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The Best Eco Resort Designs Around the World

While travelling across oceans can have a serious carbon footprint, there are ways to make sure your travel is as responsible and sustainable as possible: all without losing luxury and style. To help you with the matter, I’ve curated a list of the best designed eco-resorts around the world. 

Research shows that global interest in ecotourism (which was defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”) has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the Center For Responsible Travel’s Travel Trends & Statistics report, around one in five consumers (21%) say they would be willing to pay more for a trip with a company that has a better environmental and social record. A report by The Travel Foundation found that 66% of travelers surveyed would like to be able to identify a “greener” holiday more easily. And 84% of those working in travel PR/marketing see “green” credentials becoming increasingly important in the near future. Unfortunately, these sorts of stats attract a good bit of greenwashing from profit-driven people looking to cash in on the eco-friendly movement. So how do you find a responsibly managed eco resort when you travel? And what’s the difference between an eco resort, eco lodge, and an eco hotel?

The primary difference between an eco resort and an eco lodge is generally the amount of services that are provided on site. In general, eco resorts tend to be located on larger properties than eco lodges, and may offer more amenities, such as spas, a choice of restaurants, and/or a variety of local tours. However, in our personal experiences, the terms eco lodge and eco resort are used somewhat interchangeably. The biggest difference between an eco resort or eco lodge and an eco hotel is the setting in which you’ll find them. Eco resorts and eco lodges tend to be more remote, located in relatively pristine natural environments such as exotic islands, forests, and mountains. Eco hotels, on the other hand, are more often associated with cities and towns. One thing all three of these “green” accommodation options have in common is that they emphasize elements such as environmental responsibility and minimizing negative impact.

The best ones also offer renewable energy sources, recycling services, eco-friendly toiletries, energy efficient lighting, locally sourced food, organic linens, non-toxic cleaning supplies, non-disposable dishes, water conservation methods, and various other sustainability-focused initiatives. But most eco resorts tend to be more dependent on the natural environment than eco hotels. They’re also generally more active in nature and wildlife conservation, more focused on educating visitors about the flora and fauna of local ecosystems, and more deeply connected with the area’s indigenous culture (whose influence is often incorporated into the eco resort’s decor and restaurant menu). The best eco resorts and eco lodges also work to ensure positive relationships with the local people. They train and employ them at fair wages, take part in community development initiatives, offer activities that help visitors conserve and appreciate local customs, and contribute to the local economy.

1.Svart, Norway 

The first self-sustainable and bespoke resort in the world, the soon-to-open Svart aims to influence guests to care for nature preservation and also to teach them about the importance of global environmental issues. Some of its key pillars include: location nature preservation, greenhouse farming, and a sustainable operational and holistic approach of the guest journey. With an incredibly unique architecture that is both futuristic in design yet traditional in concept, this off-grid destination is truly a wonder to behold and be in. The breathtaking surroundings (which include a grand age-old glacier), unspoiled nature, and the committed environment-focused vision certainly make an experience at Svart a memorable and transformative one. The building itself is a spectacular modern circle, emerging from the water like a submarine turned spaceship.

 
 

2. Kachi Lodge, Bolivia 

In the remote corners of the world, an hour flight from la Paz, Bolivia offers some of the most exhilarating vistas: at 3660m high, the salar is one of them. On the immense salt flat, one journey takes you to another dimension: welcome to Kachi Lodge ! Set on a wooden platform near a cacti covered island, the six suites turn a stay on the altiplano into the most luxurious adventure. One where comfort and designed interiors meet the great outdoors: from the warmth of the dome-shaped suite, the salar unfolds like a mirror in the rainy season, or crystalline landscapes the rest of the year. At Kachi Lodge, the visionary mind-set of its founders – Amazing Escapes – pushes the boundaries of sustainable travels further: cutting edge green infrastructures, commitment to local culture and communities are a daily reality. Operational all year round, Kachi Lodge has teamed with the best in the region: unique food prepared by Bolivia’s most celebrated chef, one of a kind land art with Gastón Ugalde and an endless list of bespoke activities enhance every day at the lodge. Ready for a once in a lifetime adventure?

