From feeding Tasmanian Devils in Australia to soaking in a hut tub next to a frozen lake in France, book one of these green globetrotters dreams next year for the perfect eco escape. By Anthea Ayache
One of the things many of us do as the year draws to a close is to think about our big vacation for 2018. That usually means checking prices, attractions, and hotel amenities. But for a growing number of us, a hotel’s eco credentials and how they care for their natural environment is just as important when it comes to pressing the Book button.
So, if you’re in need of some inspiration before choosing your perfect eco escape, then take a peek at these ten gorgeous, guilt-free bookings below.
10. The Snovik Thermal Spa, Slovenia
Bordering the Italian Alps, renowned for its breath taking views and with a capital Ljubljana, that was voted the European Green Capital in 2016, Slovenia is a conscious traveller’s dream. So too is the Snovik Thermal Spa, situated in the Kamnik Savinja Alps and offering inside pools, outside pools, and a wellness centre. Having been voted best spa centre in Slovenia, the complex has also been Ecolabel certified and received awards recognising their efforts to care of the environment. Think solar collectors to heat water and biomass to produce energy for overall heating.
9. Spice Island Beach Resort – St. George’s, Grenada
A sustainable travel must, this five star resort – Grenada’s only recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award and the first on the island to become Green Globe Certified back in 2004 – maintains a wealth of energy-efficient practices. This popular Caribbean island resort offers guest the epitome of luxury but not at the expense of the planet. The resort recycles, replants trees, participates in community cleanups and educates employees about conservation.
8. Atmantan Wellness Resort, India
Created to care for mind and body as well as the natural environment, Atmantan (meaning soul, mind and body) Wellness Retreat offers a full eco-friendly experience in its stunning location in India’s Sahyadri mountain range with views over the Mulshi Lake. The resort has been architecturally designed to utilise natural light, grows its own organic vegetables, and uses solar power for water heating.
7. Instants d’Absolu Eco Lodge & Spa – France
The stunning Auvergne wilderness provides the backdrop to this 17th Century farmhouse loving restored into a stylish hotel spa. Guests staying at this rural paradise in the south of the Regional Natural Park of Auvergne Volcanoes, can take in unspoiled views of Le Lac du Pêcher, spend the days ambling through the Pinatelle forest to take in its local flora and fauna or hiking through the stunning Cantal mountain range. Cycling, horse riding and fishing are other offered activities while in the winter guests can ledge with dogs and snow-shoe hike.
6. The Chumbe Island Coral Park – Zanzibar
Nestled within the heart of the coral reef eco system of Chumbe, this award winning nature reserve offers guests a guilt-free paradise. Developed in 1991 for the conservation of the then uninhabited Chumbe Island – one of the last pristine coral islands in the region – the reserve has worked tirelessly to protect the area with a coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve full of rare wildlife. The island uses state-of-the-art technology aiming at zero impact on the environment. Oh and there are only 7 bungalows so expect some true time out on your eco escape.
5. Kwandwe Game Reserve – South Africa
A testament to conservation and rehabilitation, the five star Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province lies at the heart of 22,000 hectares of bushveld. The area is teeming with wildlife, birds, and a vast variety of unique fauna, while the resort is dedicated to protecting the highly endangered rhino. Kwandwe offers accommodation at game lodges and luxury houses and plenty of animal viewing, all while focusing on conservation, supporting the local economies, and keeping the ecosystems safe.
4. Finch Bay Hotel, Galapagos Islands
Located over 600 miles of the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagas Islands – 90 per cent of which are designated national park territory – are the home to many species so rare they are found only on the islands. Travellers to this green globetrotter’s dream can expect world class wildlife viewing and superb diving and snorkelling.The only beachfront hotel on the biodiverse Santa Cruz Island, Finch Bay has set the standard for environmentally responsible hotels in the area. Having won South America’s Leading Green Hotel at the World Travel Awards for five consecutive years, 2012-2016, guests can rest assured the hotel is doing it’s bit to keep the islands as pristine as they were when Darwin set foot there in the 19th century.
3. Como Uma Paro, Butan
This eco escape is in one of the least visited countries in the world, Bhutan – a nation that is purposefully developing its tourism industry slowly to preserve it’s natural and cultural resources. One of this remote Buddhist kingdom’s only boutique hotels, Como Uma Paro is loftily located on a Himalayan mountainside looking out over the pine-clad valley of Paro. Como Uma Paro features private villas flanked by thick pine forest (there are currently laws in place to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the country remains forested for future generations) while the food is organic and locally sourced. And you’ll be breathing in clean air, Bhutan absorbs more carbon than it emits!
2. Japamala Resort, Malaysia
Japamala Resort on Tioman Island is the ultimate back-to-nature eco escape. Having committed to not moving one rock or cutting one tree in the ten year design process the 13 chalets at this resort are made largely from locally sourced wood and repurposed materials and joined by a series of canopy walkways. The hotel’s luxury tree houses and cliff-clinging chalets are secluded by rainforest with views of the South China Sea. While there are plenty of opportunities for relaxing in the hotel grounds, guests can also take boat rides to local attractions such as the Monkey Bay Marine Park, fishing tours and trips to view local waterfall with chance encounters with monkeys, monitor lizards and an array of birds
1. Saffire Freycinet, Australia
The Saffire is Australia’s luxury offering on Tasmania’s East Coast, positioned overlooking the rugged Hazards Mountain chain, Freycinet Peninsula and the pristine waters of Great Oyster Bay. The multi-award winning resort -which is popular among celebrities such as Sting – was designed to return life to a previously damaged area. The hotel has consequently implemented many sustainable practices including energy efficient water usage, lighting, and natural cycle air flow systems. They have also dedicated time to recovering native plants and have a Tasmanian Devil enclosure as a means to help protect the threatened species. It’s not hard to see why the Saffire was named Australia’s Top Luxury Hotel by travel website TripAdvisor.