By Dian Hasan | May 28, 2009
Al Gore may have made the term “planet in peril” permanently enter our psyche. From driving hybrid cars to recycling and going “green” and organic, it has morphed into our lifestyle. Influencing how we travel as well. These days, we can go on vacation while concurrently reducing our carbon footprint.
The following are the Top 10 Eco-Friendly Resorts where guests will find an emphasis on organic produce, sustaining local industry and staying in accommodations that combine luxury with the surrounding natural habitat. All these resorts in unusual travel destinations are doing their part to safeguard the environment, without sacrificing the creature comforts travelers are accustomed to and a stay-experience they expect from a great resort.
The Lodge at Sun Ranch, Montana, USA
Formerly known as Papoose Creek Lodge, this is the first eco-lodge established in the U.S. The Lodge is constructed from pre-existing structures, recycled building materials and utilizes only local contractors. All meals are prepared from local, natural, free-range and organic products in a rural, rustic and relaxing setting. The Lodge is also a member of 19 local conservation organizations. For more info: the Lodge at Sun Ranch
Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Queensland, Australia
In this unique ecological environment, you’ll find yourself at one with nature in any of the 15 tranquil rainforest villas in tree house-style resort accommodations. Native Aboriginies call the area “Wawu-karrba” which means “healing of the spirit.” Indulge in Aboriginal-inspired massages and spa therapies designed to harness the forces of nature. Listen to the birds and the natural sounds of the Daintree and dine on fresh, native ingredients at the Julyamba restaurant. For more info: Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa.
Andros Island, Kamalame Cay, The Bahamas
This 96-acre private island hideaway just off the coast of Andros Island is accessible only by the resort’s private ferry or seaplane. With nineteen rooms and suites, the retreat boasts miles of unspoiled beaches and an overwater spa. Take an eco tour of the island to discover the wealth of tropical pants and birds as well as the remote settlement of Red Bays, where basket-making and sponging remain the principal industry. For more info: Andros Island, Kamalama Cay, The Bahamas.
Hotel Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Embedded in a secluded tract of tropical dry forest, this globally-threatened ecosystem is home to over 400 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles as well as unique trees and tropical flowers. With a genuine commitment to responsible tourism, the hotel offers a myriad of accommodations (rooms, suites, casitas and villas) and activities such as canopy zip lining, horseback riding, surfing, hiking, bird watching and golfing. For more info: Hotel Punta Islita.
Vanua Levu Jean-Michel Cousteau, Fiji Islands Resort
Located on seventeen acres of a coconut plantation, this resort boasts picturesque lagoons and accommodations made from local Fijian materials. Among the eco-friendly activities available are trips with the resort’s full-time marine biologist: exploring the coral reef, planting mangroves and learning about the coastal ecosystem. Meals are served using fresh herbs, spices and vegetables grown in the resort’s organic garden. For more info: Fiji Islands Resort.
Shergarh Tented Camp at Kanha Tiger Reserve, India
Shergarh is an exclusive camp providing tented accommodation at the southern edge of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, which boasts 940 square kilometers of sal and bamboo forests where over 100 tigers and 22 other mammal species roam. Each tent is individually spaced inside a wooded grove, and comes with a front veranda and an attached bathroom. Food is prepared from home-grown vegetables, local produce and fish farmed from the camp’s lake. For more info: Shergarh Tented Camp.
Nihiwatu, Sumba Island, Indonesia
This small and exclusive island hideaway in eastern Indonesia encompasses 438 acres of tropical forest, rice terraces, grasslands and pristine beaches. Explore the surrounding Stone Age sites and centuries-old traditional villages. Seven luxury bungalows and three two-bedroom villas are all hand-built by Indonesian craftsman using local materials. Relax in the jungle spa, and take advantage of Yoga, Pilates and meditation classes. For more info: Nihiwatu.
Tenuta di Spannocchia, Sienna, Italy
Integrating local historic architecture and the Siena landscape, Spannocchia is a working organic farm, a center for education and enrichment focused on both ecological and cultural history, and a multinational community. Stay in a rustic room and relish the local hiking paths, farm animals, verdant gardens and stunning views. After a day exploring the area, sit down to a meal of organic pasta under your very own pergola covered with white Trebbiano grapes. For more info: Spannocchia.
Angsana Resort & Spa, Ihuru, Maldives
Palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters and pristine reefs are the signatures of this eco-friendly retreat. Blending villa living, holistic spa pleasures and ecological adventures, Angsana Maldives Ihuru also offers eco-conservation programs, escorted snorkelling safaris and reef excursions. The 45 villas are spread across the circumference of the coral island and open directly onto the beach. All are furnished with thatched roofs, private gardens and have minimalist-influenced interiors. For more info: Angsana Resorts.
Hotelito Desconocido, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Designed as the ultimate one-of-a-kind retreat, this eco-luxury resort was developed by the Italian fashion designer, Marcello Murzilli (Charro). Guests will find no electricity, telephones, flashy restaurants or buzzing nightlife. Instead, there are alternative powered ceiling fans, biodegradable products and candle- or torch-lit rooms and pathways. Visit the local fishing village, snorkel or bodysurf in the local waters, or take a tour around the village of Cruz de Loreto. For more info: Epoque Hotels
Partially inspired by piece that appeared in Forbes Traveler.