Composed of repeated equilateral triangles, the metallic structure is the very essence of mathematical elegance. Set up in a harmonious, rounded shape that echoes to local beliefs and cosmology, Kachi Lodge believes in a holistic approach. Staged by Swiss interior-decorator duo Marina Cardis and Marine Luginbuehl, the interiors convey a bohemian chic atmosphere: sourcing sustainable objects. In each dome, large bay windows offer panoramic views on the Salar and its star-studded sky. Lit up at night, they are one of the coolest, and most surrealist viewing station ever seen in the arid region. Lined up in the main dome, the same elements create the perfect lounge atmosphere: huge straw hanging-lamps, large sofas covered with dozens of stripped bayeta cushions and large reclaimed wooden furniture are all one needs to enjoy the salar’s endless vistas. At each end of the dome, Gastón Ugalde’s show stopping art works add a unique flair: two gigantic cactus woven sculptures personify local deities, while a green coloured figurative painting further welcomes the altiplano spirit. Outside, the vast terrace welcomes wooden banquettes and coffee tables: an ideal set-up for a sunbath at 3600m high!

 

3. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

Once asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, adventurer George Mallory quipped, “because it’s there.” The reason for creating Three Camel Lodge was precisely because of what wasn’t. Jalsa Urubshurow, CEO of Nomadic Expeditions and founder of Three Camel Lodge, had been sharing the undisturbed beauty of Mongolia with travelers since the country reopened in 1990, yet he was unable to find desirable accommodations for his guests. After careful consideration for the preservation of the region’s environment, culture and people, he opened Three Camel Lodge in 2002. It was, and remains, the only luxury ecolodge in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. The unique constellation of gerts rests in the heart of the starkly beautiful Gobi Desert. These 40 traditional felt and canvas tents used by Mongolian nomads are modeled after traditional Buddhist temples, adhering to strict Mongolian Buddhist canons of “soum style.”

Three Camel Lodge is a luxurious eco-lodge set in the fascinating Gobi Desert. Characterized by rugged terrain, vastly different ecosystems, and exotic wildlife, there is much to explore in this wondrous part of the world. For guests to be able to fully immerse in the enchanting culture and ancient traditions of Mongolia, Three Camel Lodge’s carefully-designed luxurious “gers” feature traditional details of Mongolian living. Born out of a vision to create the country’s most inspiring and sustainable eco-lodge, Three Camel Lodge follows the three pillars of sustainable tourism: Environmental Stewardship, Natural and Cultural Preservation, and Community Empowerment.

The history and culture of Mongolia is an ancient one. The land bears Stone Age artwork and remnants of structures far older than recorded time. Herodotus, considered the ‘Father of History,’ wrote descriptions of the Scythian race (approx. 600 B.C. to 300 A.D.), which lived a nomadic horseback existence, in the Central Asian region near the Black and Caspian seas. Legend has it that during a great meeting of diverse steppe and forest tribes in the Khan Kentii Mountains in 1206, a man from poor nomadic origins was proclaimed Chinggis Khan, ruler of the Great Mongolian Nation. This man and his descendants would dominate half the world for the next few centuries, eventually commingling the arts and culture of other nations with their own, including Yuan Dynasty-era China. Staying at the lodge imbues your experience with the rich history of the place. 

 

4. Bambu Indah, Bali

Bambu Indah is a radically distinctive boutique hotel in Ubud, carefully curated by designers and long term residents of Bali, John and Cynthia Hardy. In 2005, eleven antique Javanese bridal homes were brought to Bali, restored, and decorated with the finest details. Since then, we have expanded the property to the riverside, where we are pioneering a sustainable future with innovative, bespoke and luxurious bamboo structures for a truly one a kind experience. Now, Bambu Indah is available to travelers from around the world seeking unique experiences while being comforted by the luxury of a natural environment and service of an intimate hotel.

The Eco resort was born in 1975 when John Hardy moved to Bali. He then met Cynthia, and together they set out on a mission to build a jewelry business. Upon finding success, their passions soon led them to create the sustainable masterpiece that is Bambu Indah.

