury of hotel service’ and we concur, it’s pretty dam luxe for what is essentially lots of bamboo pods in a forest near Ubud. The architecture’s insanely cool (I mean, look at the picture above) but there’s also natural swimming pools, spa experiences, dining on local dishes in a riverside warung, sunrise yoga…this is where we’d like to honeymoon second time around please.
SALT of Palmar, Mauritius
An Indian Ocean, eco-friendly resort that’s a shining example of how going green doesn’t have to mean compromise when it comes to luxury. It’s also way more focused on its roots than the island’s bigger resorts, with Mauritian cuisine like delicious tandoor oven-cooked curries and wok stir-fries on the menu, salt-based treatments in the spa and the chance to hang with locals fishing, cycling, making pottery and practising yoga. Also, no TVs, no buffets, no single-use plastics, no hassle.
Villa Copenhagen, Denmark
Recently opened and taking Scandinavia by storm, Villa Copenhagen (the former Danish Post and Telegraph office opposite Tivoli Gardens) is a leader in ‘conscious luxury’ and ‘takes responsibility for its environmental footprint’ which translates as really comfy beds and a rooftop pool, but employing a diverse range of staff, helping out with local causes, serving bread baked at its onsite bakery, zero food waste and a redesign that preserved many original details, like marble columns and oak staircases. Perfect for a weekend break.
Soneva Kiri, Thailand
Set on Koh Kood, an island close to the Cambodian border, this unspoilt getaway is what I like to call sexy sustainable: four-poster beds, infinity pools, spa, barefoot butlers and outdoor cinema but also waste recycling, water conservation, organic food bought from local farmers and involvement in a reforestation project.
Casa de Las Olas, Mexico
This is the real deal, leading by example and throwing shade on most of Tulum’s other supposedly green hotels as a fully-fledged member of Regenerative Resorts. Originally a holiday home, there’s so much to love here for the eco-conscious traveller, from the world’s most delicious ceviche sourced only from local suppliers and toiletries made just up the road to the fresh coconuts in your fridge (how much better than a plastic water bottle?) and solar panels on the roof – yes, it’s powered by the sun. Eleven rooms and suites are like a breath of fresh air, with white-washed walls and ceilings, huge, locally-crafted wood beds.
Opening in 2022, this incredible circular hotel that looks a bit like it has landed from space is planning to produce more energy than it uses. Say what? Well, it will be energy positive, which means it’s going to harvest enough solar energy to go off-grid, have zero waste and sustain itself. And the fun bit? It’s built on stilts at the edge of a fjord close to Svartisen glacier, so you can have a go at things like ice climbing, or maybe just lie in bed and try and catch a glimpse the northern lights.
Golden Horizon, Mediterranean
No, not a hotel, but rather the world’s largest tall ship. Golden Horizon makes her debut in the Med in 2022, with 22 voyages to choose from taking in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece and Turkey. With a maximum of 272 guests, it’s an intimate cruise that’s powered by nature – see you in St Tropez!
Adrere Amellal, Egypt
Carved under the foot of a mountain in Siwa, this place it truly magical. No electricity means every night is romantic, with light from lamps, candles and the moonlight – you really do dine beneath stars here. Most produce comes from the hotel’s garden and the natural spring swimming pool lies in a shady palm grove. Just wow.
Whitepod Eco-Luxury Resort, Switzerland
Oh the view from that round bed *swoon*. Also, eighteen geodesic domes that will leave no trace and require way less energy than a conventional building. Heating’s fired by wood-pellets, there are water saving devices and food and drink is locally-sourced, so all you need to worry about is where to ski (or hike, if it’s summer) and what to eat in the Alpine brasserie.
Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
Close to the Volcanoes National Park, where you can trek to see mountain gorillas, this is a super sustainable safari, from the rainwater harvesting system to the veg garden and bamboo fibre coffee cups. Villas are sumptuous, with rainforest views – Bisate is heavily involved in reforestation in the area, so you can fall to sleep content in the knowledge you’re giving back.