Ten amazingly eco-friendly hotels

EnvironmentMaldive Islands

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ECOTOURISM: As this year's Earth Day approaches, we take a look at ten hotels around the world doing their bit to reduce our planet's carbon footprint and promote a sustainable way of travelling.

1. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, The Maldives

1. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, The Maldives
© No Limit Fotodesign / Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

"Straight out of your most lavish dreams"

Luxury doesn't do justice to this hotel, like something straight out of your most lavish dreams. Located on an island paradise in the Maldives, the hotel's numerous cabins are interspersed in and around beach, trees and the turquoise ocean itself - yes, the villas are built on stilts in the shallow waters themselves, connected to the land by walkways.

The hotel was the first of the Park Hyatt range to be designed around the principles of sustainable tourism, and was recognised by EarthCheck for its efforts to minimise the impact on the local environment through energy conservation, waste management, and protecting local coral and endangered species.

Read more about the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa in our review.

2. Ard Nahoo, Ireland

2. Ard Nahoo, Ireland
© Easyvoyage

"A health retreat with an eco-friendly ethos"

If you're looking for a health retreat with an eco-friendly ethos, look no further than Ard Nahoo in Ireland's picturesque County Leitrim. This eco-retreat offers an incredible mix of luxury accommodation, relaxing treatments and an environmental policy to please even the greenest of eco-warriors.

The resort's three Eco Cabins, which can sleep up to seven people, were built using exclusively local wood and are powered entirely by wind turbines. Once you've settled in, choose from a huge range of relaxation treatments, including yoga, massages and reflexology. The retreat even has a chef on hand to whip up healthy, vegetarian meals - always incorportating as much local, organic produce as possible.

To rent an Eco Cabin and find out more about their treatments and eco-ethos, visit the Ard Nahoo website.

3. Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda, Italy

3. Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda, Italy
© Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda

"The full-blown R&R experience"

Located on the slopes above Italy's largest lake, Lake Garda, in Lombardia, the Lefay Resort and Spa integrates environmental care with an experience that emphasises overall well-being. With plenty of options for the full-blown R&R experience, Lefay gives you an opportunity to recover in true luxury.

The building was designed to maximise energy efficiency - a fact which, while requiring a little extra investment early on, has quickly proved cost efficient. They also collect rainwater for reuse, and manage their waste sustainably.

Learn more on Lefay's website.

4. Garonga Safari Camp, Phalaborwa, South Africa

4. Garonga Safari Camp, Phalaborwa, South Africa
© Garonga Safari Camp

"Enjoy the peace of the savannah"

Garonga Safari Camp consists of 12 luxurious cabins spread across the Makalali Conservancy: a beautiful, immersive experience. Enjoy the peace of the savannah as the sounds of nature flitter into the cabins; benefit from nature and wildlife right at your doorstep.

Garonga has taken a number of concrete steps to minimise their impact on the surrounding environment. They use solar panels to generate 30% of their electricity, their water-heating system is powered by energy-efficient pumps, they started growing their own vegetables, and their jeeps are run on locally produced bio-diesel.

Learn more at Garonga's website.

5. Adrère Amellal: Desert Ecolodge, Egypt

5. Adrère Amellal: Desert Ecolodge, Egypt
© Adrere Amellal

"Escape from the modern world"

Adrère Amellal is located in the extraordinary Siwa Oasis - a place that time forgot. This historic Berber city, deep in the Egyptian desert, has preserved a unique way of life over hundreds of years.

Adrère Amellal offers 40 rooms, each built in the traditional style with salt rock and palm, allowing them to blend in with the surrounding landscape. There is no electricity - rooms are lit with candles, while the thick walls allow them to keep a moderate temperature. This is truly a place to escape from the modern world.

Discover more about Adrère Amellal on their website.

6. Tiamo Ecolodge, the Bahamas

6. Tiamo Ecolodge, the Bahamas
© Chris Sanders 2009 / Tiamo Ecolodge

"An exclusive clientele in search of eco-friendly luxury"

With great surroundings comes great environmental responsibility and the Bahamas' Tiamo resort has really taken this ethos to heart. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the resort on the island of South Andros lends itself to an exclusive clientele in search of eco-friendly luxury.