 

5. Mahali Mzuri, Kenya

Mahali Mzuri means “beautiful place” in Swahili. Founded by Sir Richard Branson, this 12-tented luxury safari camp in the Kenyan Bush is certainly a place of beauty. Situated in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the wider Maasai Mara Ecosystem, you will surely have a front-row seat to the annual Great Migration and to the abundant game that roam around freely all year round – imagine lions, wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs right before your eyes. Mahali Mzuri, together with the local community, work to conserve and protect the wider Maasai Mara Ecosystem.

Whether dining under the African sky in the open bush, on a deck or in the dining tent, our team will treat you to a wide selection of menus that promise to be exciting, social and inspirational. This safari camp’s name says it all. Mahali Mzuri is Swahili for ‘beautiful place’… and the name could not have been more appropriate. Nestled against the northern edge of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, this camp is one of only five safari camps allowed to operate in the exclusive private Olare Motorogi Conservancy. The conservancy is home to a stunning array of wild animals ranging from elephants and wildebeests to lions, zebras and leopards. The entire area is brimming with life and the camp’s professional Maasai guides and trackers know how to track even the most elusive of beasts. The scenery is stunning and only adds to the romantic ‘Out of Africa’ feel most guests experience during their stay here. What’s more, you won’t have to drive far to start spotting game. The adventure starts at the camp’s front doorstep. Mahali Mzuri is truly next level in terms of comfort and luxury offered to its guests. In addition to twelve luxury safari tents the camp is home to a warm and inviting centrally located main tent. The main tent has a very laid-back and relaxing lounge area with an open fireplace, a library filled with books, iPads for complimentary guest use, an iPod docking station and speaker system, a games console, and television. Binoculars are available for complimentary use, although it might be better to bring your own. The main tent has a large deck where breakfast and lunch are served at a large communal table that seats up to 24 guests. One of the most appealing features in the common area is the camp’s lavish twelve metre infinity-edge swimming pool (which can be heated when temps drop). The camp’s Nasaro Spa is another prize feature at Mahali Mzuri. The spa tent offers guests a stunning view of the bush during relaxing massages.

 

6. Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, China

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain is where ancient and modern meet. Located right in the heart of the scenic gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site in nearby Dujiangyan, this resort takes the guest experience to new heights. The traditional architecture and landscaping allow everyone who steps inside to immerse in a deeply cultural experience. Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain also makes it a top priority to embody eco-friendly values, promoting and supporting sustainable environments and communities. Its goal is to prove that enhancing the guest experience and at the same time showing respect to nature can definitely go hand in hand. For this resort, sustainability is primary. Chinese-inspired courtyard villas and suites, some with private pools, draw on a village theme with a palette of natural tones to create a symphony of light and space. Discover pandas in their natural habitat just minutes from the resort. Follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo or explore ancient towns and a host of cultural highlights including the Tianshi Cave, the birthplace of Taoism. Chengdu weather is relatively mild throughout the year and features four seasons: a long and warm spring, short and sultry summer, cool and rainy autumn, and cold and misty winter. Some of the best times to visit Chengdu are March to June and September to November.

 

7. Ulaman Eco Retreat, Bali, Indonesia

The spectacular and creative structures of the Ulaman Eco Retreat will take your breath away. Ulaman Eco Retreat is the place to be for travelers who are seeking to live more consciously without sacrificing comfort and luxury. Tucked away in a secluded and lush part of Bali, this retreat provides an exotic tropical resort experience for every guest. This eco-friendly hideaway is the perfect combination of comfortable luxury and eco-conscious design. A hydro-turbine system is also currently in the works, fueled by the adjacent river and designed to power all of the resort’s future electrical usage. At this tranquil eco resort, you can relax, recharge, and unwind, all while leaving only the smallest ecological footprint possible.

