Eco-friendly accommodation has come a long way. Today more and more luxury properties are putting an emphasis on their green credentials, sustainability and responsible tourism. This new breed of eco-luxe hotels are not just about having a polite door hanger asking a green-thinking jetsetter to re-use their towels. No, they are fully committed to a whole host of green practices. These properties have been redefining luxury and improving their environmental impact whilst improving their guests’ experience too. In the first of two posts, here are my picks of some of the world’s best eco-luxe hotels.
The Venetian and The Palazzo – Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas and sustainability are not an obvious pairing, but these two LEED Certified hotels are working hard at being green. The Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns The Venetian and The Palazzo is proud of their ECO360 Global Sustainability strategy. They are doing a great job too and have earned over 15 prestigious green accolades. These properties don’t just stop at having one of the highest recycling rates in Nevada, they also turn used cotton bedding into quilts for the homeless. In fact there is so much more going on behind the scenes at The Venetian and The Palazzo.
Take a deep breath before this next sentence! LED lighting, solar panels, a reclaimed water system to stay off the water grid for all Palazzo irrigation needs, eco-safe cleaning products, low-flush toilets, valet parking for bicycles, priority parking for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, electric vehicle charging points and …. pause for breath …. eco-friendly bathroom amenities that when you leave are reclaimed and donated to Clean the World .
At the restaurants guests can dine on organic food, locally sourced food and sustainable seafood. Up on the roof of the Palazzo is one of the largest rooftop solar-thermal systems in U.S with over 18,000 square feet of solar panels. These provide hot water for their swimming pools and spas making your day spa that little bit greener. In the convention area dedicated Green Meeting Concierges are on hand to make help ensure events are sustainable too.
VILA VITA PARC – Armacao de Pera, Portugal
The impeccable VILA VITA Parc is one of my family’s favourite hotels ….ever. The fact that this first class resort invests so heavily in their sustainable practices makes it a very easy addition to this discerning edit. This LHW member has been winning multiple awards for their green credentials and was renamed the Worlds Leading Luxury Green Resort 2016 at the World Travel Awards. Exquisitely set in 54 acres of sub tropical gardens, every single corner of this eco-luxe resort has its sustainability at the core.
VILA VITA Parc has endeavoured to reduce water and energy consumption by using pioneering technology and solar panels. Energy consumption has been lowered in the kitchens with the improvement of electrical equipment. Furthermore this luxury green resort has made itself more self-sufficient by implementing an environmentally friendly desalinisation method that uses seawater to water the resort’s gardens and fill the swimming pools.
If you have travelled to the resort in your hybrid car, there are several charging points for you to use. All of VILA VITA Parc’s own transportation has been replaced by state of the art hybrid cars too. My kids particularly enjoy the golf buggies that take you and your luggage to your room upon arrival. Beautiful locally sourced linens and pottery are used across the hotel, while the herbs used in the kitchen are grown on-site. Impressively, the resort runs its own 1,800 acre organic farm, Herade Dos Grous. Much of the organic home reared meat, vegetables, fresh compotes, jams and wines used in the 10 on-site restaurants are produced there. There is no green washing going on here!
Lefay Resort – Italy
On the west coast of Lake Garda is the beautiful Lefay Resort and Spa. This Green Globe Certified resort has been sensitively designed and respectfully built into south-facing terraced hillsides. This helps to reduce energy and heat dispersion, while its green roofs help blend it into the surroundings. This resort is the embodiment of eco-luxe. All bed linen and textiles are made from natural cotton fibres that have experienced no chemical treatment. When it comes to the consumption of clean and renewable energy sources, Lefay has superb figures. Brilliantly nearly 90% of all energy comes from green sources including their biomass boiler and solar pv. Reduction of energy consumption is continued in your room and lighting is controlled by daylight sensors and presence detection.
This 100% carbon offset resort tackles its water supply management in a number of ways. The resort’s green areas are irrigated with collected rainwater, along with water that has been discharged from the swimming pools. All toilet flushing systems, showers and baths are fitted with consumption saving devices that can improve consumption by 50%. Furthermore recycling of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metals and compostable waste is carried out at source or by housekeeping. Pretty impressive! The award-winning Lefay Spa is must visit. For starters the views are sublime. On top of this, in 2015 Lefay SPA was certified as the first organic and ecological SPA in Italy by Ecocert. They were the fourth spa in the world to receive this accolade.
The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman
Ritz Carlton are well known for luxurious properties and unparalleled high standards. However, there is so much more on offer at their family friendly Grand Cayman resort than the stunning beach, pools, spa, 9 hole golf course, tennis centre, watersports, and first class accommodation. At The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman guests have the opportunity to engage with the surrounding natural wonders and cultural traditions.
The Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program uses the islands’ ecological resources almost like a natural classroom and living laboratory. Guest can go on naturalist lead snorkel excursions, take a trip on the underwater sight-seeing submarine, learn photography with a naturalist guide, discover how to conserve and protect water, kayak through the mangroves and explore the tide pools while learning how the critters live in such a dynamic environment.
At the heart of these Grand Cayman eco-tours are four key principles. Firstly everything is connected, secondly there is no waste in nature, thirdly everything runs on energy and finally biodiversity is good. My family shrieked with excitement when they heard that this hotel would allow them to learn about organic and sustainable gardening, star-gazing, cook with a solar oven, learn some sustainable living lessons and seeing a real life blue iguana at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman further sets itself apart with its pledge to only serve seafood that meets the Cayman Sea Sense standard for sustainability…. in all its 5 restaurants.
Coming up soon are more hotels who are breaking the rules when it comes to luxury sustainable tourism. Until next time …. bye bye