The rooms here are protected by a simple mosquito net, with no walls to obstruct the incredible views out onto the surrounding natural habitat of white, sandy beaches and unspoilt forests. The entire construction and subsequent functioning of the hotel is based around protecting the environment - from the exposed timber beams used in the roof to the complete lack of electricity-guzzling technology.

To find out more about the Tiamo resort, take a look at our complete review.

7. Nakia Resort and Dive, Taveuni Island, Fiji

7. Nakia Resort and Dive, Taveuni Island, Fiji
© Vilainecrevette / 123RF

"A top pick amongst the world's keenest divers"

Sandwiched between the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the lush green forests of Taveuni Island, in Fiji, the Nakia Resort has ecotourism at the heart of all its endeavours. Overlooking the Somosomo Strait, as well as lesser-known Rainbow Reef, the resort is a top pick amongst the world's keenest divers.

Built from natural and local resources, the rooms are simple yet wonderfully effective - powered entirely by the resort's solar panels, wind turbine and hydroelectric turbine. Water is provided from a natural spring on the island and the resort has its own food garden - free from pesticides or environmentally-damaging chemicals. Protecting the sealife around the island also comes high on Nakia's list of priorities, with full awareness courses given to divers before trips.

For full details on the resort's eco-friendly repertoire and diving options, check out the Nakia Resort and Dive website.

8. Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas, Australia

8. Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas, Australia
© Thala Each Lodge

"Wait for night to fall and take a peek into the heavens"

The art-deco Thala Beach Lodge in Port Douglas has been credited with one of the highest awards ecotourism certifications and from the moment you step on the 145-acre private headland, you can see why. As well as actively contributing to the rehabilitation of the surrounding environment, the resort places its guests at the very centre of nature.

From Coral Sea Bungalows to Jungle Walks, the Lodge provides a stunning range of accommodation in different natural habitats - aiming to educate guests about the wildlife and conservation of these key ecosystems. As well as a room, visitors can expect a range of 'experiences' as part of their stay. Learn from the elders of the indigenous Kuku Talanji community about bush foods and healing plants, or wait for night to fall and take a peek into the heavens from the lodge's incredible outdoor observatory.

For more information on rooms and activities at the lodge, go to the Thala Beach Lodge official webpage.

9. URBN Hotel, Shanghai, China

9. URBN Hotel, Shanghai, China
© Urbn Hotel Shanghai

"Design-meets-sustainable hotel"

China may not be the first place you think of for low carbon emission and general environmental awareness, but Shanghai's URBN Hotel is promoting exactly that. It is the city's first entirely carbon-neutral outfit and, located in the central district of Jing'An, doesn't compromise on design.

Converted from an old factory warehouse, the hotel has used locally-sourced or recycled materials throughout, as well as installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems for the rooms. Even the menu for the Downstairs restaurant is environmentally conscious and the hotel claims that the rest of its carbon footprint is offset by its participation in the Million Tree Project - planting trees in Mongolia in an attempt to reduce CO2 emissions.

More information on the hotel's eco-friendly ethos and booking is available on the URBN Hotel official website.

10. Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, Costa Rica

10. Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, Costa Rica
© Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn

"Eco-heaven on earth"

Engulfed in the tranquil surroundings of the Costa Rican cloud forests, the Finca Rosa Blanca is a coffee plantation with a distinct difference. Not only does it welcome guests to its thirteen-room luxury inn, it does so with eco-friendly practices and organic products.

The plantation has been awarded the country's highest ecotourism accolade - five green leaves - for its efforts. As well as underground electricity systems to avoid interference with the surrounding natural habitat, the hotel uses its coffee pulp as fertilizer to produce beans that are 100 percent organic. Even the rooms' linen is made from bamboo fibre and guests can opt for spa treatments with organic coffee products - eco-heaven on earth!

Find out more about rooms at the Finca Rosa Blanca Inn, as well as extra information on its sustainable practices, on the plantation's official website.

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Posted on 30/03/2015
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