- Bill Starkey
7 Eco-Hotels That Have Changed the Landscape of Green Building
With climate change-driven weather events occurring with increasing ferocity all over the world, eco-friendly resorts have soared in popularity, presenting environmentally conscious travelers with a prime opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint. From coastal lodges to jungle retreats, we explore seven of the world’s most spectacular eco-hotels.
1. Six Senses Con Dao – Vietnam
Located on an archipelago just off the coast of Vietnam, this eco-friendly paradise was created to give back to the community while providing guests with top-notch services and amenities, including personal butlers and private guides.
Boasting its own turtle sanctuary, Six Senses Con Dao allows guests to participate in early morning hatchling releases on the beach. The resort has also partnered with a local national park, pledging to protect coastal reefs and beach areas fronting the venue, which is home to the elusive, endangered dugong.
2. Fogo Island Inn – Canada
An “island off an island,” Fogo Island lies off the coast of Newfoundland on the eastern coast of Canada. Perched on stilts overlooking the ocean, this futuristic masterpiece was built using sustainable materials. Serving up delicious dishes made from local, organic produce, Fogo Island Inn operates an inhouse recycling program and is powered by wood-burning and solar energy sources.
Whether you prefer to kayak among the icebergs or watch them lazily drift by through the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows, Fogo Island Inn presents a unique opportunity to experience the untamed natural beauty of the wildest, most powerful ocean on Earth.
3. Adrère Amellal – Egypt
Situated on the shores of the vast Salt Lakes of Siwa, this exclusive eco-hotel is 100 percent off the grid, lit only by candles, gas lamps, and moonlight after sundown. It is crafted from kershaf, a traditional Egyptian blend of clay, salt, and sand.
At Adrère Amellal, guests can immerse themselves in nature and detach from the rigors of modern living. Incorporating a natural spring swimming pool shaded by a palm grove, the 40-room eco-lodge blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, its crafts and furniture a testament to talented local artisans.
Adrère Amellal is an Egyptian hideaway that provides simple solitude and stunning views while showing respect for the local community and surroundings. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the exceptional geological features of Siwa, Alexander the Great’s legendary oasis deep in the Egyptian desert.
4. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort – Fiji
Named after the famous conservationist, this five-star eco-friendly resort was crafted using sustainable local materials, such as wood. Today, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort relies on sustainable farming methods to grow produce for its kitchens and is illuminated using low-energy bulbs.
A mecca for sea lovers, the eco-hotel offers guests the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities, including snorkeling. With an inhouse marine biologist to help guests discover the natural wonders of the surrounding coral reefs, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort also stages educational presentations on marine life.
5. Kagga Kamma – South Africa
Kagga Kamma incorporates open-air bedrooms and cave-style rooms cut into pink rock formations. The resort is located in the Cederberg Mountains on the Western Cape of South Africa. Running on solar power and other sustainable power sources, this unique wilderness lodge is an ideal place to fall asleep beneath skies bursting with stars, since light pollution is non-existent here.
Popular daytime activities include mountain biking or hiking the network of trails that traverse a landscape that is home to wildlife ranging from aardvarks to zebra. After a day’s safari, guests can take a refreshing dip in Kagga Kamma’s natural rock pool, before enjoying a spectacular African sunset in this “oasis on the edge of time.”
6. Whitepod – Switzerland
Perched in the Swiss Alps 5,500 feet above sea level, Whitepod in Switzerland is not only eco-friendly but luxurious too. Its minimalist chalets are raised on wooden platforms to reduce contact with the ground, avoiding damage to the surrounding environment.
Water and energy at the resort are controlled, and all products used are 100 percent biodegradable. Ingredients for the hotel’s kitchen are locally produced, with staff residing within walking distance to negate the need for cars, further reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint. In summer, the hotel’s exterior turns camouflage green, helping the venue to blend in with the surrounding Swiss countryside.
7. Borgo Pignano – Italy
Nestled in picturesque Tuscany, this award-winning hotel offers uninhibited views of rolling hills and the Mediterranean Sea. Surrounded by 750 acres of vineyards and olive groves, this 18th-century villa is the perfect base for leisurely hikes, cycle tours, and horseback riding.
Committed to protecting its exquisite surroundings, Borgo Pignano was painstakingly restored using sustainable materials. Produce used in the hotel restaurant is grown in the resort’s vegetable gardens and organic farm, and the resort itself is fueled by discreetly placed solar panels.
An enchanting haven of tranquility, this beautifully restored country estate offers travelers an enticing combination of comfort, elegance, and sustainability.