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As more and more travellers look for eco-friendly options when booking their stays, hotels are improving their sustainability efforts beyond encouraging guests to reuse towels. In fact, hotelsÂ save moneyÂ by going green as the cost of heat and electricity increase.Â Responsible tourism can coexist with a luxury vacation experience.
If you want some unique travel ideas for your next getaway, check out these wonderful hotels and resorts. They are all sustainable in one way or another, whether it’s by using renewable energy, going carbon neutral, or providing work opportunities to the underprivileged within the community.
1. Ecorkhotel –Â Ă‰vora, Suites & Spa
A modern hotel outside of Ă‰vora, a beautifully preserved medieval town. The restaurant serves traditional Portuguese cuisine, with a view of Alentejo plains. The spa and wellness centre offers indoor pools, a sauna, Turkish bath, balneotherapy, and massages.
How they’re sustainable: Eco certified, the buildings use cork for insulation and is heated by solar and geothermal energy.
Amboseli National Park Headquarters, Kenya
Stay here on your safari adventure at Amboseli National Park, a photographer’s dream, where you can see elephants and zebras. From basket weaving to Swahili lessons, guests also have plenty of on-site activities to choose from. On a clear day, Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen in the distance.
How they’re sustainable: The lodge gives various opportunities toÂ Kimanaâ€™s Womenâ€™s Group in Amboseli in a transparent trading platform.Â Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge took Silver in theÂ African Responsible Tourism Awards in the “Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction” category this year.
Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
This Moroccan-style luxury resort is next to a private beach inÂ Fujairah. With views of theÂ Hajar Mountains, stay here for a relaxed beach vacation or book water activities such as snorkelling and parasailing.
How they’re sustainable: The first Green Globe certified hotel in the east coast of UAE, Miramar Al Aqah is committed to preserving the environment and training the diverse staff with that knowledge. Learn about their green efforts in this video.
The Conservatorium is close to Amsterdam’s best museums. In fact, it’s right next toÂ Stedelijk Museum, with the Van Gogh Museum just steps away.Â With 129 suites spanning eight floors, this contemporary luxury hotel also has a shopping galley with high-end stores and a hair salon. There are also different dining and bar options inside the hotel, a spa and fitness centre.
How they’re sustainable: Green Globe certified, the Conservatorium uses a geothermal heat pump that harnesses naturally occurring heat in the ground, reuses water from the swimming pool in the sprinkler system, provides eco-friendly alternatives to disposable plastic containers, and uses eco-certified cleaning products. Piero Lissoni, designed the hotel to be more environmentally friendly, such as making the most of natural light throughout the building.
Kunfunadhoo Island, Maldives
The Baa Atoll is the Maldivesâ€™ only UNESCO World Biosphere reserve. On this beautiful island resort, guests are encouraged to get upÂ close with marine life by scuba diving, snorkelling or by learning the art of free diving. Aside from the resort spa, there’s an observatory, where you can stargaze through their state-of-the-art telescope, and Cinema Paradiso, an open air theatre where you can watch films under the stars.
How they’re sustainable:Â Since 2012, the resort has been carbon neutral for all activities including guests’ flights to the island. They also conserve water or preserve ecosystems, and use sustainable materials, amongst other initiatives. See their most recent sustainability report.
Los Cabos, Mexico
This modern boutique hotel is by the ocean. Their spa offers massages, facials, and body treatments. Other amenities include two outdoor swimming pools, a health club, and a sauna.
How they’re sustainable: El Ganza has been improving on their eco efforts by proving guests with reusable BPA-free bottles they can fill at the hotel’s many refilling stations and using recyclable straws. Their garden project now provides a variety of herbs, microgreens and vegetables used by the hotel’s Chef. They also source fresh product from a neighbouring organic farm. Only locally-sourced bath salts and toiletries are provided in the guest rooms. El Ganzo also has a Community Centre offering a free art program for local children. This year, the hotel will implement a special recycling training for staff.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Located in Siem Reap, a popular resort town famous for the Angkor temples, Shinta Mani was recently renovated in 2012 by architect-designer Bill Bensley. Treatments in the spa is based on traditional Khmer healing rituals and proven modern therapies to reduce stress and reset inner balance.
How they’re sustainable: The Shinta Mani Foundation trains underprivileged Cambodians to work in a world-class hotel. During the 10-month program, they receive free tuition, uniforms, materials, bicycles, two meals a day, as well as a stipend of rice and money for their families. Upon graduation, students have the skills to work in hospitality to support themselves and their families. Learn more about how Shanti Mani gives back to the community here and here.
After learning more about these hotels, I now have a serious case of wanderlust. For more on Wander and conscious traveling, read:
Gina Zammit’s Use Your Travels for Good with Wander Travel
Honestly Modern’sÂ Think Big and Shop Small to Make the Most of Your Tourist Dollars