The World's Newest Eco-Friendly Hotels
Try out one of these eco-friendly resorts and hotels for Earth Day.
Dozens of eco-friendly hotels and resorts have opened around the world within the past year, which is a good sign for both the environment and the industry. While eco-friendly literally means it doesn’t harm the environment, hotels within this category range from the LEED-certified to those that occupy reforested swaths of land. Travel Channel's Roam has narrowed down the newcomers (and up-and-comers) that should remain on your radar.
With an enviable location in Brooklyn Bridge Park, this luxe hotel provides more than eco-lip service: It will achieve LEED certification by the fall of 2017. Landscape designer Harrison Green imagined the lobby, the centerpiece of which is a 25-foot wall covered in plants and creeping vines. Meanwhile, made in Brooklyn is found throughout, including reclaimed wood from the Domino Sugar Factory. Rooms are equipped with organic cotton sheets, filtered water taps and timed rain showers. Speaking of water, the hotel boasts its own rainwater reclamation system. Even more impressive? The entire hotel runs on wind power. The list goes on (farmstand in the lobby) but did we mention that guests have access to electric Tesla cars?
Some of the most impressive eco-friendly features of this modern resort, found right on the beach, are behind the scenes. In addition to boasting its own hydroponic farm, which supplies the restaurants and spa, The Reef also stores and provides potable water to hotel guests and locals. (Rain is the island’s only water source.) About 500,000 gallons of water are stored off-site at a 330-acre solar farm, which guests can visit once a week on an hour-long tour.
If you’re on the lucky receiving end of a generous tax refund, you could do worse than the ultra-luxurious Soneva Jani situated on a private lagoon. The newest addition to the Soneva clan goes beyond offering posh overwater bungalows (with retractable roofs no less). The list of its eco-friendly initiatives is long, and includes a glass recycling center, organic gardens and saltwater pools. There’s even a dedicated marine biologist who keeps tabs on the area’s reefs. But the eco-friendly winner here has to be Cinema Paradiso: an outdoor, overwater theater where guests can watch films while wearing Bluetooth headphones — sparing the marine life from having to listen to Casablanca for the umpteenth time.
With Detroit on the rise, it’s no surprise that sustainable lodging has entered the picture. While the Midtown building isn’t new, it’s received an overhaul to include solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling and Energy Star appliances. In the 11 rooms you’ll find reclaimed subway tiles, natural light, and Naturepedic mattresses. Opt for a Rooftop Urban Cabin room if you want floor-to-ceiling windows, concrete counters and a bed made by local craftsmen. In a twist, the rest of the building is rented out as apartments, and El Moore makes a point of hiring locally and paying a living wage.
After spending 16 months traveling around the world on their honeymoon, owners Mark and Camille decided to open this remote glamping retreat on the island paradise that is Palawan. The property has a light footprint with just four posh tents (dubbed nests), and another one under construction. Open less than a year, the property’s ultimate goal is to become self-sustainable. They’ve started by hiring a full-time environmental consultant, and are working to grow their own produce and compost food waste. The Birdhouse also harnesses solar power energy for charging electronics and supplies eco-friendly toiletries.
You can’t beat the downtown convenience of Boxotel, the latest addition to the city’s green scene. This modular boutique hotel provides apartment-style lodging, complete with a fully equipped kitchen and washer/dryer, in a minimalist-chic environment. Eco-touches are evident everywhere, from the heated concrete floors and bamboo blankets and pillows to the sustainable materials and eco-friendly beauty products. Meanwhile, smart technology allows you to control the lights and temperature. There’s even an art gallery that highlights local artists.
Sailrock bills itself as an eco-conscious community, which makes sense as it’s situated on under-the-radar and undeveloped South Caicos, home to the third-largest coral reef in the world. The resort was designed to blend into its lush surroundings, but what’s really notable is Sailrock’s commitment to the community. Local projects are vast, such as creating an animal sanctuary for wild donkeys and horses, maintaining public roads and hiking trails, and providing financial assistance to local businesses. The resort has also dedicated millions to improving the Cockburn Harbor waterfront.
At the top rung of eco-luxury, you know this Six Senses resort doesn’t come cheap when it calls a private island home. But in exchange, it offers unparalleled eco-features, from its own reverse osmosis plant to a chicken farm. You would expect a place like this to have an organic vegetable garden, but Sis Senses takes that idea even further by growing medicinal plants, which are featured in the spa and guest rooms. (Have a bad sunburn? Just use that aloe plant in your room.) Six Senses covers the other eco bases by protecting the environment (it spent eight years restoring the native habitat before opening); conserving energy through solar power and more; and reducing waste wherever possible. It also works with the community to provide jobs and internships.
This mid-range boutique hotel on the island of Crete is being heralded as the country’s first eco-smart hotel. It joins a small number of eco-friendly hotels in Greece, and counts solar panel energy, a water management system and eco-friendly materials as part of its design. However, a key differentiator is its emphasis on smart technology, such as the ability to order room service or control room temperature from an in-room tablet. And if you need some inspiration for what to do in the area, simply scan the QR-coded wallpaper, which doubles as a local guidebook of sorts.
One would hope that any place that offers gorilla trekking would also be eco-friendly, but soon-to-open Bisate Lodge goes beyond offering green toiletries. Besides being involved in mountain gorilla conservation efforts, Bisate, and its parent company Wilderness Safaris, have been reforesting the area, located next to Volcanoes National Park. Guests can also get involved by planting a tree during their stay. Luckily you don’t have to wait long to view gorillas and contribute to the environment, since the lodge is set to open in June.
Much buzz already surrounds this mixed-use space, whose two towers will be home to a 247-room Hyatt, rooftop pool, museum, green architecture school and more. But the real news is that Nanjing Green Towers will be Asia’s first vertical forest, a growing trend meant to combat air pollution by essentially covering a building with plant life. Stefano Boeri Architects, who have already created a vertical forest in Milan, will design Nanjing’s towers. The latter will contain more than 3,500 trees and plants and is aiming for a 2018 opening.