Hotels are going green.
The top players in the hotel business are wisening up to the fact the environment matters. Conscious travellers have been the driving force behind the trend by ensuring that their travels, the hotels they stay at and their operations are as environmentally friendly and 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 in the morning. From rainwater recycling to harnessing solar energy, some 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 the most successful, the 10 most luxurious eco-friendly five-star hotels on the planet.
Soneva Kiri Koh Kood, Thailand 9.6
Located in Thailand’s south-east corner, near the border of Cambodia, Soneva Kiri Koh Kood, along with its equally impressive sister property in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi, is two of the best examples in the world of true eco-luxury.
A favourite of numerous royal families, actors and rock stars, Soneva Kiri is premier barefoot luxury with a conscious. The entire resort, as picturesque as it is, is also completely self-sufficient when it comes to water, getting every drop needed from rainwater and 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.
Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia 9.4
This is what eco-luxury dreams are made of. In the middle 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 SE Asia to the benefit of those who have no access to reliable energy.
North Island Resort Mahe, Seychelles 10.0
Part of the idyllic islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, North Island Mahe is one of the world’s most enchanting luxury resorts and one that rates conservation of its stunning natural setting as a high priority.
An intimate resort with just 11 villas – although they are each very, very spacious – North Island offers all the things you’d expect from a 5-star paradise island resort in way of perfect white-sand beaches, endless water sports and activities, and fine dining. But the property wins most praise for the work it’s doing to help the island’s native species of plants and animals, which has seen a number of bird species return to the island while hawksbill and green turtles once again nest on the island’s beaches.
One Aldwych, London 9.2
London’s environmentally friendly hotel, One Aldwych, five minutes from Covent Garden, embraces sustainable tourism whilst retaining the refined five-star service it’s known for, granting guilt-free luxury to 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 27 acres, looking over the charming village of Gargnano from its mountainside position, Lefay Resort 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 floors, a glass-fronted gym, and a fitness path with five meditation areas dotted along it. Lefay also makes its own olive oil, the on-site Mediterranean restaurant uses seasonal produce from nearby farms, and all electricity used is from renewable sources.
Mandapa A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud, Indonesia 9.9
Named as the best hotel in Asia and second-best hotel in the world by TripAdvisor in its 2017 Traveler’s Choice Awards, Mandapa A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is the luxurious and eco-friendly gem of Bali’s spiritual and cultural heart, Ubud.
Along with 60 spacious suites and villas, two swimming pools and a luxury spa, Mandapa also has its own organic garden, farm, and an eco-educational kid’s hut where education, conservation and adventure are combined. The property is surrounded by verdant rice paddies, the harvested rice of which is used in Mandapa’s kitchens alongside fragrant spices, colourful vegetables, tender meats and local fish.
Arrive in style by a 20-minute helicopter shuttle from Bangalore city to the ultra eco-conscious five-star ITC Gardenia, 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 with its 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, you will reduce your carbon footprint by over 60% when you stay here, claims the hotel.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia 9.2
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 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, an island overflowing with them, the hotel 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.
Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, UK 10.0
Situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton, Raymond Blanc’s famous hotel Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons is an opulent country oasis that’s 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 OBE serves exquisite haute cuisine based on seasonal, organic, free-range and wild produce, much from the hotel’s own garden. There’s also an incredible wine cellar stocked with over a 1000 wines.
A look at eco-luxury hotels wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Maldives, where Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is found situated 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.