Having recently read and commented on a post about the lack of green hotels in the world, I felt compelled to put proverbial pen to paper. This lead to more ferreting through the Smith collection for hotels that are not just paying eco lip service or making token, bandwagon-riding environmental efforts.
Here are the top eco-hotels in our collection and why they are genuinely green:
1. Tiamo in the Bahamas. This little resort is miles from anywhere, powered exclusively by eco-electricity (it has the largest solar field in Central/South America), eschews TV, phones and the ilk, produces its own food, and uses water and baking soda as its cleaning products.
2. Nihiwatu on the untouched Indonesian island of Sumba. It’s similarly isolated, and about as back-to-nature as you can get. It’s built entirely from locally sourced materials, and staff are strongly involved in conserving the local island forests and helping the locals – megalithic tribespeople.
3. Brunton Boatyard in Kerala. This is one of the CGHEarth group’s babies. They specialise in creating beautiful building with minimal environmental impact. As well as recycling everything that can be recycled, (the hotel’s bags, envelopes, laundry sacks, etc are all made from newspaper and the have a water reclaiming plant), the walls are lime-washed, meaning no eco-unfriendly paint.
4. Marari Beach Resort in Kerala. This hotel’s won a fair few awards for its eco programme, which includes sewage treatment, solar water heating, organic veg gardens and a biogas generator.
5. Coconut Lagoon in Kerala (Kerala seems to be an especially eco destination). You can only get here by boat, for starters. This is another CGHEarth place – a wooden-hut resort village centred on an Ayurvedic spa. They do eco tours around the property so you can see how waste food is converted into biogas and waste water is ultra-filtered by ‘reverse osmosis’. Whatever that is…
6. Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize. Francis Ford Coppola’s first hotel in Central America (the other two, Turtle Inn, also in Belize, and La Lancha, in Guatemala are also pretty eco). This mounatin lodge is powered by its own hydroelectric plant, has no wasteful air-con as its layout is designed to be naturally cool, and sources its food from a kitchen garden and its own orchard.
7. Vigilius Mountain Resort. One of the world’s most energy-efficient hotels, Vigilius was fashioned into the South Tyrol mountainside out of wooden and glass, specially designed for low heat requirements, and fitted with a biomass electricity generator.
And finally, here’s a vacation rental/self-catering property that goes the extra mile:
Trevenna in Cornwall. Located in the middle of Bodmin Moor, it’s a collection of five luxurious wooden barns that have been given a massive eco overhaul, built and maintained to ensure that staying here entails no adverse environmental impact.