A Luxury Getaway Through a Sustainable Lens
The hotels on an ecological mission to preserve the planet
We live in a world of infinite beauty; from the fluorescent coral reefs, the ancient forests, and the sky-piercing mountains. We can’t help but want to explore it. Ironically, our travel to appreciate the world’s wonders can be incredibly damaging to the very marvels that we want to go appreciate. So, it is important that we take conscientious steps to ensure that the precious natural treasures can be appreciated and enjoyed for years to come.
Thankfully, more and more, people are recognizing that to feed our wanderlust we must be careful not to exploit the natural world, but instead, harmlessly immerse ourselves within the surrounding nature and when we explore, we do so, sustainably. With this in mind, the world of travel is changing, with a movement towards sustainable tourism. A new way of traveling, a new form of hospitality is emerging which allows us to enjoy the world’s opulence without destroying it.
According to a study carried out by National Geographic in 2019, 42% of US travelers want to prioritize sustainable travel in the future, however, only 15% of the cohort understood what sustainable tourism means. Truth be told, the industry is still figuring it out and there is a long way to go. Sustainable tourism involves finding a way to travel which can be maintained over a long period, without impacting the natural and cultural environment. We are far from this goal, but many are actively working to make this possible. It will be a process and few will be perfect, but the fact that this is a now a goal for so many is promising. With some standout properties paving the way, collaboration, and the consumer demand that is real, that the larger hospitality industry will hopefully fall in line as well.
These five hotels are leading the way, working to allow conscientious behavior to co-exist with a heavenly escape.
Located at the heart of the Swiss Alps, and pushing for guests to play a pivotal role in their ecological mission, Whitepod is on a quest to prove that hospitality and environmental preservation can exist synonymously. Their innovative geodesic pods are low in energy consumption through the use of LED lights, have closed fireplaces to conserve heat, and are run on locally sourced wood. The pods’ colors change depending on the season allowing them to blend in with the surrounding scenery. This ‘eco-luxury’ hotel allows for a unique experience, where you can appreciate the Alpine world and learn about the local biodiversity with minimal impact.
Entwined in the forest of Sweden and buried in the Lule River Valley, Treehotel’s avant-garde architecture was designed aligning imagination, environmentalism, and sustainability. The rooms feature sustainably sourced wooden floors, energy-efficient eco-toilets, and are powered through hydroelectricity. With no trees being cut down during construction, Treehotel champions responsible tourism, ensuring their approach to hospitality is sustainable. Guests can enjoy the enchanting northern lights at night, and the scenic forest and river displays in the day. Treehotel encapsulates how design and creation can work with the surroundings, allowing the harmony of both.
Situated amongst the panoramic landscapes of Newfoundland, is one of Canada’s most notable islands; Fogo Island, and upon this island sits Fogo Island Inn. This is where 100% of operating surpluses are reinvested into the community, helping to promote the future and protect the hidden treasure at the edge of the Wild North Atlantic. Fogo Island Inn epitomizes ecological ethics, understanding the importance of both hospitality and the natural world. Their ‘gentle footprint’ is a result of local suppliers and their ecologically-minded design. Rainwater is collected and used, and there is extensive use of solar thermal panels on the roof. Take yourself away to a place notorious for its seven different weather seasons, knowing that you are not disrupting them.
As an ethical luxury resort, Song Saa’s intimate escape reflects the utopian coastline of Cambodia. Built using natural recycled resources, with local hands, this tropical getaway emphasizes the importance of sustainability whilst offering a tropical paradise. Their coral reef reserve and sanctuaries allow for biodiversity to flourish, and they support the neighboring communities by locally sourcing ingredients from farmers and nearby villages. The Song Saa Foundation has also been established, pushing to protect and improve the welfare of the communities of Koh Rong Archipelago. They use the collaborative efforts of both science and innovation to help protect the water, the people, and the land, believing that anyone can be an agent for change, and pushing to protect a place of infinite beauty and nature.
Hidden within the clouded forests of Ecuadorian Chocó, is Mashpi Lodge, a lodge that celebrates the immense biodiversity of the forest where there is a myriad of micro and macro flora and fauna to see. Enjoy the circular views of the forest through the hotel designed in glass by the architect, Roque Sevilla, a passionate ecologist and the former mayor of Quito. He ensured that during the construction of the lodge, no trees were cut down, and locals were employed for the betterment of the forest, who would previously earn their money through logging. The Chocó forest is known as a ‘global biodiversity hotspot’, and is one of the most diverse forests in the Neotropical realm. By visiting this lodge, you can contribute to their conservation mission, and gain a deeper understanding of how invaluable the ecosystem is and how the biogeographical province is essential in the development and survival of our world.
Header image: Kourosh Qaffari/Pexels