The World’s Best Eco Resorts
Kermit was right: It’s not easy being green. Especially when you’re sky-high, sipping bubbly on a private jet. While more and more of us reject plastic bags, embrace bike-sharing programs and shop at the local green market, it doesn’t seem too much to expect our travel choices to be more environmentally aware. We Jetsetters want to travel with style, and feel good doing it. But how can we take in the sights of a new environment or landscape without hurting it? Thankfully, hotel owners around the world are showing the rest of the travel industry how it’s done. In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd, below is a sampling of Jetset Extra’s favorite resorts that have set the bar for environmental excellence. It’s eco-chic baby, and going green has never been more luxurious!
Being earth-friendly has become incredibly chic the past few years, which unfortunately can lead to liberal usage of “eco” and “green”. But how do we Jetsetters get past the green washing? Eco Hotels & Lodge Collection helps consumers cut through “green” noise and get the goods. Focusing on properties that are sustainable and economically viable, while acting responsibly in terms of their local communities and well-being and environmental protection, EHLC holds properties to an exacting standard of sustainability.
By the EHLC’s last count, only about 5% of the 2500 properties around the world claiming to be “eco” or “green,” live up to their advertising. Those 5%, plus the 15% of properties in the process of attaining truly Sustainable Tourism status, are the properties recognized by the EHLC. They’re the cream of the eco-friendly crop, and here are our favorites:
GROOTBOS NATURE RESERVE, South Africa
Situated on a private nature reserve less than 2-hours by car from Cape Town, and overlooking Walker Bay are the exclusive, 5-star lodgings at Grootbos Nature Reserve. The accommodations and activities are sure to impress any eco-warrior traveler. Separated into two all-suite lodging groups—Garden and Forest—each group includes a swimming pool, restaurant, lounge area with telescope and binoculars, and laundry service.
The pricing at Grootbos is all-inclusive, and includes not just lodging but also most activities. The activities hold something for everyone: Spa services, flower safaris through the nature reserve, horseback riding. For the adventurer? Shark cage diving. For those looking to stay in the boat? The Marine Big 5, in which travelers hang out with dolphins, African Penguins, Cape Fur Seals, whales and the Great White Shark.
Recognized year after year for its environmental excellence, Grootbos Nature Reserve is impressive in its preservation of the environment and support of its local environment.
HOTEL ECO PARAISO, Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico
Located within a biological reserve, on a 3-mile virgin beach, Hotel Eco Paraiso in Yucatan, Mexico, is within miles of Celestun Inlet, home to the biggest pink flamingo colony of the world.
Consisting of 24 recently renovated junior suite bungalows, with a capacity of four people per bungalows, Eco Paraiso encourages its guests to disconnect from the world as they know it, and connect with nature. To that end, there aren’t televisions in the bungalows—nature provides an unparalleled view.
Eco Paraiso has a lot to offer guests—including an extensive library, projection room with plasma TV, swimming pool and snack bar with sea view—with an eye for adding new amenities to cater to its guests. New this year: a yoga center, gym and juice bar.
El Nido Resorts, Philippines
The earth is our office. Nature is our boss. Life is our reward. This is the motto of El Nido resorts, located in the Philippines, southwest of Manila. The resort’s efforts have been recognized for its commitment to maintaining a green reputation, and most recently received the Green Hotel Recognition Award for the Association of South East Asian Nations for the second time—the first time in 2008.
Located on Lagen Island and Miniloc Island, within the protected area of El Nido municipality, the two islands of the resort consist of 50 rooms, and range from cottages built on stilts to forest suites built on the fringes of a tropical forest. Activities offered at the resort range from kayaking in the lagoons, snorkeling, cave exploration or sailing around the islands. Spa treatments are also on offer.
El Nido’s commitment to conservation includes tag-and-release programs of endangered sea turtles, wildlife monitoring of flora and fauna on the islands and coastal cleanup.
A truly sustainable resort, El Nido gives travelers an opportunity to relax and play in style—but also be good Earth stewards.
WHAT TO PACK
To really get into the Earth Day spirit, why not throw some green beauty products into your carry-on?
Bella Floria Organics is a great resource for well-sourced organic beauty alternatives. Some standouts include:
- The Sophyto Cleanse, Tone, Serum, Moisturizer, Mask Travel kit. The kit, 100% certified organic, are presented in sterile, pharmaceutical grade packaging. Even if not traveling, this kit allows every eco-warrior to try an entire, organic skin care line before committing.
- Other great eco-friendly stores for one-stop shopping (great for testing before buying!) are Whole Foods and The Body Shop. Both companies were committed to Earth-friendly practices before it was the chic thing to do.
EARTH DAY CELEBRATIONS
To find events in your town, visit the Earth Day website.
To Plan Your Green Getaway
Grootbos Nature Reserve
Grootbos Accommodation Enterprises (Pty) Ltd
PO Box 148, 7220 Gansbaai, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 28-384 8000
Fax: +27 (0) 28-384 8042
E-mail: info @ grootbos.co.za
Hotel Eco Paraiso
KM 10 Del Viejo Camino A Sisal
97363 Celestun, Mexico
01 988 916 2100
El Nido Resorts
18/F 8747 Paseo de Roxas St., Salcedo Village
1226 Makati City Philippines
Tel: +63 (2) 894 5644
Fax: +63 (2) 810 3620
E-mail: holiday @ elnidoresorts.com