As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, eco-friendly hotels are popping up in various locations around the globe. These properties are designed to conserve energy and water, and they use sustainable practices to create a greener travel experience for guests. As a traveler, choosing more planet-friendly hotels is an important step towards reducing your carbon footprint.
While the concept of eco-friendly hotels is universal, there are some differences between the U.S. and international properties. In the U.S., eco-conscious hotels are often certified by organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or the Green Seal, which set specific standards for sustainability. These certifications ensure that the hotel meets certain criteria for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and sustainable practices. By contrast, international hotels may not have specific certifications, but they may still implement sustainable practices in their operations. While there are differences between these hotels, the goal is the same: to create an earth-friendly travel experience for guests.
We’ve rounded up some of the best eco-friendly hotels around the world that will help make your next trip greener.
The Gabriel South Beach, Miami
The Gabriel South Beach is a Black-owned hotel powered by 100% renewable energy. And, it is a zero single-use plastic property, exceeding the compliance requirements of the City of Miami Beach. The hotel is part of Conscious Certified Hotels (CCH), an organization that focuses on implementing environmental improvements to hotel operations and caters to purposeful travelers who seek out properties that are focused on supporting sustainable causes. Believing that the hotel can play a crucial role in supporting the growth and development of the community, the hotel gives back 1% from every night to one of three charity partners of choice—each of which have been vetted through social, health and environmental standards.
This Earth Day the hotel is partnering with Clean This Beach Up to sponsor the organization’s beach cleanup.
Mfuwe Lodge, Zambia
Perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, Mfuwe Lodge has won awards for its sustainability efforts and is noted as being one of the world's most "green" luxury eco-lodges. Its parent company, the Bushcamp Company, is a Zambia-based safari operator that has been dedicated to protecting South Luangwa Valley's wildlife and natural resources for over 25 years. Using sustainable practices, Bushcamp Company has set an example for other safari operators and luxury lodges, showing that eco-friendliness and luxury can go hand-in-hand.
Apart from a solar water heating system and solar panels for power, lighting and charging, the lodge also features sustainably-sourced timber and cement bricks instead of wood-fired ones. Moreover, it has a worm farm where the kitchen and organic waste are composted to produce organic fertilizer for local villages' tree planting programs. The worms reproduce every two weeks, each eating 50% of its body weight daily to produce vermicompost. The compost is used to grow vegetables, crops, and tree seedlings. Using sustainable practices, Bushcamp Company has set an example for other safari operators and luxury lodges, showing that eco-friendliness and luxury can go hand-in-hand.
Adare Manor, Ireland
Adare Manor, a 19th-century castle in the picturesque Adare Village of County Limerick, is moving towards a greener future. The resort has committed to minimizing its carbon footprint and toimplementing initiatives to support a sustainable community and promote the natural growth and development of the surrounding environment. The accommodation has taken numerous steps to fulfill its commitment to sustainability, including collaborating with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to increase the sustainably-managed areas on its 840-acre estate, planting thousands of native and locally sourced saplings and mature trees, and recycling food waste into soil compost to fertilize its greens and gardens.
Additionally, Adare Manor is promoting biodiversity by constructing new wetlands on its golf course, welcoming hives of honey bees to produce its honey, and planting over 300 new trees across its estate. The resort has introduced a solar farm to promote resource efficiency, installed electric car charging points and sources high-quality, locally-sourced produce for its restaurants, including the Michelin-star restaurant The Oak Room.
Calilo, Ios, Greece
Situated on the unspoiled island of Ios in the Greek Cyclades, the family-owned luxury resort Calilo was created with sustainability and ecotourism at the heart of its ethos. Sustainability efforts include rewilding with a donkey sanctuary and keeping 99% of the land undeveloped in order to sustain the island's natural beauty.
The family has invested efforts in several conservation projects, including the Elektra olive tree project, where they have planted over 60,000 plants from around the islands to restore the habitat that had previously been burned by wildfire and land deforestation, including 550 ancient olive trees (some more than 300 yrs old) which were saved from being sold for wildfire in Athens. Guests can ‘adopt’ and name a tree and follow it throughout its journey of life over the years.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Alila Villas Uluwatu has implemented various initiatives to reduce waste, conserve energy, and preserve the local environment. One of the resort's unique features is its sustainability lab, where guests and staff can learn about environmental initiatives and take part in waste reduction solutions. This includes upcycling glass bottles into drinking glasses, turning old tires into seats, and shredding old slippers for use in bean bag chairs. To minimize energy consumption, the resort uses local materials for its environmentally sustainable design features such as flat lava rock roofs, which has natural insulation properties and is resistant to color fading.
Alila Villas Uluwatu is committed to its "zero waste to landfill" mission. All Alila hotels in Bali have implemented waste management systems to prevent waste from ending up in landfills. The resort also has a "no plastic policy" to reduce plastic waste.
Beach Bay Hvar Hotel, Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, a stunning island located in the Adriatic Sea, is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and vibrant nightlife. In recent years, the island has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, leading to concerns about the impact of tourism on the local environment and community. The Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is not only the island's first sustainable hotel, but also the first hotel in Croatia to join UNESCO's newest tourism program, Sustainable Travel Pledge, a program that promotes sustainable tourism practices and encourages hotels to minimize their environmental impact.
One of the standout features of the Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is its internal solar-power system. Hvar is one of the sunniest islands in the Adriatic, with over 2,800 hours of annual sunshine. By utilizing this renewable energy source, the eco-friendly hotel can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the island's overall sustainability efforts.