From eco-friendly infrastructure and waste reduction to minimal transportation and conservation efforts, sustainability can extend as far as the imagination permits.
This curated list of eco-friendly hotels captures the most innovative and committed companies to making your holiday as guilt-free as can possibly be without compromising on luxury and wellness.
Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu Rei Hotel, Japan
Tokyu Hotels developed the world’s first carbon-free solution to generate energy for an entire hotel from waste alone.
Located in the city of Kawasaki, within greater Tokyo, Japan’s top environmentally friendly hotel is powered by a combination of 70 per cent food waste and 30 per cent plastic waste sourced both locally and from the hotel’s amenities, which is then converted to hydrogen using Toshiba technology. The highest percentage of renewable energy is generated by leftover food and is sent to a nearby power plant that the company then purchases to be used as electricity.
By participating in the hotel’s Green Coin Program guests are encouraged to consider if they require the plastic-based resources available to them or wish to donate these to the hydrogen conversion system as well as support other initiatives.
In fact, the hotel manages to recycle enough waste to produce energy for 82 four-person households per day while reducing carbon emissions equivalent to planting 14,300 cedar trees.
In line with its innovative approach to sustainability are the pesticide-free lettuces produced within the hotel using hydroponics and LED photosynthesis lights.
room2 Chiswick Hometel, Britain
Across Lamington Group’s ever-expanding portfolio is a commitment to only develop and operate whole-life net-zero carbon hotels, which take into account the entire carbon footprint and impact on the environment that a building has across its operations, construction, maintenance and eventual demolition. It’s the first hotel company in the world to set a ‘whole life’ building standard and consider its entire carbon footprint.
“Whole life net zero means we have taken into full account our emissions and are not contributing further to climate change,” room2’s Co-Founder Robert Godwin explains.
However, like any pioneering move, Chiswick’s opening in December marked a significant milestone that has not been without its challenges.
“As you would imagine, creating the world’s first fully net-zero hometel was no mean feat,” Godwin confesses. “A building that includes a 200-metre-deep ground source heat pump, solar panels, runs on 100 per cent renewable energy and uses electricity only (no fossil fuels) doesn’t come without its challenges.”
As a result, guests can expect all the luxuries they would normally encounter in a serviced apartment, but will depart leaving a zero-carbon footprint trail behind them.
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
The luxury archipelago resort is underpinned by the concept of “perpetuality”, designed to include guests in its ongoing commitment to nurture nature. While visitors are encouraged to take up organic gardening, adopt a turtle, enjoy a plant-based cuisine and collect beach waste, kids can participate in cutting-edge sustainability projects or try free diving lessons.
In addition to supporting the Olive Ridley Project, the resort reveals its commitment to marine conservation through coral propagation and repurposing plastic waste.
With the aim of having Swimsol solar plants supply half of the resort’s energy requirements by 2030, a fully sun-powered kids’ club is already established alongside an organic permaculture garden. A local water bottling plant, Nordaq is also anticipated to meet the entire island’s drinking needs. These strategies ensure a degree of self-sufficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions attributed to a reliance on sourcing resources offshore.
A nifty addition to the mix are the low carbon spirits and cocktails thanks to the latest technology provided by ecoSPIRITS, not to mention zero-waste kitchens.
Arctic Bath, Sweden
Fusing luxury, wellness and sustainability into the ultimate traditional Swedish experience, Artic Bath, situated in the country’s north, is there to be enjoyed under the midnight sky or the northern lights.
With the main hotel building floating in the summer and resting on ice in the wintertime – tastefully embedded in its surroundings – the exterior hints at an age-old tradition by crafting a log jam from locally and sustainably felled trees and a focus on guests immersing themselves wholeheartedly in nature to ensure a minimal carbon footprint.
Pine-clad walls and Baltic grey limestone floors provide the foundation for a well-curated modern Swedish design that supports native designers and eliminates the need for transport carbon emissions.
Guided by the principles of ‘local, pure and sustainable’ the menu is created from ingredients sourced within a 40-kilometre radius with Sami culture embedded in both the choice of recipes and hotel activities.
Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
In close proximately to wildlife and nature, this luxury safari camp has systems in place that make use of surrounding natural resources, like sunlight and water, with both guests and animals in mind.
The main actions taken towards a greener future include solar panels, which account for 30 per cent of overall energy consumption, and converting food and other forms of waste into natural gas used for cooking. With heat pumps having replaced electrical geysers there has also been an 80 per cent reduction in electricity usage.
Perhaps the most impactful environmental investment was into the water sewerage treatment plant, which converts grey water into clean drinking water for animals to enjoy as they capture the hearts of onlooking guests.
Tierra Hotels, Chile
With a comprehensive system in place based on three pillars, Tierra Hotels’ eco-friendly model extends well beyond the walls of its cosy and inviting interiors.
With three sustainable boutique lodges situated within the Atacama Desert, Chiloé and Patagonia, the goal is for the hotels to maintain their natural balance with the surroundings by having minimal impact. This is achieved through utilising energy-efficient features and clean renewable energy sources, such as solar panels.
The buildings themselves are sustainably designed to take advantage of natural resources as well as being constructed from local materials. Tierra Atacama, one of the lodges, is in fact equipped with its own well to meet the entire hotel’s needs.
Tierra Hotels also nurtures the social relationships it has with local communities as part of its sustainability strategy. The workers, in particular, are trusted and given the freedom to grow into their roles, resulting in a 75 per cent return rate for the following season.
Each hotel allows guests to connect with local culture through various performances and excursions taking place as well as having the opportunity to support Indigenous communities and small businesses that supply high-quality local products that make use of the rich flora available to them.
At Uma Spa guests can enjoy treatments with Chilean native flowers infused in oils and Chilean papaya-based lotions.
An important aspect of sustainability is ensuring the survival of native plant and animal species. For this reason, local plant varieties were replanted following construction to benefit endangered wildlife that coexists alongside the hotels.
A policy of “No Following” was also introduced to protect the animals from guests intruding into their living spaces during excursions. With unique ecosystems, such as marshes in close proximity to the properties, training staff and educating guests on how to conserve these areas is paramount to the sustainable management of these habitats.