Luxury and sustainability are buzzwords in travel today as travelers look for eco-friendly retreats that allow them to enjoy the beauty of our planet without compromising its well-being. What can be more luxurious than enjoying unspoilt nature and knowing you are helping to protect it? Below are some of the world's top eco resorts, where sustainable practices and breathtaking beauty come together to make a guilt-free getaway.
What makes a resort eco?
An eco-friendly resort aims to minimize the carbon footprint of both the business and the guests that stay there. Resorts often offer luxury accomodation and the aim is to provide top class tourism experiences without causing negative impact to the hotel’s environment. Eco resorts and lodges tend to be remote and in pristine natural environments such as exotic islands, forests or mountains.
Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica
Luxury glamping in the rainforest with views of a volcano? Sign us up. The ‘tents’ in the Nayara Tented Camp sit on stilts above the rainforest canopy and each have private pools fed by natural hot springs, four poster beds and breakfast served on the terrace. Not your average camping trip. When the eco resort was created thousands of Cecropia trees (sloths’ favorite food) were planted, so remember to look up and you’ll likely spot some furry neighbors.
Playa Viva, Mexico
Playa Viva is a beautiful eco resort where bamboo treehouses hang from palm trees, and dunes lead to white sand beaches. Sustainability is taken seriously here and the hotel is B Corp certified, 100% off-grid, and they even have their own turtle sanctuary and reforestation projects. 2% of all overnight fees go to their regeneration project to help the environment and community of Juluchuca on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Ulaman Eco Retreat, Bali
This holistic retreat in Bali is the brainchild of an entrepreneur who fell in love with the Indonesian island and a ‘green architect’ who creates luxurious yet ecologically sound hotels. Ulaman was built using local materials found on site, bamboo structures and rammed earth walls create the distinctive, beautiful shapes of the villas. A custom-hydro turbine system provides energy to the 20 luxury villas that come with balconies, private pools or wooden bathtubs. If you’re feeling adventurous you can try the stand up paddle yoga class on the naturally filtered lake.
Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya
For an authentic African experience Campi ya Kanzi is hard to beat. Set in 375,000 acres of Kenyan wilderness and opened in partnership with the Maasai community that lives there, it offers 5 star luxury whilst being 100% solar and carbon neutral. Rain water is collected and stored to cover all their water needs and vehicles are electric and charged from the solar powered batteries. Any carbon emissions are offset with an afforestation program, meaning this is a truly carbon neutral way to safari.
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn has been doing luxury sustainability since 1992. On the dramatic coast of Big Sur bio-structured, earth sheltered cabins with green roofs blend seamlessly into the wilderness. After chilling in the spa where local honey and medicinal plants are used, you can take guided forest nature walks, do yoga and meditation in the trees or look for whales from the cliffs. To really immerse yourself in the surrounding nature, stay in one of their treehouse rooms, with a skylight over the bed to fall asleep below the stars.
Seven cubes with glass walls in the middle of pristine Norwegian forest, with views of birch trees, a rushing river and snowy mountains. Rather than one big hotel that would disturb the landscape, the architects built these separate lodgings on steel stilts to minimize impact and let people be as close to nature as possible. They call Juvet a ‘landscape hotel’ and what a landscape it is. Within a nature reserve of towering mountains and valleys you can ski, hike, raft and climb. Succession fans might recognise this one from the billionaire Roys visit to Norway.
Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
Mongolia might not be your first thought for a vacation but Three Camel Lodge is something special for those interested in sustainability. Built using ancient Buddhist temple construction methods the accomodation was built to reflect Mongolian culture and the nature surrounding them. Trek on camel back through the mysterious desert by day and rest in a luxurious traditional ’ger’ by night, a yurt-like structure with wool carpets, wood stoves and hand painted furniture.
Long Story Short...
If you want to travel with less guilt, stay in places that leave as light a touch as possible and get access to some of the most beautiful untouched landscapes around the world, eco resorts are the way to go. These are just some of the top eco resorts we have found, but there are more being built every year, as travelers start to look for sustainability for the future.
Written by Laura Sedlak