- 1 / 11Everyday is Earth Day at these 9 Eco-Luxe ResortsLuxury is defined in the priorities of the beholder, but if a goal is to make as little an impact on the planet as possible, there are vacation havens of like mind. In honor of Earth Day this Friday, April 22nd, here are nine eco-luxe resorts that aim to enhance the beauty of the natural world, providing the most comfort with the least human footprint.
- 2 / 111. TABACON THERMAL RESORT & SPATabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, Costa Rica
Located at the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, this tropical, carbon-neutral spa resort also sits on 872 acres of protected natural reserve. The volcano’s magma naturally heats the thermal springs and waterfalls on the property, which also boasts more than 500 local plants and wildlife species, including howler monkeys and toucans. Water conservation is a priority, with low-flow showers and all the hot water sourced from the thermal springs. Natural pools in the Shangri-La gardens are ideal for relaxing, while spa treatments are offered in open-air bungalows enveloped by the rainforest. Just be sure to watch out for those monkeys while you’re prepped for your massage (read: naked) al-fresco.
Photo courtesy of Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
- 3 / 112. WHITEPODWhitepod, Switzerland
While the child in us has always wanted to stay in an igloo, even better is a geodesic dome, complete with wood-burning stove, and a sundeck for warmer months. With its innovative design Whitepod in the Swiss Alps has been a favorite of outdoorsy travelers since 2004, for not only for its private slopes with winter activities of skiing, husky sledding, snow-scooting (a combination of biking and skiing) and snow shoeing but also summer hikes, horse riding, biking, and paragliding, all with minimal environmental impact. Waste is recycled, motor transportation is minimal, and food is sourced locally. And for down-time, the pods surround a central chalet housing a restaurant and spa.
Photo by Whitepod Hotel/Flickr
- 4 / 113. THE PAVILIONS HIMALAYASThe Pavilions Himalayas, Nepal
This month marks one year after the devastating earthquake in Nepal that took almost 9,000 lives. The country is still in recovery, but still stunning as ever. Take in the natural beauty at this boutique resort in Pokhra, right at the foothills of the Himalayas in a valley near Phewa Lake, a hub for canoeing, paragliding, and other outdoor activities including, of course, trekking. The resort, with 13 eco-friendly villas, is surrounded by organic farmland and utilizes solar energy, harvested rainwater, and biodegrable toiletries made from Nepalese ingredients. They also farm organically and provide sustainable employment for villagers.
Photo Courtesy of The Pavilions Himalayas
- 5 / 114. SHERGARH TENTED CAMPShergarh Tented Camp, India
There are tents you buy when you go camping, and then there are the glamping-style accomodations at Sherargh Tented Camp, a homey yet secluded resort in the pristine wilderness of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, home to approximately 75 breeding tigers as well as deer, jackals, antelope, leopards, and gaur, or Indian bison. As the name implies, you’ll stay in one of just six tents, each well separated from the others and housed under in baked mud tiles for shade and insulation, and each with a mud verandah. Days are spent on safari or walks with naturalists and nights are spent eating homemade Indian fare made with ingredients grown close by, and relaxing by the spring-fed pond, in which you can also take a dip to cool off when needed.
Photo Courtesy of Shergarh Tented Camp
- 6 / 115. BELLE MONT FARMBelle Mont Farm, St. Kitts and Nevis
Floor-to-ceiling doors welcome in sunlight at Belle Mont Farms in St. Kitts, and banana leaves and sugar canes create privacy. But while lavish accommodations abound, sustainability is at the heart of the stunning property. In this case it means commitment to the community through hiring practices, and the delicious West Indian version of farm-to-table dining. Set on 400-acre organic farmland in the foothills of Mount Liamuiga meals are prepared by chef Christophe Letard, a veteran of Relais & Châteaux properties, with ingredients like bananas, mangos, pineapples, papaya and more from the surrounding areas or foraged just outside your door. There's also even a sustainable golf course, built with mostly local materials, set to open later this year.
Photo Courtesy of Belle Mont Farm
- 7 / 116. ADRERE AMELLALAdrere Amellal, Egypt
Silence is a luxury often too scarce, but there’s no shortage of it at Egypt’s desert abode Adrere Amellal. Located in the Siwa Oasis—made famous by Alexander the Great’s visits to the Oracle of Amon—the walls of the eco-resort blend seamlessly into the desert environs, built into a sandstone mountain and with indigenous materials made from mud and salt culled from Siwa’s lakes. Be spoiled by your own private concierge, and a large pool sourced by natural springs. The ceilings are made from palm beams, the food is primarily locally sourced and, the property does not use electricity, which makes for romantic candle-lit nights overlooking Lake Siwa at the foot of the White Mountain cliffs. Famous fans have included Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Photo by W/Flickr
- 8 / 117. MISOOL ECO RESORTMisool Eco Resort, Indonesia
It doesn’t get more luxurious than a tropical private island, especially one that comes with exclusive diving access. Indonesia’s remote Misool Eco Resort is housed in a Marine Protected area, and includes a shark and manta sanctuary, which the resort helped create. Therefore a stay there means not only relaxing in a turquoise paradise, but spectacular access to life underwater, while also aiding in the resort’s efforts of sustainable local employment and the conservation and restoration of biodiverse reefs. Buildings are made of reclaimed tropical hardwood and cottages are balanced in the water on stilts (with a built-in hammock on the veranda!), for minimal environmental disruption.
Photo by Behan/Flickr
- 9 / 118. ELLERMAN HOUSEEllerman House, South Africa
The breathtaking Ellerman House in Cape Town has long been lauded for its nationalistic art collection—one of the most representative collections of South African art in the world—and corkscrew wine gallery focusing on South African wines. They’ve stepped up again for the country, this time by going eco-friendly. Lighting is energy-efficient and solar-powered, and recycling efforts include composting and water repurposing, the results of which are used to nourish the gardens of indigenous South African plants.
Photo Courtesy of Ellerman House
- 10 / 119. ARGOS IN CAPPODOCIAArgos in Cappodocia, Turkey
Opened in Uchisar in 2010, Argos was once an medieval monastery. Today it’s been re-purposed and restored with original underground tunnels and caves and some cave-like stone rooms—some with plunge pools—in a nod to the traditional dwellings of Cappadocia. The lava-and-erosion-sculpted Pigeon Valley make for spectacular, lunar-like views below (while you're there be sure to do the requisite hot-air balloon ride), and the food and wine are regional. In fact, the hotel has its own vineyard, which is watered by its own irrigation system.
Photo Courtesy of Argos in Cappodocia
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