Agoda.com’s list of this year’s ten notable eco-friendly hotels that are doing their part to create a comfortable, beautiful balance with nature.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam, 5*
Perched up against limestone cliffs and dramatic scenery in this bay on Vietnam’s south-east coast, it offers lush jungle, white beaches and secluded five-star luxury in one great package.
Even better, it’s all done with an eye toward environmental sustainability. Built with renewable and recycled materials and designed in a way that allows for refreshing sea breezes to cool the premises, the hotel also recycles wastewater for its gardens, collects rainwater for use throughout the hotel, and allows guests to take part in environmental reclamation projects such as planting trees.
In addition, the restaurant prepares some amazing meals with locally-caught fish and vegetables from the hotel’s garden, and the spa uses 100% natural products in its full-service treatments.
URBN Hotel, Shanghai, China, 5*
Housed in a converted factory in Shanghai‘s French concession area, the minimalist URBN hotel Shanghai is China’s first carbon-neutral hotel, a fact which is easy to believe as you enter the lobby and step into your room, elegantly designed with various greenery and richly coloured wood that was sourced from recycled local materials.
Sustainability is key to operations at URBN, which employ energy-efficient approaches to lighting and achieve full carbon neutrality by participating in the Million Tree Project, a program that offsets carbon emissions with the purchase of trees planted in Mongolia’s Kulun Desert.
Alto Hotel on Bourke, Melbourne, Australia, 4*
Melbourne’s multi-award winning eco-friendly boutique hotel is notable for its near-obsessive dedication to being eco-friendly. Indeed, the hotel boasts some of the lowest energy, waste & water usage per guest in the whole country when measured against Earth Check, an industry-standard environmental certification program.
Renewable sources provide 100% of the hotel’s energy, which is a nice touch when you’re recharging your electric car downstairs. And if you feel like sweetening your complimentary coffee with honey, you can relax knowing that the coffee is Organic & Fair Trade from the Penachi region of Peru, which helps lift poverty-stricken communities out of harm, and the honey is harvested from the hotel’s rooftop beehives.
Even the guest room key cards are made of cornstarch instead of plastic!
Borneo Highlands Resort, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia 3*
Borneo is known the world over for its incredibly varied ecosystem, which includes ancient rainforest, extensive cave systems and thousands of varieties of wildlife, much of it endangered or rare. It stands to reason that any hotel should do its best to blend in, and the Borneo Highlands Resort manages to do this very nicely. Located 1,000 meters above sea level where the air is cool and moist, the hotel uses organic farms for its meals and even provides a trained horticulturist to educate guests on just what it is they’re eating. The number of guests is strictly limited to 60 per day to reduce the overall impact on the surrounding area, which includes walking trails, waterfalls, bird watching and, of course, clean mountain air.
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Philea Resort and Spa, Ayer Keroh, Melaka, Malaysia 5*
If you’re going to go eco, you might as well go all the way, and Malaysia’s Philea Resort and Spa do a great job in making old new again. Designed to resemble an alpine village and built with locally sourced pine logs and marble from the famed quarry in the nearby province of Perak, it goes the extra mile in proving that materials bought brand new don’t have the market cornered on comfort. Indeed, the hotel proudly offers stately furniture and decorations built from materials recovered from shipwrecks and old railway cars, all of it located on property sheltered from the elements by 3,000 trees that have been specially added to the lush landscape.
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Bangkok Tree House, Bangkok, Thailand, 3*
Bangkok isn’t a city that conjures up images of eco-friendliness, but the Bangkok Tree House is a notable exception. Located in the “Green Lung”, a jungle-covered peninsula on the edge of the city, great pains have been taken to ensure that it’s not only eco-friendly but eco-positive – for instance, for every booking made 1kg of trash is removed from the Chao Phraya River.
In addition, discarded containers and driftwood are used to make the planters and trellises that support the growth of organic vegetables, which serve to provide shade and supply the kitchen. Clothes are laundered using biodegradable detergents and hung in the fresh air to dry, and 100% of the outdoor lighting is supplied by wind and solar power.
And let’s not forget the quiet jungle evenings with a river breeze and zero light pollution from the city.
The Tongsai Bay, Ko Samui, Thailand, 5*
Any island can only offer a limited amount of resources, so it’s especially important that care is taken when building on one. From the first day of construction, Tongsai Bay has done its part to make sure the natural island environment of Ko Samui has flourished.
Care was taken when building to avoid cutting down trees, and a customized ‘Green Project’ ensures that water and soil are recycled, plastic use is minimized in favour of cloth bags and ceramic bottles, and that heat generated by air conditioners is used to heat water.
The hotel also recycles garbage to fertilize the gardens that provide the hotel with organic produce, advises local school children on low-carbon lifestyles, and funds activities to plant trees, clean up litter, and rescue wildlife.
With these practices firmly in place, the integrity of Tongsai Bay’s private beach and surrounding ecosystem should be healthy for a very long time.
Other stories related to Koh Samui, Thailand in Gaya Travel Magazine: Koh Samui, Thailand | Awards in the World Travel Awards 2012 Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa | Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa | Chaweng Regent Beach Resort | Malaysian media takes a familiarisation trip to Koh Samui | Bangkok Airways Joins Hands with TAT and Tourism Association of Koh Samui organize Sales Road Show to Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia’s Pangkor Island – One of Asia’s Top “Fresh Destinations” for 2012 | Scented Up In Koh Samui | Outrigger Koh Samui Resort and Spa
Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, Philippines, 4*
With the dramatic peak of Mount Marapara as a backdrop, Nature’s Village Resort has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it does just that with its focus on the promotion of sustainable practices and efforts to educate guests on green tourism and their impact on the environment – a practice that resulted in the hotel’s nomination for an ASEAN Green Hotel Recognition Award in 2010.
Organic vegetables from the garden are used in cooking, and the interior of the hotel is decorated with reclaimed supplies from around the region – everything from glass beads from scrapped ocean buoys to grain and food preparation materials used in traditional Philippine kitchens.
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Casa Camper, Barcelona, Spain, 4*
Minimalism can be beautiful, and Casa Camper sets out to prove this while at the same time leading the way with several important eco-initiatives. Starting with the layout of each room, which all have a bathroom facing the 18m tall hanging garden, the same message is extended throughout the hotel – unclutter.
Carpets are avoided to cut down on dust, solar-heated water fills your shower, and linens and the bed frame itself are both washed every day.
To make sure that nothing is left to chance, a sophisticated biomechanical water treatment system cleans wastewater for use in secondary places like toilets, and bicycles are provided to guests for easy, emissions-free transport around the city.
Other stories related to Spain in Gaya Travel Magazine: SPAIN to Host World Tourism Day 2012 Under The Theme Tourism and Sustainable Energy | TripAdvisor Announces 2012 Travellers’ Choice Beach Destinations Awards
The Park New Delhi Hotel, New Delhi, India, 5*
It’s usually the smaller hotels that specialize in eco-friendly practices, but the Park New Delhi is a big player with a big impact and does its utmost to ensure that the environmental effects of its operations are as minor as possible.
Located next to Connaught Place, one of the largest financial and commercial districts in New Delhi, the emphasis on luxury is never at the expense of its eco-aims.
Not only are low-energy LED lights installed throughout, but its menu is focused on organic food and a unique engineering system has been installed to control water pressure and reduce water wastage – a practice that continues outdoors as well, as rainwater is collected and used in hotel landscaping.
The Park New Delhi even takes care of its garbage, as all of the trash bags it uses are biodegradable.
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