You're planning your summer vacation, which you're really excited about. You've been working hard all spring and just want to get away for a week (or two). Maybe go to the beach. Maybe head to Europe or perhaps you're up for something more exotic. But you've got that tinge of guilt. You want a memorable trip with all the fun and luxuries but you also want live your values and be conscious of your carbon footprint.
Not to worry! With these 7 leading eco-resorts, you can relax in style knowing that you're staying in some of the leading eco-friendly innovative hotels and resorts.
Without further adieu, you're ready to start vacation planning:
1. LeFay Resort and Spa, Largo di Garda, Italy
Heading to Europe this summer? Fly to Milano for some shopping and culture. After a few days, leave the bustle of the city behind and head to LeFay Resort and Spa at Largo di Garda. A leader in environmental sustainability, this resort is a Green Globe-certified designer resort thanks to it's own biomass-fueled electricity plant, it's use of renewable energy sources and it's environmentally oriented design that helps it to naturally save on heating. Of course overlooking olive and lemon trees which sit on a natural parkland is makes for absolute perfection. The elegantly designed suites, exceptional organic Italian dining and a "commitment to wellness that extends from healing the body to greening the planet," don't hurt either.
2. The Green House, Bournemouth, England
After your relaxing lake getaway, hop a flight in Milan and head to tide town of Bournemouth in southern England. There you can stay at The Green Hotel, a boutique hotel claiming to be one of the greenest hotels on the planet. We are no experts when it comes to the greenest hotels in the world, but we'd bet you'd be hard pressed to find a hotel more thorough in their commitment to the planet. For starters, The Green House uses LED lighting, relies on solar power to heat its water and uses local and (when available) meat, vegetable, dairy and seafood in its local restaurants. But just wait until you get to your room. There you will find "Forest Stewardship Council-certified wallpaper made with vegetable inks and furniture crafted from storm-felled trees.
All of this has earned the hotel a well-deserved GOLD level status from the UK's Green tourism board and are hearty approval to boot.
3. Kenoa Resort, Barra De San Miguel, Brazil
Thinking of something different than Europe? Heading down to Brazil for the Olympics? Rio is nice, but for a truly unforgettable and relaxing experience head to the north coast. In the town of Barra De San Miguel you'll find the Kenoa Resort. The hotel provides a high-end luxury feel while maintaining its natural roots. Here you will find walls plastered in local gray mud instead of pain, paper bags instead of plastic ones, sinks made from reclaimed local wood and an architectural design that minimizes the need for air conditioning by harnessing the breeze off the ocean. I mean the Olympics are ok but you'll find us here.
4. Six Senses Resort, Con Dao, Vietnam
If you're looking for a really exotic adventure, head to Vietnam where there are few better places to stay than Six Senses Resort. The resort will take good care of you, the environment and its local community. A portion of the water you buy will go towards funding clean water wells for the local community. The resort also makes sure to buy local and only from vendors who care about sustainability as well. Perhaps the coolest innovation? If you are a golfer, you can practice your sandshots from the beach into the ocean because the balls are biodegradable and release fish food as the dissolve. Talk about an ace hotel!
5. Whitepod, Aigle, Switzerland
OK, so Vietnam was a little too adventurous? How about heading almost 4,600 feet above sea level to the base of the Swiss Alps? There at the Whitepod Hotel you will find 15 igloo-esque pods that dot the pristine landscape. The pods are low-impact in terms of their carbon footprint and the resort puts a heavy emphasis on low electricity and water consumption, using renewable resources and educating guests on environmental protection. While winter sports such as skiing and dog sledding are the main draws, there is plenty to do in the summer. For starters, there are main pod-house massages along with a Finnish sauna and a Japanese bath. For the outdoorsman, the hiking is world class and for the daredevils, paragliding the alps should quench the need for thrills. Talk about a sustained high!
6. URBN Hotel, Shanghai, China
The last place you'd probably think to take a relaxing eco-oriented vacation would be in China. Particularly Shanghai, a city known more for its dense blanketing smog and crimes against the environment. But for those looking for urban adventure, look no further than a hotel with the word in its name. The URBN Hotel in Shanghai is taking the lead when it comes to tackling China's pollution problems. This boutique hotel is far more than just another chic hotel. Its carbon neutral status means it's good for the planet as well. A former renovated factory warehouse, URBN Hotel incorporates locally sourced and recycled materials. Every guest room features an air purification system, mattresses are made from natural materials including cactus fiber and seaweed, cleaning products are organic, and energy-efficient cooling and heating systems have been installed. If you somehow weren't already sold, it also participates in the Million Tree Project, an initiative that plants trees in Mongolia to offset carbon emissions.