Luxury Eco-Resorts

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COMPILED BY Nicola Jayasundera

WHITEPOD (MONTHEY, SWITZERLAND) Whitepod is designed to create an alternative experience in the Swiss Alps and is a great example of eco-luxury. Here’s a collection of luxuriously cosy igloo shaped pods (tents) clustered around the Pod House (a central wooden chalet), set in the pristine Swiss mountains. Dome shaped tents make for low impact accommodation while the hotel is located away from urban pollution. Besides offering breathtaking views of Lake Geneva, these pods come with wood stoves, great insulation, luxury furniture and full service bathrooms. Guests meet for breakfast or to hang out beside the main fireplace.

LAPA RIOS LODGE (OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA)Protecting four square kilometres of Central America’s last remaining tropical lowland rainforest is Lapa Rios Lodge. It offers one of the most nature immersed eco-lodge experiences in the world. Kick back and relax in a hammock, the natural spa or the swimming pool, invest in a yoga class or massage, or choose an active experience while monkeys pass through the grounds. All the furniture in the lodge is handmade from bamboo, and the food served is locally sourced and guests can expect to eat fish caught on the day. Your stay here will reconnect you with nature in the most organic way.

KIAROA ECO-LUXURY RESORT (MARAÚ, BRAZIL) The resort is located on the Maraú Peninsula in the middle of a 240,000 square metre tropical garden that’s a veritable ecological sanctuary. The Kiaroa Eco-Luxury Resort is an elegant and luxurious property with 14 suites, 14 bungalows, a spa and a restaurant. Partly solar powered, the timber used for its construction originated from reforestation areas. With typically tropical decor, the rooms offer guests all the comforts of a five-star resort. Set on the oceanfront, visitors can take boat rides, join in on planned walks or simply hang out by the pool. Kiaroa is a place to relax and enjoy Brazil’s natural beauty.

POST RANCH INN (CALIFORNIA, USA) Embracing the dramatic beauty of the California coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers a serene retreat where romance and connection thrive. Cabins and cottages, which are strung along a rocky ridged slip of Californian cliff, blend rustic elegance with luxury and comfort, and offer stunning ocean and mountain views. These recycled redwood rooms offer total seclusion and nothing but soaring condors, starry nights, breathtaking views and a wood-burning fire for company. The menu is fully organic and healthy, and even the wines are biodynamic. Guests can also enjoy filtered and bottled water that flows from a spring on the property.

GAYANA MARINE RESORT (GAYA ISLAND, MALAYSIA)Nestled in Gaya Island’s crescent Malohom Bay amid protected mangroves and sheltered coral reefs, the Gayana Marine Resort is a picturesque destination that strikes a balance between ecology and luxury. With 45 extraordinary overwater tropical villas, the resort boasts vistas of the aquamarine sea, mangrove forest and tropical jungle. Each abode is designed in such a way that it enhances the lulling sounds of the surf beneath the villa. All the food on the menu is organic and from the area. The resort is also involved in various other eco practices such as giant clam restocking programmes and coral planting. It also offers guests a chance to enjoy scuba diving, jungle trekking, kayaking and paddle boarding.

THE UPPER HOUSE (ADMIRALTY, HONG KONG) The Upper House in Hong Kong was designed by architect André Fu. This haven in the city has gorgeous bathrooms, and 117 studios and suites that are surprisingly spacious and feature natural materials. The hotel has eliminated the use of paper in an effort to stay green; so instead of a room directory, there’s an iPod Touch and a daily e-newspaper. On the sixth floor, you will find a secret garden where guests can lie on the grassy lawn or sit on beanbags and enjoy a delicious snack. All the food is locally sourced.

TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA (SOUTH MALÉ ATOLL, THE MALDIVES)With the Maldives striving to become the world’s first carbon neutral country, Taj Exotica has earned EarthCheck’s certified Silver status. It promotes sustainability while providing an intimate and lavish setting that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Away from the sparkling lights of Malé, this hotel is spread across the Emboodhu Finolhu island, which is located in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. Taj Exotica minimises the use of diesel and electricity in its generation of hot water; and it plants only endemic tree species, and implements a coral regeneration programme.

BANYAN TREE BINTAN (LAGOI, INDONESIA) Banyan Tree is a famed luxury hotel chain with popular resorts stretching from Mexico to China. The Indonesian arm established a Conservation Lab, which helps protect endangered species and works with local communities to protect the surrounding land. Banyan Tree Bintan delivers views of the South China Sea where the tropical sun meets the horizon. Bintan’s only all-villa establishment offers beautifully decorated villas in traditional Balinese style, which are raised on stilts and located on hillsides. The hotel is known for employing an integrated and participatory approach to minimising its impact on the environment, while safeguarding and enhancing it for present and future generations.

TURTLE ISLAND (YASAWA ISLANDS, FIJI) As one of the first completely clean energy hotels, about 85 percent of its operation runs on solar energy. After installing 968 solar panels around the island, Turtle Island can lay claim to being the most sustainable resort in Fiji and most likely the world. Such innovations enable the island to reduce the use of diesel by about 85,000 litres annually and 220 tons of carbon emissions. The delightful cuisine is prepared with fresh seafood from local waters, and fruits and vegetables grown on the island. The resort also offers plenty of outdoor activities such as sailing, scuba diving, horseback riding and windsurfing.

THE SCARLET (CORNWALL, UK) Eco-friendly through and through and equally true to its roots, The Scarlet is decorated with paintings by local artists. Lashings of glass make the most of this Cornwall hotel’s clifftop setting with its vistas of the sea and sand. Every room comes with a balcony or outdoor pod. In addition to harvesting rainwater, the hotel has taken the initiative to recycle grey water to flush toilets in a bid to reduce the use of potable water. Its buildings have airtight seals, which keep the warm air in and cold air out, and reduces the need for heat from the biomass boiler and solar panels.

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