A unique holistic retreat experience for people who strive to live more consciously without compromising comfort and luxury.
Dino Magnatta, a Toronto native and an accomplished business entrepreneur, fell in love with the Balinese people, their culture, religion and spiritual beliefs throughout his business ventures and travel here in Bali over the past 22 years. His goal was to create a truly remarkable retreat with an “Ubud feel” located closer to Canggu and Seminyak areas, complete with tranquil water features that promotes whole-body wellness and paired the effort with ecologically-sound practices. When he connected with Charlie Hearn in 2019, a “green” architect from Inspiral Architect, it was a match made in eco-lux heaven when their ideas came together to create this unique eco-retreat. The heart and soul of the resort lies upon fascinating bamboo architecture visible throughout our whole compound. The bamboo structures proudly stand tall from the ground, as if they were naturally emerging from Mother Earth itself. Dramatic and bold, yet eloquent and charming, leaving a long-lasting impression for every pair of eyes fortunate enough to witness its beauty. Spectacular curvilinear roofing, aesthetic bamboo structures and uniquely shaped buildings are well-integrated throughout the whole resort, epitomizing a timeless work of art. From the ‘rammed earth’ lobby, to the cocoon-shaped entrance gate to the bamboo grand staircase, every corner is designed to give you the perfect eye-gasm.

 

8. Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Mexico

An award-winning luxury beach resort in Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Banyan Tree Mayakoba perfectly blends Asian hospitality with Mexican passion and five-star resort services and facilities. This luxury eco resort proudly shows off untouched nature, abundant wildlife of indigenous fish and bird species, and the familiar Riviera Maya warmth and charm. The famed Riviera Maya coast, with its pristine coastlines and intricate coral reefs, gives every guest the opportunity to embrace the natural beauty of the surroundings. With the preservation and enhancement of the environment as its core value, Banyan Tree is plastic-free and practices proper resource conservation, supporting the local community, and providing protection to endangered marine turtles. Be swept away by the Caribbean breeze at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, an Asian-inspired hideaway in the heart of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. An AAA Five Diamond resort and winner of Tripadvisor’s exclusive Best of the Best award, our luxury beach resort invites you into a world of lush mangrove forests and pristine coastlines imbued with the charm of the Riviera Maya. Nestled within a private gated community linked by canal waterways, the resort is surrounded by an arcadia of untouched nature in a carefully-maintained ecosystem. With a private pool for every villa, an array of international culinary offerings, a PGA golf course, our signature Banyan Tree Spa and curated experiences for all ages, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is your destination for deep relaxation, world-class service, and beauty everywhere you turn.

The structures are modern and simple, with a somewhat scandinavian design. They use light wood and white frames with large glass windows and plants covering the facade. 

 

9. Phinda Forest Lounge, South Africa

Considered one of the world’s first eco lodges, Phinda is part of a 170-square-kilometer private game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal (the heart of Zulu territory). Praised by National Geographic for its blend of sophisticated luxury and environmental consciousness, the remote resort was also a seminal part of the life-changing experience in South Africa that inspired me to start Green Global Travel.

Their 16 rooms (which are spread far apart in order to increase each guest’s sense of seclusion) offer a delightful immersion in “Zulu zen.” The floor-to-ceiling glass windows make guests feel at one with the surrounding forest, as well as providing opportunities to view wildlife that, during my visit, included a spiral-horned antelope called a Nyala, a Black-backed Jackal, and an entire family of Warthogs within a dozen feet of the back patio. The activities are endless, including exceptional morning and sunset game drives in the private reserve, walking safaris, tracking endangered Black Rhino on foot, touring the rehab/breeding facility of the Endangered Wild Cats Project, and Scuba diving in the India Ocean’s Sodwana Bay, which is considered among the world’s top dive sites.

 

10. Kura Designs Villa

Situated high in the hills of Uvita above the pristine waters of Marino Ballena National Park, you’ll find a 6-room luxury eco hotel created by married partners Martin Wells (who was born in Costa Rica to American parents) and Alejandra Umana (a local native). The gorgeous rooms are incredibly spacious, with natural wood headboards, comfy king-sized beds, overstuffed couches, massive bathrooms, and an expansive private balcony that overlooks the ocean.

