Hotels come in all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of energy efficiency and attitudes toward the environment. We took a look at five of our favorites around the world that are each going that extra mile to be eco-friendly — without skimping on luxury.
In the heart of California’s wine country, Bardessono is one of the few hotels in the world to have received LEED Platinum Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It’s not hard to see why, having been built from the ground up with sustainability in mind. Ninety-three percent of initial construction waste was recycled, the property is heated and cooled via geothermal springs, and hot water is provided by solar panels.
With more than 640 London hotels to choose from, it’s hard to pick a winner in terms of sustainability, but a strong contender is The Zetter for sheer creativity. Not only is it the only hotel with its own borehole for sourcing fresh London spring water (tastes better than it sounds); it’s also got an intelligent “energy loop” system to transfer the flow of energy around the building, so as you heat your room, it could be cooling down the fridge. Add to this air conditioning that switches off when someone opens a window, and you can see why The Zetter won the Green Tourism for London Gold Award.
At the foot of the White Mountain in the Siwa Oasis, Adrere Amellal Hotel gives visitors a true taste of desert life, along with the essential sustainability practices that this entails. Gone is the electricity, replaced with beeswax candles for lighting and natural ventilation, making use of the desert’s dry climate. Water is sourced from a natural spring on-site. It’s a truly unique place where time seems to have stood still.
For eco-conscious travelers on a budget, the aptly named Planet Traveler could be just the hostel. This three-story complex has vast solar panels on the roof and boasts being able to light up the whole building for less energy than a four-slice toaster.
Among its innovative sustainability practices are drain water heat recovery, which harnesses heat energy from waste water, and geothermal power generation, which draws heat from the Earth in winter and pushes it back down in summer.
This small eco-boutique hotel in Port Antonio is leading the way for green tourism in Jamaica. Mocking Bird Hill does its rainforest location proud by using solar panels to produce its own electricity and hot water. Fresh supplies for the restaurant are sourced from local farmers and fishermen.
And at the spa, all treatments use natural ingredients, such as papaya, beeswax and coconut oil. The hotel has won several awards — including Caribbean Green Hotel of the Year and Virgin Holiday’s Best Hotel for the Environment — and looks set to become the first climate-neutral accommodation in Jamaica.