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12 Eco-Travel Destinations Getting It Right

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12 Eco-Travel Destinations Getting It Right

Tread lightly on our precious earth

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Looking for the best ecotourism destinations on the planet? From UK hotels going green with biomass boilers and upcycling towel schemes to far-flung retreats created solely to preserve their local environment, these eco-travel accommodations are all worth adding to your bucket list. These are the hotels and retreats getting it right… 

Ecotourism: Eco-Travel Destinations 2019

INDIA: Dharana at Shillim

Dharana at Shillim

This eco-retreat and spa is located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sahyadris mountain range in southern India. Guests are encouraged to take nature walks through the rice fields, bamboo plantations and organic gardens at Dharana at Shillim Estate, where everything is focused toward environmental sustainability and Ayurvedic wellness principles. www.shillim.in

UGANDA: Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project

Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project, copyright Sinamatella

Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project, copyright Sinamatella

The Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project, in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority and Volcanoes Safaris, has been safeguarding the gorge’s fragile ecosystem for a decade. Known as the ‘Valley of the Apes’, this Ugandan wildlife hotspot is home to a rich wildlife bio-diversity including chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys. Guests at the Kyambura Gorge Lodge can experience a new series of walks for 2019, in the eco buffer zone and the wetland. www.volcanoessafaris.com

INDONESIA: The W Hotel, Bali

W Hotel Bali Goby the Fish

Travellers will be no stranger to The W; the luxury hotels are dotted across the globe, but The W Bali is particularly special – and not just because of its unique tiered swimming pool, gracious service, and cooler than cool reputation. Chef’s Garden is the hotel’s new kitchen garden used to grow fresh fruits and vegetables (everything from lettuce to ghost pepper), micro greens, herbs, and edible flowers, working to maximise sustainability and find ways of growing and using food on site. If you’d like to harvest your own meal, the ‘Wanna be Chef’ experience at the W’s Starfish Bloo restaurant invites you to do it all yourself (under the guidance of an expert, of course). It’s a simple but effective initiative; do good, eat good. Plus, you won’t find any plastic straws or plastic bags used here – and if guests do pick one up on the outside, they’re invited to pop them into ‘Goby the Fish’, a giant wire fish installed on the hotel’s beachfront to raise awareness around plastic waste in Bali’s oceans. marriott.com

ITALY: Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, Tuscany

Set in an ancient medieval village amidst 2,700 acres of protected vineyards, olive groves, lakes and a wildlife reserve, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi combines an authentic luxury Tuscan escape with cutting edge sustainable initiatives. A central biomass plant provides the entire estate with heating and cooling energy, while traditional wells provide purified drinking water. The estate golf courses are GEO Certified, while the restored and additional buildings are constructed using recycled wood and reclaimed stone. Castelfalfi is also home to 57 acres of vineyards, where all agricultural production is organic, including seven wine labels and 35,000 litres of olive oil produced annually. castelfalfi.com

UK: The Scarlet

The Scarlet

The Scarlet

If you want to stay closer to home for a more, well, eco eco-escape, look no further than north Cornwall’s The Scarlet, with solar panels, biomass boilers, eco-dining initiatives and upcycling towel programmes all upping its green credentials. Perched on a cliff top with breath-taking views, there are few places better positioned to consider the importance of protecting our glorious planet. www.scarlethotel.co.uk

Find your next UK break with our Great British & Irish Hotels guide

BARBADOS: Eco Lifestyle Lodge

Eco Lifestyle Lodge

Barbados as a whole is embracing sustainability, with a host of initiatives to protect our planet. As of this month, the importation, retail, sale and use of petro-based single-use plastic (plastic made from petroleum) is no longer allowed in Barbados. Carlisle Bay in the south west of Barbados is a marine-protected area, and home to the Eco Lifestyle Lodge, which features tropical gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, an appealing farm and sea-to-table restaurant offering and rooms with furniture made from upcycled mahogany. www.ecolifestylelodge.com