If someone didn’t tell you, you probably wouldn’t realize that this luxury eco hotel was built to be sustainable. Umana, a biologist, is the mastermind behind Kurá Design Villas’ sustainable initiatives. The L-shaped infinity pool overlooking the jungle is filled with salinated water (no chlorine), and the treated septic water is used for irrigation on the lushly landscaped local plants. Much of the delicious food served in the hotel’s restaurant comes from a hydroponic garden next to the hotel. In the rooms, there are biodegradable soaps, LED lighting powered by photovoltaic solar panels (which also heat the water), and recycling bins. In other words, Kura Design Villas balances luxury and sustainability exquisitely.

 

11. Alila Villas Uluwatu in Uluwatu, Bali

Staking a stylish claim on Bali’s rugged Bukit Peninsula, Alila Villas Uluwatuis a cool, contemporary cliff-hanger of a resort which delivers dramatic eco-friendly design in a jaw-dropping setting. Panoramic views over the Indian Ocean complement architecturally striking pool villas, each with serene, minimalist interiors, seductive outdoor living spaces and personal butlers on tap. Stir in a top spa, fine dining and legendary surfing, and it’s a delicious cocktail.

Alila Villas Uluwatu has been designed with only locally sourced, recycled and sustainable materials to innovative environmental standards. Open-plan lay-outs, flat lava rock roofs and bamboo ceilings allow sea breezes to circulate naturally. Alila Villas Uluwatu is located on the Bukit Peninsula, Bali’s southern-most point and home to the famous cliff-top temple, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, as well as some of the island’s best surf beaches. Popular with surfers and backpackers is the simple yet welcoming Yeye’s Warung (+62 (0)361 742 4761), between Uluwatu and Padang Padang beaches, where you can get Indonesian, Thai and Indian food, along with pizza and burgers (retro surf videos add to the vibe). For a range of fine-dining options, head to Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran: choose between their waterfront Kisik Bar and Grill, known for it’s stuffed crab and lobster thermidor, Mexican rooftop restaurant Unique, traditional Balinese fare at Kampoeng Bali and many more. 

 

12. Villa Santa Cruz in Mexico

Located in the state of Baja California Sur, you’ll find the magical town of Todos Los Santos. This bohemian town is characterized by a beautiful landscape, complete with ocean and mountain scenery, and charming colonial architecture and design. It is an oasis on the Pacific Ocean that offers its visitors and residents opportunities for adventure and relaxation. From amazing surf spots, and year-round temperate climate to colorful art galleries and boutiques, each with its own artistic personality, Todos Santos is a great tourist destination for couples and families alike. Villa Santa Cruz Todos Santos hotel offers to its guests a variety of options of rooms – from cozy rooms inside the main Villa to Beach View Bungalows & Ocean View Suites.  All rooms feature spectacular ocean views with balconies, where guests can take in the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean or sweeping view of the mountain range. If you are looking for privacy, seclusion and a low-dense feel set on a beautiful landscape, this Todos Santos hotel will offer you exactly what you are looking for. There are tented ocean suites, where you can wake up on the sand with the sound of the crashing  waves right at your doorstep. There are also rooms in the spectacular main villa building, a terra cotta roofed stucco building with wrought iron railings. 

 

13. Ares Partners Yun House Eco Resort

Yun House is a boutique eco-resort nestled within a village at north eastern part of Yangshuo which situated along the dramatic landscape of the Li River. The site consists of nine renovated old farm houses and one new addition which functions as an all-day dining restaurant for hotel guests. Taking on a sensitive approach to the local culture with villagers still living nearby, the overall planning and landscape design blends into the original village structure without creating new boundary conditions to the villagers.  Architecture studio Ares Partners was asked to renovate and convert nine farmhouses into the resort’s 23 guest rooms, while respecting the character of the existing village. A new building accommodating an all-day restaurant for guests was designed in collaboration with Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects to reflect the forms and materials of the vernacular architecture. “Taking on a sensitive approach to the local culture, with villagers still living nearby, the overall planning and landscape design blends into the original village structure without creating new boundary conditions,” said Helen Wang of Ares Partners.

