10 Extraordinary Eco Hotels
While common sense dictates that to minimise waste is to maximise profits, the pace of progress at hotels big and small has often been glacial. A paradigm shift, however, is the best way to describe the green outlook of the global hospitality industry of late. Not only do more big hotel brands plug eco-standards in the cost-benefit analysis, they now realise, more than ever, that green is good business and that some travellers will pay a premium to stay at a property with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) Platinum certificate in the lobby.
Many still equate the term “eco” with a treetop rainforest lodge or island beach hut but as this list of 10 extraordinary eco hotels suggests, the environmental winds of change have swept over urban capitals and international hotel chains as well.
The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra Hotel – Photo credit
No way this place is only 7 km from the Fontana di Trevi and 5 km from the Vatican, you think. The Ecohotel, snug in the Valle dei Casali countryside, seems much further from the sublime capital of Italy. A model of sustainable tourism in Roma.
Vines and olive groves form the bucolic backdrop of the Eco Luxe Lodge Mount Avoca, 77.5 km northwest of Ballarat and 190 km northwest of Melbourne. A paragon of rustic chic and a singular weekend escape in Victoria.
All Kimpton hotels adhere to strict enviro-standards but the swish 70 Park takes it to another level with a fair trade and organic food and beverage service, eco amenity kits and low flow toilets, showers and faucets.
The gorgeous Hotelito Desconocido is 95 km south of Puerto Vallarta in a wetlands reserve that conforms to the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.
The elephantine reversal of the Banyan Tree Resort from derelict tin mine to exemplar luxury eco resort is a story of perseverance and triumph for Phuket and Thailand.
That it overlooks the Taj Mahal is a good start. That it also delivers plush five star frills with a conscience is a bonus. The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra is quite possibly the best hotel in India.
Bali has deep environmental cultural roots that manifest at a variety of resorts on the island. The Alila Manggis Hotel has made innovative steps to curb and manage dry waste and ensure effective disposal.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Copenhagen Tower scored a publicity coup when it offered free meals to guests who produced 10 watt hours of electricity via an exercise bicycle strapped to a generator. But the pedal-power initiative was no ruse; with groundwater-based heating and cooling and the largest building-integrated solar panels in northern Europe, the hotel is all about renewable energy.
The stylish W Montréal earned the coveted 4 Green Key certification from the Hotel Association of Canada in 2010 thanks to efforts like energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, automatic flushometers and faucets, a seasonal and organic programme and widespread recycling and composting.
It’s a beautiful thing when unparalleled luxury comes without a side order of enviro-guilt. Such is the splendid case at Longitude 131° in UNESCO World Heritage Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The luxury wilderness Outback “camp” is a 5-class refuge with private sunset and sunrise panoramas of Uluru/Ayers Rock.