Going green isn’t always as simple as it seems, especially when in far-flung destinations. Travel takes its toll on the environment — whether it’s long haul flights adding to our carbon footprint or high energy and water usage at hotels, it can be difficult to be a conscious traveller.
Still, sustainable travel is on the up with more and more tourists getting on abroad with eco-tourism. From sourcing local products instead of visiting the chain gift shop to using public transport, walking and exploring by bike, there are plenty of ways to practise responsible and ethical travel.
Resorts and travel companies are also wising up to plant-friendly trips. But, green doesn’t have to mean scaling back on style. We’ve compiled a list of private island escapes, rainforest retreats and sleek hideaways with a sustainable approach to luxury travel.
1. Cempedak Private Island, Indonesia
Barefoot luxury meets environmental living in this dream-worthy destination. Committed to conservation, Cempedak is made from hand-picked bamboo sourced from the Indonesian Islands of Java and Sumatra. The bamboo villas sit on white sandy shores which overlook the scenic seascape. Cempedak.com
2. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
Tucked between mountains, forest and sea, this luxury eco-reserve is dedicated to preserving the wilderness and botanical treasures which surround it. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the natural habit of wildlife and vegetation, without disturbing the natural order. Grootbos.com
3. Six Senses, Bhutan
In Bhutan, environmental protection goes hand in hand with cultural preservation. As the world’s only carbon-negative country, sustainability is key and so is outdoor living. At Six Senses enjoy hiking through forests or mushroom foraging with a local chef and birding across a chain of national parks, before relaxing in one of the five idyllic lodges dotted across the country. Sixsenses.com
4. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
A hideaway in the cloud forests of Ecuadorian Chocó, the Mashpi is one of the National Geographic’s Unique Lodges Of The World. The lodge was built using sustainable methods and materials — which blend in seamlessly with its natural biodiverse environment. The boutique and spa add a luxury touch and the viewing platform offers spectacular experience like no other. Mashpilodge.com
5.Borgo Pignano, Italy
Located in the Tuscan countryside, Borgo Pignano believes in the positive power of travel to enhance the environment, benefit local people and to protect natural and cultural heritage for future generations. The hotel was restored using locally sourced and reclaimed materials, and prides itself on the array of eco-friendly products on offer. It also uses solar panels, wood-chipped boilers and innovative farming to constantly improve the green setting. Borgopignano.com
- Words by Jenna Calvert