The building’s steel frame and extensive glazing contrast with its terracotta roof tiles and an internal wall made from rough stone blocks, resulting in a structure that references its surroundings but is distinctly contemporary. “The spatial dialogue and sense of continuity between the old and the new buildings maintains an order of symbiosis between the foreign hotel and the local village,” Wang added. “The same design principle extends into the interior space of the hotel. The dialogue between people, space, light and landscape is well considered.” The farm buildings are constructed from rammed-earth bricks and were carefully restored to retain their original appearance while accommodating new functions.The same design principle extends into the interior space of the hotel. The dialogue between people, space, light and landscape is well thought out. The typical layout of the vernacular house here is a three bay structure with a double height volume in the middle bay. Each typical building consists of four guest rooms with a shared living and hangout space in the center. Bamboo, wood, galvanized steel, concrete finishes and pebble washed stones are main materials being used in interior spaces. Most of wood beams and existing wooden doors are being refurbished and reused on the project. Our intent is to bring clam and tranquility atmosphere into the interior space. The exterior building material is quite modest and unpretentious which we would want the interior to echo.

 

14. Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort 

In 1980, Craig and Deborah Murray felt a call that few of us have heard before. It was coming from the Great Bear Rainforest, on British Columbia’s wild west coast. They felt there had to be a simpler way of life – one with more opportunity for connection to what matters most. With a young family in tow, they set out to create a life spent immersed in nature. Surrounded by ancient forests, natural ecosystems, clean air and water, the Murrays knew this was their chance to reconnect and co-exist in harmony with the land.The first guests of Nimmo Bay Resort arrived in June of 1981, ready to see what this remote wilderness could offer them. What the Murrays soon discovered was more than they could have imagined – a place that revived weary spirits, invoked exploration and provided all a sense of ease and oneness with nature. 

What began as a quaint fishing lodge has expanded naturally into the world-renowned wilderness resort that Nimmo is known as today. With nine private chalets hosting 18 guests or more, plus room for boats and helicopters, there is no shortage of imaginative ways to experience this remarkably wild place. 

Covering a range from sea level to 13,000 ft., with access to 50,000 sq. miles of coastal wilderness, the Great Bear Rainforest is yours to explore. Guests can enjoy whale watching, heli-hiking, fine coastal dining, beachcombing, kayaking, paddleboarding, mindful hiking, wellness treatments, glacier trekking, wildlife viewing, and much more. Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of tuning out the buzz of modern life, and stilling the mind through adventure and wellness-based activities. We warmly invite you to return to nature, and experience reconnection for yourself.

 

15. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa

This stunning eco lodge in the Catarpe Valley blends in perfectly with its terracotta surroundings and is designed to operate in harmony with the environment. What is remarkable about this lodge is that they place a great deal of emphasis on keeping things authentic and local. The place was designed by a group of Chilean architects and more than half their staff is indigenous. This is a great sign when looking for responsible, eco-friendly accommodation that supports dignified work for local communities. Escape to a world of clear night skies, high altitude lagoons, and moon-like valleys at Tierra Atacama. High in the northern desert of Chile, this lodge encapsulates exquisite design, authentic experiences, and an intimate, home-away-from-home atmosphere, where a sense of both adventure and pure relaxation lingers in the air. The property was designed with regional sensibilities, eco-friendly design, and boutique comfort firmly in mind.  

They are at the forefront of the renewable energy movement in the touristic sphere in South America. In Atacama, the sun offers us its natural energy and water is highly valued. We reuse it to irrigate our gardens, which themselves have been planted in recovered terrain. Today, they attract everything from bees to local birds, all of which serve to enrich the hotel’s grounds. We work with local astronomy experts to teach our guests about the Andean tradition of the stars, discover local ‘ayllus’ or villages on horseback, and visit the town of San Pedro de Atacama – all to better understand the lives of the Atacameños. As dusk descends, sunsets transform the sight of the Licancabur Volcano, a sacred emblem for the local community and come nightfall, the starry skies of the desert are some of the clearest on Earth due to the low light pollution. Here, the silence is so potent it’s like another element of the desert’s energy. Adventures in the Atacama Desert are plentiful, and at Tierra Atacama you will find a wonderful variety of excursions and tours of the Atacama Desert as well as San Pedro de Atacama tours. Whether you prefer to explore on foot, horseback, bike or vehicle, we’ve got an all-encompassing portfolio of activities that delve into every corner of Atacama. Here you’ll find everything from world-class hiking tours to desert bike rides, horseback adventures to stargazing experiences, and much more

