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19. May 2021
by Varun Sharma
Sustainability is the most important watchword for every luxury hotel & resort brand.
Conscious travellers have been the driving force behind this movement by ensuring that their travels, the hotels they stay in and their operations are as environmentally friendly and indeed sustainable as possible. This has led to eco-friendly hotels looking far beyond the usual sustainable measures such as recycling plastics, limiting paper printing, and serving organic eggs at breakfast. From rainwater recycling to harnessing solar energy, leading hotels are successfully bridging the gap between luxury and environmental awareness, ensuring that the two are no longer mutually exclusive.
Here’s a look at some of the most successful eco-friendly luxury hotels & resorts on Mother Earth:
Located in Thailand’s south-east corner, close to the border with Cambodia, Soneva Kiri Koh Kood (along with its equally impressive sister properties in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani) is one of the finest examples of eco-luxury in the hospitality industry.
A favourite of countless royal families, actors and rock stars, Soneva Kiri is premier barefoot luxury with a conscience. The entire resort, as picturesque as it is, is also completely self-sufficient when it comes to water, every drop needed for the resort is harvested from rainwater and underground wells. Guests are also encouraged to participate in sustainable initiatives that promote care for the local environment, such as learning about cultivating tropical fruits and the secrets of beekeeping and honey production.
This is what eco-luxury dreams are made of. In the heart of a 100-hectare marine reserve off the coast of Cambodia, set over two small and remote private islands, Song Saa is a collection of 27 expansive villas, each with wondrous ocean views from private plunge pools. Villas are either nestled amidst the hillside jungle or perched over the sea on stilts.
The laid-back luxury of Song Saa Private Island is complemented by lauded environmental initiatives. A resort collective is developing a micro solar grid that will produce enough energy to power both Song Saa Private Island and the 650-person village of Prek Svay on Koh Rong. It is hoped that similar projects will then be rolled-out across Cambodia and South East Asia to the benefit of those who have no access to reliable energy.
Part of the idyllic islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, North Island - a Luxury Collection Resort - is one of the world’s most enchanting luxury resorts and one that rates conservation of its stunning natural setting as its highest priority.
An intimate resort with just 11 spacious villas, North Island offers all the things you would expect from a deluxe paradise island resort - as it boasts perfect, fine white-sand beaches, endless water sports, activities, faultless service and fine dining. But the property wins most praise for the work it is doing to help the island’s native species of flora and fauna, which has seen a number of bird species return to the island while Hawksbill and green sea turtles once again nest on the island’s beaches.
One Aldwych, London - 9/10
London’s environmentally friendly boutique hotel, One Aldwych, five minutes walk from Covent Garden, embraces sustainable tourism whilst retaining the refined five-star service it is known for, granting guilt-free luxury to its guests.
The hotel uses only biodegradable packaging for all in-room amenities; 100% pure and natural cosmetic products from T London; and a chlorine-free swimming pool, which uses a mineral-based cleaning system. These measures have led One Aldwych to become the only hotel in the UK to be awarded the Luxury Eco Certification Standard (LECS) from Sustainable Travel International (STI).
Set within 11 hectares of lush foliage, overlooking the quaint village of Gargnano from its mountainside position, Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda prides itself on its environmentally friendly philosophy, from its construction with local materials to the home-grown produce used in its kitchens.
As well as being home to a phenomenal multi-award winning spa, this eco-resort boasts beautifully authentic rooms with locally sourced walnut and olive flooring, a glass-fronted gym, and a fitness path with five meditation areas dotted along it. Lefay produces its own olive oil, the on-site Mediterranean restaurant uses only seasonal produce from nearby farms, and all electricity used is obtained from renewable sources.
Mandapa - A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a luxurious and eco-friendly gem in Bali’s spiritual and cultural heart, Ubud. Along with 60 spacious suites and villas, two swimming pools and a luxury spa, Mandapa boasts its own organic garden, farm, and an eco-educational children's learning centre where education, conservation and adventure are combined.
The property is surrounded by verdant rice paddy fields - the harvested rice of which is used in Mandapa’s kitchens alongside fragrant spices, colourful vegetables, tender meats and local fish.
ITC Gardenia, India - 8/10
Arrive in style by a 20-minute helicopter shuttle from Bengaluru to the ultra eco-conscious five-star ITC Gardenia, A Luxury Collection Hotel where Indian luxury lays on a foundation of sustainable practices.
Nature is the theme here, from the vast, wind-cooled lobby blooming with vertical gardens, to the rooftop restaurant complete with a grass roof. As a result of the state-of-the-art green technologies in use at the hotel, such as water recycling, energy and waste management, and the use of eco-friendly materials in its architecture and decor, guests can reduce their carbon footprint by over 60%.
Set atop high cliffs on the Bukit Peninsula, on the southern tip of Bali, above the Indian Ocean’s prime surfing waves, Alila Villas Uluwatu is a modern spectacle. Comprising just 30 luxuriously simple private villas, a fantastic holistic spa, two world-class restaurants and a glamorous 50-metre swimming pool, the intimate resort is an eco-conscious traveller’s paradise.
One of the most luxurious resorts in Bali, and on an island overflowing with them, the property is also doing its bit for the environment. A variety of eco-friendly measures has seen the hotel become the first in Indonesia to receive the highest level of certification from Green Globe for Environmentally Sustainable Design.
Situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton, masterchef Raymond Blanc’s famous property, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, a Belmond Hotel is an opulent country oasis that is devoted to French flair, idyllic English service, and what it calls responsible luxury.
With 32 individually designed rooms and suites, the traditional manor house is best known for its outstanding two-Michelin star restaurant where celebrated chef Raymond Blanc serves exquisite haute cuisine based on seasonal, organic, free-range and wild produce, much from the hotel’s own garden. There is also an incredible wine cellar stocked with over a 1000 labels.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - 9/10
A look at eco-luxury hotels could not be complete without a trip to the Maldives, where Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is located - in the Indian Ocean’s largest and deepest atoll, Huvadhoo. The hotel opened in late 2009 and has since won numerous awards for its sustainable practices and eco-friendly initiatives.
Along with a fitness and health centre, multiple swimming pools, and a five-star PADI diving water sports centre, Park Hyatt Hadahaa houses ‘Battuta’s’, the only indigenous restaurant in the Maldives serving gourmet regional cuisine.
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