There’s no shame in wanting to relax and be pampered among jaw-droppingly beautiful surroundings while you’re on vacay. But if you’re keen on conservation and preservation of the environment, why not do all that fun stuff at an eco-friendly hotel? Rest assured, you don’t have to sacrifice swankiness and splendor for the sake of Mother Earth. Here are seven super-luxurious hotels that place a serious emphasis on being environmentally conscious and treating their guests like royals.
The 7 Most Luxe Eco-Resorts in the World
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
There’s a reason Bali tops the bucket list of most anyone who’s ever been bit by the travel bug—it’s absolutely breathtaking. Among the more than 17,000 tiny islands of Indonesia, it might just take the cake. Environmentally aware folks will want to park their suitcase for this eco-friendly villa situated on an elevated plateau, with its own pool and private cabana overlooking the Indian Ocean. It’s the very first resort in all of Indonesia to receive the highest level of certification from EarthCheck for its myriad environmentally sustainable design measures, including use of local materials, water conservation with soaks and rain gardens and a wastewater management system, using local plants from the special Bali savannah ecosystem and much more.
Hotel Tropico Latino, Costa Rica
This intimate beachfront property located in the small town of Santa Teresa places such an emphasis on environmentally-friendly practices that it’s received a stamp of approval from both the local Environmental Committee, which protects the land and enforces beach cleanups, and the Blue Flag Program, which protects the sanitation and quality of the sea and drinking water. The hotel uses only biodegradable cleaning and fumigation products, as well as environmentally-kind soap and shower gel in every room, transforms all waste from its on-site restaurants into fertilizer used in its tropical gardens and uses EM (Effective Microorganisms) to promote better soil for heartier plants, clean water, odor control, waste management and healthier animals. Oh, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
The Bushcamp Company, Zambia
If you love nature, but camping’s not your thing, perhaps “glamping” in one of the last unspoiled regions of Africa is a worthy alternative. Since nature is their selling point, this small collection of luxury camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park made their operation as “green” as possible in recent years, introducing solar technology throughout all the six bushcamps and also at their Mfuwe Lodge. Each chalet and tent has its own solar water heating system and uses solar panels for power, lighting, charging, fridge-freezers and to pump water. In addition, Mfuwe Lodge runs a “worm farm” where kitchen and organic waste is composted down to produce an organic fertilizer, which they use for their tree planting programs in the villages.
Emirates One&only Wolgan Valley, Australia
From its conception, this resort, nestled on its own 7,000-acre wildlife preserve in Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains, was built with ecological sustainability in mind. It immediately put in place a waste management system that includes rainwater collection, domestic water recycling as well as the use of recycled building materials already present onsite. It also incorporates heat exchange technology and solar panel usage and reduces its carbon footprint by enforcing strict controls and monitoring of fuel usage, emissions measurement and more. One last eco-friendly perk worth mentioning is that it locally sources food and crafts from growers and provedores within 100 miles. Its two key principles are conservation and luxury, so you pretty much can enjoy self-care sans guilt—plus it has a prime location, just a scenic two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney.
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, Costa Rica
Spread across 900 acres of lush rainforest near the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, this five-star hotel offers an unforgettable and fully pampered experience for travels of all kinds, but especially those who are environmentally conscious. All of the water at the resort is naturally heated (even in guest room showers), and it's carbon neutral, with more than 500 species of protected plants and wildlife on site. Additionally, it's established a Tabacon Green program with eco-conscious initiatives such as integral waste management, water conservation, elimination of plastics (no water bottles or straws!) and plant-a-tree programs that guests can participate in. As for sitting in the lap of luxury, it has an adults-only Shangri-La Gardens complete with private cabanas and a full bar and an outdoor spa where treatments are rendered to the sounds of local wildlife.
Casa De Uco, Argentina
Wine lovers, who also prefer to be environmentally friendly, rejoice! This super-luxe hotel tucked in Argentina’s Andes Mountains sits atop 790-acres of some of the most prosperous terrains for cultivating Malbec grapes (yep, the kind that make that delicious, fruit-forward red). The weather is near picture-perfect year round, with an average of 330 days of sunlight, so the villas are self-sufficient with green rooftops, solar panels, geothermal energy in floorings and walls for heating and AC. In addition to the wine barrel program, which gives guests a hands-on experience to make their own wine, the farm-to-table menu is driven by the seasonal ingredients grown directly in the organic vegetable garden.
Sanará Tulum, Mexico
Sanará is arguably one of Tulum's most luxury hotels, yet everything is made in-house, from the bathroom amenities to the gluten-, grain- and dairy-free items in their on-site restaurant. All aspects of the foundations and structures were built with the environment in mind. For example, everything is built above the sand to minimize environmental impact and allow the sea turtles to nest (how sweet is that?). Also, it utilizes rainwater collection systems, grey water recycling and microbe-based septic systems to improve the sustainability model.