 

16. Ecuador: Mashpi Lodge

As one of the ‘National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World’, Mashpi Lodge is definitely one for the bucket list! This eco lodge in Quito is famous for its breath-taking scenery, which can be enjoyed from any of their floor to ceiling glass windows. You will be pleased to know that as part of the construction process, not a single tree was chopped down. They even hired a biologist to survey and understand the local ecosystem during the building process. We’re also really impressed by their commitment to recycling, composting, and water-wise systems, which will give eco-travellers peace of mind when staying there. Located on a scenic plateau, the lodge features breathtaking viewsof the surrounding forested mountains and their unique ecosystems. The design and style enable total immersion through its floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows. Like a cathedral to the natural world, Mashpi is a perfect blend of luxurious comfort and engagement with one of the world’s most stunning environs.

It seems incredible that such a wild and remote site could even be associated with a city, yet Mashpi actually lies within the Metropolitan District of Quito – the capital of Ecuador. The lodge, which is only about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Quito, was built at 950 meters (3,117 feet) above sea level. The surrounding reserve ranges in altitude from 500 meters to 1200 meters (1,640 to 4,000 ft) above sea level. This transitional state combines with the tropical and subtropical climates to create a spectacular site, teeming with a variety of flora and fauna that is seldom found in such startling variety.Located at a former lumber mill, Mashpi Lodge was built using the latest techniques in sustainable construction in order to prevent damage to the forest, with much of the structure having been preassembled in Quito and designed around the topography of the site to prevent further damage to the trees. It is designed to blend in perfectly with its natural environment, respecting the natural space it occupies. Stunningly contemporary and featuring modernist design and décor that mixes warm earth tones, steel, stone, and glass in striking perspectives, Mashpi Lodge makes for a true cocoon of luxury in the middle of the forest.

 

17. The Green Hotel, India

This charming green hotel located in southwest India was a neglected Chittaranjan palace that was transformed into an eco hotel. One thing they are famous for are their gorgeous gardens for which they won several awards. Some of their sustainability measures are using recycled water for their garden and solar energy for electricity and heating water. Renovated and furnished using traditional Indian crafts, the hotel offers comfortable surroundings, friendly staff, and a restful, creative atmosphere. Guests have come for a night and stayed for a month!

The Green Hotel has been set up as a model of sustainable tourism, by the Charities Advisory Trust, a UK charity. All profits are distributed to charitable and environmental projects in India. The hotel incorporates energy saving initiatives: solar energy; recycled water for the garden. Where possible we have used Indian crafts, providing employment for traditional craftsmen, many of them National Award winners. By finding an economic use for the palace and its historic garden we have saved it from demolition and re-development of the site. Mysore, the charming town and immortalised by RK Narayan in his Malgudi novels, provides an excellent base from which to tour South India. The Western Ghats, the coffee plantations of Coorg, the game reserves of the Nilgris and the Ooty hill station are all within a few hours drive. Mysore is 140km from the bustle of Bangalore.

Guests have the use of the whole of the palace, including drawing rooms, a well-chosen library, and beautiful verandas. The gardens are large and provide peaceful relaxation. The hotel has won the Mysore Horticultural Society first prize for the best garden for over ten years running. They do not have air-conditioning because the hotel is very airy and well ventilated and all the rooms have fans. The temperatures in Mysore make air conditioning largely unnecessary – they are at their highest from May to June on average (23-30°C, much cooler than a Greek island!)

