Eco credentials and style need not to be mutually exclusive, as these hotels show.
In jungles, olive groves, beneath giant redwoods – you name it, boutique hotels with sustainable concepts can be found hidden away in all manner of unexpected places. Built from local materials, they are designed to blend as seamlessly as possible into the landscape. “Minimal impact on nature and support for local structures are becoming increasingly important considerations in tourism,” writes French travel author Clara Le Fort in her book Bon Voyage (gestalten), for which she reviewed more than 50 eco-friendly hotels with high design aspirations. “Instead of continuing to despoil the planet, hotels with new, mindful concepts are preserving natural environments, offering nature-related activities and giving as much back to nature as possible.” It takes more than solar panels on the roof and an organic vegetable garden, after all, to justify a hotel’s claim to being sustainable. As well as protecting the environment, sustainability is all about involving the local community in the hotel right from the planning stage, paying fair wages and sponsoring training projects. “The ability to continue over a period of time” is the definition of sustainability. And that’s what the new green hotels are aiming for: to enable the most beautiful places on earth to continue to preserve their pristine, natural beauty.
Amazing Escapes, BOLIVIA
The eight tent suites resembling space stations pitched on the Altiplano high plain near to a salt desert have minimal ecological impact. When they are taken down at the end of the season, it’s as if no human had ever set foot here.
Masseria Moroseta, ITALY
This gleaming white hotel built of local sandstone stands on a hilltop amid a centuries-old olive grove near the town of Ostuni, in Apulia, southern Italy, overlooking the sea. The chef cooks with produce from the hotel’s own garden and local markets.
Bawah Reserve, INDONESIA
The Anambas Archipelago is one of the first marine reserves in Indonesia. There’s an eco resort there, hidden away amid dense greenery beside a blue lagoon. The bamboo and recycled teak of its bungalows render them barely distinguishable from the jungle.
This hotel overlooking Lake Titicaca sponsors projects to provide people in the region with drinking water, and sources food and handmade textiles from local suppliers. The hotel’s employees all come from the surrounding area and receive a fair wage.
Ventana Big Sur, USA
Fifteen tents shelter beneath gigantic redwoods on the Californian coast. If one of the trees topples, it is turned into furniture. And that’s not all that’s sustainable about this luxury camp, which uses reclaimed waste water to irrigate its gardens.
The wooden huts at the Coucoo eco resort in Franche-Comté, eastern France, look like nests floating on a lake. A boat delivers regional organic food to each door in the morning.
Bna Hotels, JAPAN
Bed and Art, BnA for short, is the concept that gave two hotels in Tokyo their name. The aim of the hotels is to promote and sustain the local arts scene: All of the rooms were designed by young artists, who receive a share of the hotels’ revenues.
Ani Villas Dikwella, SRI LANKA
The 15 luxury villas on Dikwella Beach blend harmoniously with the surrounding countryside. They were built by local people using local materials. The hotel donates some of its income to financing an art academy with places for 40 students.
Luxury Eco escapes
1 Amazing Escapes, Bolivia
2 Maseria Moroseta, Italy
3 Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
4 Titilaka, Peru
5 Ventana Big Sur, USA
6 Coucoo, France
7 BnA Hotels, Japan
8 Ani Villas Dikwella, Sri Lanka