Eco-friendly luxury: here are the world’s top green hotels

By Bianca Delbao,

Gone are the days where hotels were all about delivering freshly laundered sheets and towels on a daily basis – today, it’s all about delivering unique and luxurious hotel experiences whilst being eco-friendly. Thankfully, hotels have realised that going green doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out the luxuries – and not only will it benefit the earth, but also your conscience.

There are plenty of measure you can take to conserve water and energy on your travels, but if you need a bit of help and still crave all the trimmings of a luxury resort, here are some of the world’s best green hotels: they’re wonderfully sumptuous whilst paying homage to mother earth.

1. The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort – Langkawi, Malaysia

Andaman - surroundings

The Andaman is located on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, in the midst of a tropical rainforest between the picturesque Cincang mountain range and the sparkling Andaman Sea. This Luxury Collection Resort takes eco-friendly practices to the next level by using substitute energy for the majority of its functions: energy efficient light bulbs, low-flow shower heads and pre-programmed light and air conditioning settings.

Andaman - walkway

Motorised water sport activities are prohibited as they could destroy the live coral and contribute to water pollution. The Andaman recycles as much as possible, re-using cooking oil from the hotel kitchen as biodiesel and collecting rain water to allow guests to wash their hands and feet. Guests are encouraged to participate in the conservation of the surroundings, with coral reef enhancement and tree planting programs available to preserve this untouched region.

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2. Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa – Daintree Rainforest, Australia

Restaurant at the Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa, Australia

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa is an award-winning eco-friendly hotel in the heart of the oldest rainforest in the world. The lodgings are specifically designed to minimise any potential interruption to the sacred Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland, including the integration of a self-sufficient pristine water supply for guest use and hotel operations.

Cabin at the Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa, Australia

In addition to this, Daintree has gone the extra mile in environmental care by building and maintaining a close relationship with the original inhabitants of the rainforest: the local Aboriginal community. The hotel works with them to preserve and share the region’s indigenous culture and cooperate in environmental conservation strategies. Daintree also demonstrates its determination to preserve these world heritage-listed surroundings by participating in the Greenhouse Challenge, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases as well as implement energy management strategies.

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3. Mockingbird Hill – Port Antonia, Jamaica

Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica

Mocking Bird Hill is one of the first hotels to be certified as environmentally friendly, winning awards for its numerous contributions to the protection of the environment. From solar-powered water heating to locally produced toiletries, the hotel ensures each aspect of its functions and facilities are not detrimental to the environment. No hotel amenities are made from plastic, with bottled water provided in reusable thermo flasks. In addition, stationery in guest rooms are made from recycled paper by a local women’s cooperative.

Balcony at the Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica

Mocking Bird Hill’s admirable dedication to environmental and economic sustainability, together with its chic and luxurious style and unbeatable location between the Blue Mountains and Caribbean Sea, make it a leading accommodation choice in Jamaica’s Port Antonio.

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4. Algonquin Eco-Lodge – Maynooth, Canada

Algonquin Eco Lodge, Canada

Found in the secluded wilderness of Ontario, Canada, the Algonquin Eco-Lodge can provide guests with a break from city life, including complete immersion in an environmentally-friendly way of life. With no electricity nor phone service, this lodge provides a refreshing retreat from the distractions of technology. Located beside a private beaver pond and waterfall, Algonquin Eco-Lodge boasts 60 kilometres of wilderness trails. Guests can enjoy hiking, fishing and canoeing in summer, whilst those visiting in winter have the opportunity to try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

View from the Algonquin Eco Lodge

The lodge uses a variety of alternative energy sources to provide guests with all their home comforts without harming the environment, including a carbon-neutral outdoor hot tub and a wood-fired sauna.  The on-site micro-hydro generator uses a waterfall to generate electricity, and it was thanks to this that the hotel won the 2012 Ontario government’s Sustainable Tourism Award. Guests are even encouraged to consider their daily consumption in order to reduce their energy usage once back home.

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5. The Green House – Bournemouth, United Kingdom

Greenhouse, Bournemouth

This stylish four-star boutique hotel claims to be the greenest hotel in the UK and was voted the best wedding venue in Southern England. The Green House both lives and breathes sustainability, using solar-powered water heating, energy-efficient lighting as well as boasting a company car that runs on recycled cooking oil from the kitchen. This environmentally-friendly ethos has been extended to the furnishings and decorations of the 32 guest rooms, which all boast locally-produced woolen carpets, wallpaper coloured with vegetable inks and wooden furniture made solely from fallen trees.

Guestroom at the Greenhouse, Bournemouth

Suppliers to the hotel are assessed on their environmental practices and The Green House staff are educated on sustainability, meaning guests can be assured of a stay which is both comfortable and kind to the environment.

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Rather stay close to home? Check out the best eco lodges in Queensland and New Zealand