From deep in the Scottish Highlands to the core of the Big Apple, today’s eco-conscious hotels are putting a fresh and thoughtful spin on sustainable travel, without compromising on luxury. Take a look at these awe-inspiring spots that carry environmentally-friendly practices to chic and stylish new heights.
Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway
Tucked in the valley of Valldal and seen in the movie, Ex Machina, the remote Juvet Landscape Hotel represents Norwegian eco-architecture at its finest. Built to blend respectfully into the forestry landscape, this minimalist marvel comprises 28 glass-walled rooms distributed across the hotel grounds – allowing for an intimate and immersive experience, as much as the complete conservation of its natural surrounds. While putting simplicity at the forefront of its design aesthetic, the hotel also keeps its reduced energy consumption in check.
Belle Mont Farm, Caribbean
With its community-oriented vision, edible golf course and farm-fresh cuisine, Belle Mont Farm is an impressive sanctuary for the eco-friendly escapist. Nestled on the Caribbean island of St Kitts, its secluded guesthouses, villas and farmhouses were designed with the resort’s surroundings in mind, and offer up views of lush forests and the Caribbean Sea. Come dinnertime, The Kitchen restaurant serves appetising dishes made with organic produce, sourced from responsible suppliers or straight from Belle Mont Farm’s 400-acre sustainable farm.
1 Hotel Central Park, New York
A rightfully self-designated refuge in the heart of Manhattan, newly opened 1 Hotel Central Park combines eco-friendly efforts with particularly creative, boutique interiors – picture an abundance of live plants and reclaimed wood-panelled walls alongside organic toiletries and hemp-blend mattresses, in a stylish blend of rustic and modern design. You’ll find thoughtful touches throughout – from its lobby farmstand selling locally-sourced produce, all the way up to its 1,200 square-foot Greenhouse suite with a living green wall.
The Scarlet, Cornwall
As it strives to redefine luxury from a sustainable standpoint, Cornwall‘s contemporary The Scarlet is a cliffside gem with unbeatable sea views. While here, you can relax in the outdoor cedar sauna, stroll through meadow gardens and lounge languorously in spacious, warm-toned rooms – all whilst knowing you’re respecting the environment. The hotel sources products responsibly and aims to reduce its carbon footprint and landfill waste year-on-year, efforts which have earned it a gold grading from Green Tourism along with a nomination for a Gold Star award.
Bardessono Hotel & Spa, Napa Valley
With its LEED Platinum certification and 2013 TripAdvisor GreenLeader Hotel status, this five-star spa hotel shines with its endless environmental initiatives – from heating and cooling systems designed to reduce its use of external energy, to its solar panels and low water consumption, to its gorgeous design based on salvaged materials. Other highlights include organic bed linens and hand-crafted bath products in the rooms, and a restaurant that focuses on field-to-fork cuisine and artisan cocktails. The result is a super-sleek abode that champions sustainability in the heart of California‘s scenic Napa Valley.
The Milestone Hotel, London
London‘s sophisticated, five-star Milestone Hotel is far more than an opulent Kensington abode with one of the capital’s finest afternoon teas: it puts preservation, local charities and green initiatives at the top of its responsibilities by training staff, recycling everything from glass to batteries, and using energy-saving lightbulbs and 100% carbon-neutral water. This grand dame hotel also supports worldwide causes and conservation facilities such as the Loggerhead Marinelife Centre in Florida.
Elephant Hills, Thailand
A firm believer in conservation-based tourism, Thailand‘s Elephant Hills places the endangered wild Asian elephant at its heart. Surrounded by lush vegetation and marvellous landscapes in the remote Khao Sok National Park, it offers respectful adventure tours which allow guests to wash, feed and interact with these gentle giants – before retiring to a luxurious and intimate safari tent in one of two camps. Elephant Hills was nominated for its preservation efforts by the National Geographic World Legacy Awards, and continues to work at improving schools and the quality of life in and around Khao Sok.
Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua
Set in a tropical forest on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, the community-driven, environmentally-aware Aqua Wellness Resort offers a chance to relax and revitalise in a peaceful setting. Designed using sustainable materials, techniques and labour, it features cosy tree houses that stand above the forest floor, in a conscious effort to protect the latter’s ecosystem. Aqua Wellness works in harmony with its unspoiled surrounds as much as with its community, and is part of Pack for a Purpose, which invites travellers to provide supplies for a local pre-school.
Eagle Brae, Scotland
For a truly unique stay in the Scottish Highlands, make for Eagle Brae – a ‘village’ of self-catering log cabins that take sustainability as seriously as they do chic rural living. Fully powered by renewables, the open-plan cabins are carbon-neutral and self-sufficient, and each has been hand-built and designed to modern perfection – with Scottish motifs, log-burning stoves and wooden furnishings featuring throughout. Look out for the wild deer that graze around the cabins.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Australia
Few places are quite as otherworldly as Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley – a five-star, conservation-based resort within Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains, with homestead-inspired villas and unbeatable vistas stretching far and wide. Spread across just one percent of its 7,000-acre conservancy, the hotel offers excursions dedicated to preserving local wildlife, and turns to organic produce from its very own garden when cooking up delicious dishes. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley was the first in the world to receive carboNZero’s esteemed carbon-neutral certification.
Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
From its prime location to its traditional-meets-modern interiors, Alila Jabal Akhdar certainly doesn’t miss a chance to impress. Located 2,000 metres above sea level, it faces a dizzying gorge and the picturesque Al Hajar Mountains, and was carefully designed according to LEED (Leader in Energy & Environmental Design) principles – using traditional construction techniques and local materials to blend seamlessly with its breathtaking surrounds. The hotel was awarded a Silver Certification for Environmental Practices by the LEED Green Building Council in 2015.
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