 

18. El Nido Resorts, Philippines

The idyllic tropical paradise of these four Palawan resorts is reason enough to visit. But you should also be aware that they do their best to offer many sustainable programmes which evolve year after year. Their staff is all local, and they use locally grown products which encourages their green ethos. Even their design is based on the new sustainable clean way of life. And there are activities galore that put you directly in touch with nature. From sustainable menus, to nature based activities low in carbon footprint and high in natural and cultural interpretation, to use of renewable materials in construction, to green design and architecture, to strong community partnerships the El Nido Resorts and Philippines’ greenest resorts. 

El Nido Resorts’ Eco-Discovery island resort, Miniloc, offers guests with a back-to-basics Filipino coastal village vibe with rustic or native design. In Miniloc, guests can swim with the 1.5-meter jack fish and get up close and personal with a variety of marine species just at its house reef. Miniloc Island is also a gateway to discover and explore the popular attractions around Bacuit Bay, such as the Big and Small Lagoons and Snake Island. Miniloc Island has a total of 47 rooms that are thatched-roofed and furnished with indigenous Filipino materials. Floors are wooden and walls are covered in woven bamboo slats, locally known as sawali. All rooms have a private veranda.

 

19. Ecocamp Patagonia, Chile

Certified with an environmental management system, this Chilean-owned eco-lodge offers the tourist luxury glamping with amazing views of the Torres del Paine mountain. Their unique domed suites are designed in a traditional dwelling style of the region. At Ecocamp Patagonia you can choose from a wide array of activities, such as visits to the Cueva del Milodon in the national park. They compost and recycle most of their “waste”, and the electricity on-site is provided by a micro-hydro turbine and photovoltaic panels. EcoCamp is owned and operated by Chilean inbound tour operator Cascada Expediciones, specializing in adventure trips of the highest quality. Cascada was founded in 1991 by university friends Yerko Ivelic and Javier Lopez and environmental steward Nani Astorga. Over the last 25 years, they have been running eco-friendly trips in Patagonia, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia with activities including trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, skiing, wildlife observation and wine tours. Over 30,000 people visiting Chile have enjoyed Cascada-operated tours at EcoCamp Patagonia and throughout Chile. 

EcoCamp was opened in 2001 by Javier, Yerko and Nani. It was the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the world’s first geodesic hotel room.

The team at EcoCamp is an energetic mix of guides, cooks, assistants, maintenance staff, drivers, housekeepers and administrators, mainly from the neighboring town of Puerto Natales (180 km) or Punta Arenas (330 km). Their hardworking and positive attitude ensures service levels for both guests and the environment are of the highest quality. Their superstar guides are mainly locals who have grown up breathing fresh Patagonian air. They are all fun-loving and environmentally-conscious trekking enthusiasts who love their job and can be counted on for knowledge, reliability and entertainment. 

 

20. Castaways Resort, New Zealand 

Situated on the wild coastal cliff tops of Karioitahi Beach on the west coast of Auckland, New Zealand, Castaways Resort is perfect for an effortless escape, a one of a kind wedding location, or a distraction-free conference venue. The newly renovated Castaways Restaurant & Bar offers relaxed a-la-carte dining 365 days a year, and Bersantai Day Spa can treat you to a truly indulgent experience.  All of this is within an hour’s drive from the Auckland CBD or airport – so close to Auckland, yet a true escape from the ordinary. The accommodations are traingular huts sprawled across the hillside that meets the beautiful ocean. The shape is simultaneously futuristic, and blending into the natural landscape.

Bersantai Day Spa is set in tranquil, relaxing and intimate coastal surroundings on the cliff tops above Karioitahi Beach and Castaways Resort. In 2013, the first Glam Camp tent was constructed as a trial for the new Glam Camping venture. Response was hugely popular and demand grew very quickly, leading to three more Glam Camp tents being developed with one being located offsite in a Totara tree. To further enhance the customer experience, in mid 2015 the Castaways Resort main cliff top venue underwent a full refurbishment. In addition, external stonework, development of a panoramic deck area and further landscaping of the cliff top wedding ceremony point was carried out to create an ocean front focal point for guests to enjoy.

 

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