Here is a guide on sustainability-focused hotels across the globe by Imogen, a longtime travel enthusiast of @explorerwondererwriter on Instagram. I am a freelance travel and lifestyle writer passionate about sustainability and conservation in the two spaces.
While searching for places to stay, many of us now rank ‘sustainability’ as one of our top five filters. Ecotourism is a space challenged to do better to support the surrounding communities and landscapes.
The places chosen have abundant conservation and innovation and are incredibly special places dotted across the globe. Whether you are looking to traverse somewhere cold for some soul-searching or somewhere a little warmer for an awe-inspiring safari, there will be a place for you in this guide.
Spread across an expansive lush 100 acres, the Kalundewa retreat co-exists with the landscape that lives around it. With only a few resplendent residences for guests on the land, they work with local agriculture processes to negate any impact on the land. All of their energy comes directly from solar panels on site, and they grow and cultivate 150 varieties of plants and vegetables to be used for culinary innovation in their kitchens.
The onsite farmers use a naturalistic approach to agriculture and aim to be 100% organic in years to come. Guests are invited to participate in the different parts of their cultivation methods, from transporting seedlings to tending to their different vegetable varieties.
But now, it is a hub for Icelandic culture and abundant flora and fauna. A destination for the infamous northern lights, the location is perfect for the ‘golden route.’ The use of the natural landscape to support this hotel is second to none, especially the hot springs, which provide geothermal energy for the hotel's natural hot pool.
The hotel has literally been built with a thought from the ground up. Recycled wood supports the structure of the outside of the hotel, and the reused wood is continued throughout in the form of furniture in both the main lobby spaces and rooms. From the hand sinks crafted from old recycled tires to the lights made from lava and recycled wood, there is no end of ingenuity in this hotel.
Built upon three sustainability pillars, the Suarga Padang Padang in Uluwatu is the escape from the rush of everyday life that you may just never know you needed.
Starting with the architecture, which was created using collected old wood from abandoned ironwood pontoons in Borneo, broken teak houses, and desolate factories, they show how the balance of aesthetics and sustainability can be created.
The Bisate lodges overlook a volcano national park in North West Rwanda and offer the opportunity to gaze at two now extinct volcanoes, Bisoke and Karisimbi.
Not at all interested in the traditional ‘big 5’? The location of their lodges makes it easier to explore the rich green flora and ‘mega-fauna' from the view from your room.
If you couldn't already love this place enough, their endless efforts to protect their surrounding nature will make you fall head over heels. They help to conserve and save more than 2.5 million hectares across eight biomes and work with residents to help staff and put their views into the hotel's legacy.
Their mantra is “100% recycled,” and they used this as a central piece of the hotel. So much so that this essence was captured and transformed into wall art among the many walls in the hotel.
They aim to offer their guests a healthy way to retreat with delicious vegetarian and vegan food created daily depending on what is ready and fresh to be picked from the garden.