FRANCE: The Eco Lodge, Chamonix

The Eco Lodge, Chamonix

This self-sufficient lodge has some serious ecotourism credentials, running completely on renewable energy. The lodge is built to passivhaus standard using green technology throughout, geothermal and solar-thermal systems providing the heating and solar panels producing enough energy to make the house zero emissions. The outdoor terrace features a sauna pod and a hot tub from which to enjoy mountain views of the beautiful planet that needs our protection.www.firefly-collection.com

MOZAMBIQUE: andBeyond Oceans Without Borders, Vamizi Island

Turtles and divers, andBeyond Oceans Without Borders

Through their Oceans without Borders initiative, andBeyond is turning its focus to marine conservation, using its three island properties (andBeyond Benguerra Island and andBeyond Vamizi Island in Mozambique, and andBeyond Mnemba Island off Zanzibar) to influence more than 3,000 km of Indian Ocean coastline. On the Oceans without Borders Small Group Trip from 9-14 October 2019, guests can embark on a privately guided 6-day experience and gain insight into the marine conservation and community development activities on the project. They will also have the chance to enjoy a dive on Neptune’s Arm, stand up paddle boarding and snorkelling (in between some beach time). The trip will be guided by Dr Tessa Hempson, one of the leading Marine Biologists in East Africa. The Oceans without Borders Journey costs from US$ 10,775 per person based on two sharing. www.andbeyond.com

CAMBODIA: Knai Bang Chatt, Kep

Knai Bang Chatt, Kep

Knai Bang Chatt, a boutique hotel on Kep Sur Mer on Cambodia’s South Coast, has been awarded a platinum ‘Green Growth’ certificate, and is the first Cambodian hotel to be recognised as internationally sustainable. Sustainable practices include significantly reducing the consumption of plastic packaging by sterilising and bottling drinking water in reusable glass bottles, using bio-degradable plastic bags, and drawing on its own bio diverse organic gardens to feed its guests. The resort also has a Sustainability Manager on site and offers tours to guests to highlight initiatives. www.knaibangchatt.com

GREECE: Costa Navarino

Costa Navarino, Messinia, Greece, pool

Sustainability is at the heart of everything Costa Navarino does, reflecting their commitment to responsibility for the local area. With policies in place to protect the undisturbed area of southern Greece, the resort adheres to strict environmental management guidelines, with environmental protection as a top priority, from construction and design through to operation. It is home to Europe’s largest olive grove transplantation program, preserving trees that have been part of the landscape for hundreds of years, there is a loggerhead sea turtle protection programme and it protects the habitat of the only European population of the African chameleon in Gialova lagoon. Furthermore, all properties use bioclimatic design and the whole resort has a wholly sustainable water system using only water that is naturally replaced. Green credentials aside, It’s one of our favourite family-friendly Greek holiday destinations. www.costanavarino.com

MALLORCA: Mallorca 6

Mallorca 6

One of the hottest destinations of 2019, if Mallorca is top of your list for a weekender this year, book into Mallorca 6, tucked between the Sierra Tramontana mountains and the Mediterranean sea on the north coast of the island. An eco-friendly self-sufficient home has its own solar panels and its very own organic vegetable patch. The villa also benefits from a natural and fully sustainable spring-fed plunge pool, which is constantly refreshed by water straight from the mountains meaning it’s completely chemical-free. www.thetopvillas.com

ITALY: Villa Lena

Villa Lena

Villa Lena

Having re-opened this May, Villa Lena in Tuscany has been completely redesigned with a drive toward carbon neutrality. Largely powered by solar energy, a new light and rain pavilion will host a water recycling plant and collection system, re-using water and contributing to its sustainability. The villa also features a farm-to-table organic restaurant which benefits from the estate’s biodynamic agriculture programme. www.villa-lena.it

Sustainable Dining: A Guide