Blog 11: Green Luxury Hotels
Are you guilty of staying at the finest hotels and asking house-keeping to change your bed sheets every day? Are you guilty of throwing the towels on the floor and then asking for fresh ones every time you shower? Most of all- are you guilty of only doing this when you stay at a hotel and not doing the same in your homes?
If the answer is yes to the questions above, then I'm sorry to break it you but you have played your part in some kind of ecological damage. As responsible tourists, and more so responsible citizens of the world, we ought to help hotels become more environment friendly whilst maintaining the luxurious experience they provide guests. Together we can make it possible for tourists to experience and appreciate natural spaces and cultures while conserving and minimising their effect on the environment.
From bottling their own water, growing organic vegetables, maintaining zero carbon emissions to being accredited with various eco-awards, below are my picks of the world's most eco-friendly yet luxe hotels.
1- The White Pod, Switzerland has been creating ecological awareness in guests since 2004 with the conception of the geodesic pods that 100% energy efficient and have a low impact on nature. All staff at the hotel live nearby and walk to work limiting transportation near the pods, waste is strictly segregated, biodegradable cleaning products are used and water-saving devices are installed on all taps and showers. These are just some of the ecologically beneficial steps taken by the hotel to provide guests pure and fresh Swiss air and style.
The interior of a pod
2- Family run Hostal Grau, Barcelona is not only LEED-certified but also provides guests with bespoke tour itineraries based on their likes and dislikes. Ecologically renovated in 2012, the hotel's furniture is made up of natural materials and most of it is recycled. Catering to the Mediterranean style, the handmade pieces are made with natural materials such as wicker or esparto grass. All the wooden furnishings and decorations have been made out FSC certified forest trees and even the mattresses in each room are organic. Pet bottles are reused as shampoo bottles in the bathroom and refilled when needed.
The tag-line of Hostal Grau
3- Located on a private island off the Grenada, the Jicaro Island Lodge believes in sustainable-luxury living and offers guests with a unique casita (lodge) experience. When the property was built no trees were displaced. Instead, earthmovers were used to displace land. To achieve sustainability ecologically, the hotel ensures that wastewater is treated before being released into the ocean, no air conditioning is installed on the island to limit carbon emissions, organic and biodegradable soaps and detergents are used and local staff is hired. The hotel also invests in a school and solar panel project to give back to society and encourage sustainable living.
The lodge sitting at the edge of Lake Nicaragua
4- Campi Ya Kanzi is Kenya's only eco-luxury safari lodge on a Maasai-owned reserve spanning 283,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The lodge aims to make sure wilderness with thriving wildlife generates income for the Maasai landlords, to ensure the land where they have lived for hundreds of years, is protected for the generations to come. Photovoltaic panels are used for electricity, solar boilers for hot water, food is cooked in “Agha” stoves where a charcoal made from coffee husks is used. Rainwater harvesting fulfils the water needs of the camp. In short, the camp's carbon footprint is zero!
The tent overlooking Maasai-land
5- 6 islands, 3 lagoons and 13 beaches make up the Bawah Reserve, Indonesia. Bawah’s location is remote – there are no other islands closer than around 30 nautical miles. This means that Bawah has an independent ecosystem, with the mangroves playing a key role in stabilising the islands and supporting biodiversity. The villas and rooms have been designed using a 'minimal impact' approach undertaking works without machinery and using bamboo and other locally sourced natural building materials such as stone that was quarried on the island for making into stairs, paths and foundations. Biodiversity on the island is actively maintained and the hotel even makes its own line of biodegradable sunscreen for guests to use!
Indonesia's hidden gem
6- Part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and winner of the Green Travel Leader status with Ecotourism Australia, the Thala Beach Nature Reserve is situated on a private peninsula surrounded by World Heritage coastline and The Great Barrier Reef. Obviously, conservation and preservation of the flora and fauna while delivering a luxurious stay to their guests is the reserve's main priority. To achieve this, the reserve is built entirely of sustainable and biodegradable materials, assists in an environmental rehabilitation programme, undertakes responsible marketing with no flyers and boards anywhere (just online marketing) and other initiatives.
The wooden reception area at Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Let's choose to stay at sustainable hotels and do our part in promoting environment-bettering activities. Let's encourage more hotels to make ecological practices the norm. Let's not increase the burden on fragile eco-systems when we get the opportunity to stay at hotels in the most exotic locations. Let's make eco-luxury the new trend in the hospitality industry!
Let me know what you think about eco-luxury travel and until later,
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