Earth Day was April 22, and the theme this year is ‘invest in our planet’, and I encourage you to do just that by investing in eco-luxury accommodation on your next trip.
Yes, eco-luxury can cost more than ‘regular’ luxury accommodation, but it is worth it. Here’s why. Eco-luxury properties take sustainability seriously, with practices such as:
- They are architecturally designed with sustainability at the forefront
- They are constructed using recycled, locally sourced materials and blended into the setting with no damage to flora and fauna
- They generate their own electricity (such as solar or wind)
- They use LED lighting
- They recycle, and sustainably use waste materials, such as used cooking oil to power vehicles, or heat from ovens used to heat rooms
- They reuse ‘grey water’ from showers to water the garden
- They consult with the local community, have community ownership, and employ and train people from the local community, including in management
- They are carbon neutral, and some are even carbon positive, meaning your stay has a net positive effect on the environment
My team and I have scoured the globe identifying accommodation partners who share our vision for sustainable luxury travel; whilst eco-luxury accommodation options are not available everywhere, I am thrilled that the numbers are increasing.
In my opinion, Costa Rica leads the world in its commitment to eco-luxury, with a large number of sublime properties, including:
- Kasiiya – With such a small footprint and sensitive design and construction, Kasiiya could be dismantled within 48 hours and you would never know it had been there. Kasiiya hires and trains people from neighboring villages to work at the hotel. It sources produce and materials from local farmers, tradesmen, and craftsmen. Kasiiya invests 20% of all profits into social and environmental programs.
- El Silencio – More than 95% of el Silencio’s staff is local and gives back through employment opportunities, local purchases, and the growing relationship with its closest neighbor, the Los Bajos del Toro community. El Silencio holds the maximum Six-Leaf Rating in Costa Rica’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism.
- Lapa Rios – Lapa Rios protects 1,000 acres of tropical rainforest, uses solar energy for heating, has water turbines, uses organic cleaning products and bath amenities, and has a no-plastics policy
- Pacuare Lodge – No trees were cut to accommodate the bungalows and main lodge, the buildings use timber from a small farmer-run reforestation project. The thatch roofs were made by local Cabecar Indians using palm leaves from the forest reserve.
Thailand also has some excellent eco-luxe resorts, with my favourites being:
- Soneva Kiri – Soneva has a Foundation that funds a variety of awesome projects, including eco-stoves in Myanmar, forest restoration, clean water in villages, hunger relief, and ocean stewardship.
- Six Senses – Six Senses used renewable building materials, and deploys passive cooling, electric transport, and biodegradable cleaning products.
- Aleenta Phuket – Aleenta has eliminated single-use plastics, and teaches sustainable farming techniques in schools
- Zeavola – has its own water bottling plant, has replaced plastic packaging, and has Thailand’s most impressive wastewater management system
Some other eco-luxury options from around the world are:
Kenya – Basecamp Masai Mara has adopted innovative drought mitigation techniques, recycles grey water, has recycled over 2,000kg of plastics, uses solar power, and has launched other income-generating initiatives for the local community
South Africa – The Homestead uses solar power, was constructed with local stones and ethically sourced local wood, uses rainwater, and you can encounter the wildlife in electric vehicles.
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Australia – One & Only Wolgan Valley has adopted energy conservation principles, such as LED lighting, sensors, and timers, as well as solar panels for heating and exterior lighting. The resort sources food from local artisan, organic producers, with rainwater providing 70% of drinking water.
Go and invest your travel money in eco-luxury accommodation – the planet will thank you!
Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.
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