Sometimes you want to travel just to get away and relax. From luxury hotels to all-inclusive resorts, there are endless places to stay when you just want to kick your feet up by a pool and forget your troubles. Increasingly though, people are wanting to make sure that their relaxing getaway isn’t causing more trouble for the planet, as major hotel chains churn out wasteful buffet breakfasts and erode the physical and cultural landscape around them. That’s where eco resorts step in, a 21st century solution to luxury stays that don’t harm the environment. With their own power generators, water treatment systems and general soothing décor, these stays are a guaranteed renewing retreat for you and the environment.
Six Senses – Fiji
This private island is powered entirely by solar energy which feeds Tesla battery packs. Rainwater is also collected and purified for drinking water, reducing the need for plastic bottles. Surrounded by turquoise water and white sand beaches, the resort perfectly balances paradisiacal luxury with sustainability projects and provides a model for the future of luxury stays. Wider projects run by the resort include Iguana conservation, local farming projects to provide food for on-site restaurants and local hiring and development programs.
Mahali Mzuri Safari Camp – Kenya
This 12-tented luxury safari camp in the Kenyan bush is a front row seat to the action, with wild animals visible all-around you. Each villa is a glorified tent, with a cosy canvas canopy and plush furnishing. Most of the team are Maasai, and are employed locally, and the resort also works in collaboration with the charity Pack for a Purpose, delivering supplies to schools and local medical clinics.
Tivoli Eco Resort – Brazil
Hidden within thick forest, this eco resort offers 293 tastefully designed apartments, each with its own private pool. With colourful gardens, spa facilities for treatments and several on-site restaurants, this is 5-star luxury in a sustainable form. It is also just a few miles from beaches such as Forte’s and Imbassai, where it is possible to glimpse whales and turtle nests.
Casa de Uco – Argentina
This resort is nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, constructed from local materials and designed to be highly sustainable. The hotel has in-built solar collectors, collecting rainwater and irrigated droplets from the vineyards, reusing the water to prevent damage to the environment. The restaurants serve food straight from the organic garden. Activities include: spa treatments, free horse riding and winery tours.
Cuixmala Resort – Mexico
This 30,000-acre compound has been converted into an ecological reserve, offering rooms within several stunning orange stone properties. The site is also home to three restaurants, a 5,000-acre bio-dynamic farm, 26 horses, 3 private wild beaches and even wild zebras and elands. Additionally, the resort boasts 150 ongoing research projects, making it a fascinating place of scientific interest.
Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica Lodge – Chile
This lodge is instantly recognisable with its greenery-adorned central structure in the shape of a mountain, reminiscent of a hobbit-home. The hotel blends directly into the rainforest, with tunnels and rope bridges allowing you to burrow between your room and the various pools and restaurants that are tastefully hidden on-site. The lodge also has an emphasis on eco-friendly activity excursions, from hiking tours to bike rides.
Taj Exotica – India
Nestled in the Bay of Bengal on the Adaman Islands, this resort is paradise for nature lovers. Between the mangroves, 50 luxurious cabins have been constructed on stilts with wide open decks, to take in the natural scenery and glimpse wild birds and fish. The hotel also has its own bottling plant facility to reuse plastic bottles, and large-scale recycling facilities.
Yun House – China
This resort has been cleverly designed to blend into the rural Chinese village that surrounds it, converted from nine farmhouses. Using steel frames and rough-cut stone, the farmhouses are a perfect blend of earthy textures and modern, luxury fittings. The site has glorious views of the Yangshuo mountains and is just a five-minute walk from the Li River, where bamboo boats are waiting to take you on a misty boat ride into the unknown.
Casa de las Olas – Mexico
Another Mexican eco resort, this time with the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status, this site is the real deal when it comes to sustainability. From solar panels to hand-sorted waste, everything about this resort is gold-star sustainability and a guaranteed guilt-free stay. Despite this, it doesn’t pass up on luxury at all, with wellness facilities (including a yoga studio) and dazzling lagoon and Mayan archaeological tours. It is also offering a stay + work digital nomad package for 2021!
Zuri Zanzibar – Tanzania
This hotel in Tanzania was designed to resemble an African village, with 56 thatched roofed bungalows and a large tropical garden. Located on the white beaches of the shores of Unguja and boasting a swimming pool and wellness centre, visitors are guaranteed their rest and relaxation here. The resort also implements several long term sustainability initiatives, such as education, environment and waste management, working in collaboration with the local community.