World’s Top 10 Green Hotel Initiatives

Writer ZOE LOUISE CRONK | Published August 5, 2015

An ever-growing number of luxurious hotels have opened their doors offering opulence and indulgence from the moment you set foot inside their five-star grounds, to the minute you check out. Among them, however, are some fabulous resorts and boutique hotels that offer a little something extra – not just for you, but for the environment too

  • Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Australia

    Combining luxury and serenity with an authentic Australian bush experience, the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley was the world’s first hotel to become internationally accredited as carbon neutral. Sitting between the Gardens of Stone National Park and the Wollemi National Park, and within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains area, it occupies part of a 7,000-acre conservation and wildlife reserve that has been carbon-zero for the last five years. Their environmental ethos includes extensive conservation work on the region’s 1,500 native and endangered species and also extends to its construction; built into the natural landscape using sustainable, locally available materials, and without uprooting a single tree. The hotel itself features 40 elegantly appointed free-standing suites (each with private pool and verandah), a revitalising all-natural spa and panoramic views from both the restaurants and accommodation, securing the One&Only Wolgan Valley’s status as a must-visit eco-retreat

  • Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

    Luxurious lodgings don’t come much better than the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa. Perfectly capturing the seclusion and serenity of a Maldivian resort, it sits ten kilometres from the closest inhabited island, nestled within a fragile and vastly unexplored ecosystem. This area of unparalleled natural beauty is home to the humble Maldivian way of life and one of the world’s healthiest coral reefs with over 125 endangered species. As a result, an eco-conscience is an absolute must. The five-star hotel is committed to EarthCheck principles across design and construction and even employs an in-house marine biologist who runs weekly workshops to measure coral, identify marine life and educate visitors on nurturing the environment. Guests can also assist in the Darwin Reef Fish Project before scuba diving or snorkelling amidst the untouched reefs. With spa relaxation and sunsets from a beautiful ocean villa to follow, this is the ultimate eco-friendly escape.

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

    The Ritz-Carlton is a hotel chain synonymous with five-star service, and The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte in the United States is no exception. But look above the glamour of the hotel itself, and you’ll find a garden rooftop that’s buzzing with eco-friendly activity. It’s here that two beehives housing 100,000 honeybees can be found creating the nectar that infuses many hotel pleasures from the culinary delights of their delectable honey pecan gelato and signature Honey Brandy Sour cocktail, to indulgent honey-based treatments in the penthouse spa. As for the honeybees’ home turf, the hotel roof also features the chef’s garden and 18,000 sedum plants, which help to reduce the urban heat island effect. With its green initiatives, this sophisticated LEED gold-certified hotel even has an electric car charging point, bike valet service and Green Your Body Eco-Treatment available in the spa – harnessing the power of nature to help you emerge revived and silky soft with a healthy eco-glow.

  • Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam

    As sumptuous and luxurious as it is committed to protecting marine life, Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam has formed a long-term partnership with the local National Park to protect the bay area in front of the resort. Currently open to local fishermen, the area is the prime habitat and feeding grounds for what’s thought to be the world’s last ten of the dugong species – a rare marine mammal from the same family as a manatee. It never recovered from the reef damage caused by hurricane Katrina in 2007, so Six Senses Con Dao made it its mission to restore the area to its former beauty and protect these highly endangered animals. Popular with scuba divers and honeymooners alike, the hotel itself is secluded and elegantly designed; with the spa set against a dramatic backdrop of the Lo Voi Mountains and surrounded by tropical gardens. In case that wasn’t enough, each of the beachfront villas comes complete with private infinity pool and unobstructed seascapes.

  • The Zetter Hotel, London, United Kingdom

    Having opened in 2004 to great acclaim, The Zetter Hotel is all about cutting-edge design that captures London’s eastside renaissance. Located in Clerkenwell, one of the oldest areas in London, this unique hotel was four years in the making; due largely to the eco-conscious hoteliers who sought to turn it into a destination hotel with style, comfort and an environmental conscience. This historical building that’s quintessentially English with incredible city views and compact Brompton bicycles for hire, has taken every aspect of sustainability to its heart. As well as a self-sustaining water system that provides fresh and flushing water via a 1,500-ft borehole beneath the hotel, they also utilise groundbreaking energy-saving technology and an intelligent building management system to ‘loop’ energy around the hotel. This system also delivers ‘occupancy detection’ to ensure minimal energy is used when guests are out of the room, and with the air conditioning programmed to automatically cut out when a window is opened, The Zetter offers guilt-free lodging at its best.

  • Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa, Phang Nga, Thailand

    For the ultimate getaway with a conscience, Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa has just launched a luxurious new retreat that involves two days of indulgence and the unparalleled experience of releasing an endangered turtle hatchling into the wild. The resort sits on the doorstep of one of the world’s most prominent nesting grounds for a variety of endangered turtles, and the new ‘Catch and Release Adopt-a-Turtle Mini-Break’ comes as part of a renewed eco-commitment. Offered in partnership with the Pure Blue Foundation, it enables guests to treat themselves to a well-earned break while contributing to marine conservation – an issue that’s of serious concern in the area. And with the hotel’s 34 new intimate yet spacious Private Pool Villas, plus infinity pool, beach club and cutting-edge Ayurah Wellness Centre, there’s never been a better time to make a difference.

  • Gaia Boutique Hotel & Reserve, Costa Rica

    With enthusiasm for green initiatives in abundance, the Gaia Boutique Hotel & Reserve in Costa Rica dedicates more than three quarters of its land to a private nature reserve, committed to protecting its lush coastal forests and wildlife. Here, guests can enjoy guided eco-tours or a hike through the papaya trees to a soundtrack of birds of paradise. Rest and relaxation takes place in the hotel’s tranquil Terra Spa, where treatments use only locally harvested ingredients that are raw, organic and natural. Stay over a weekend, and green-conscious foodies can also make the most of the Farmer’s Market Tour to stock up on local fruits, vegetables, nuts, breads and cheeses. Proving that eco-consciousness is not the only area in which this hotel excels, its three-tiered infinity pool is nothing short of idyllic, boasting breathtaking vistas and personalised concierge service. Come sundown, enjoy superb fine dining with 180-degree panoramas, then retreat to your lavish suite to make the most of the spectacular rainforest and Pacific Ocean views.

  • Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa, Surrey, United Kingdom

    With five stars of luxury and 123 acres of rolling British countryside, the elegant Victorian manor of the Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa provides the ultimate holistic and organic experience. Along with its opulent decor and decadent three-storey spa, its sprawling natural surroundings are the perfect setting for eco-commitment. An Exclusively Green Programme with dedication to renewable energy runs across the Exclusive Hotels & Venues group, and includes Pennyhill Park’s very own water source which, after filtering, provides 60 per cent of the hotel’s water. They also looked at how to cut down ‘food miles’; with their chef garden, beehives, in-house bakery and livestock (raised on site) ensuring every Michelin-starred bite is as fresh and locally sourced as possible. Tea-drinkers will also delight in their four bespoke organic tea blends, created in collaboration with Tregothnan Tea and grown at their own Cornwall plantation. And for the ultra eco-conscious who take to the roads in an electric car, there’s even a car-charging station, perfect for exploring the British countryside.

  • Prana Del Mar, Mexico

    The selfless nature of yoga lends itself to a commitment to protecting the planet, so it comes as no surprise that among this collection is the Prana Del Mar. This beautiful oceanfront yoga retreat, hotel and wellness centre on the southern tip of Baja, Mexico is entirely solar-powered and committed to reusing waste-water and reducing water usage. When not horse riding, surfing or relaxing into a restorative spa treatment, guests can dedicate time to the environment by helping a local preservation group release sea turtles at sunset at a nearby incubating preserve (mid-October to early-December). Taking their eco-conscience one step further, the resort also features strand-woven bamboo floors and organic foods, products and materials, and even rewards guests with a massage or excursion for purchasing carbon offsets for their plane flights. With all this on offer and more, a trip to Prana Del Mar is sure to be an incredibly uplifting experience; on and off the mat.

  • Hotel Kong Arthur, Copenhagen, Denmark

    Urban hotels are not famed for their initiatives in sustainability, but for the Hotel Kong Arthur in Copenhagen, it’s been a focus since the beginning. This boutique hotel is situated in the heart of the city with views over the beautiful inner lakes of Copenhagen, and its philosophy centres on creating balance between body and soul. But along with the luxury offered to guests via comfort and spa relaxation, there is a caring attention to the environment and remaining as eco-friendly as possible. In particular, they’re focused on climate change and poverty. Having been completely carbon neutral since 2007 thanks to a number of energy-saving initiatives, the brains behind the Hotel Kong Arthur also encourage and reward employees to do voluntary work and give generously to charities at home and abroad, such as water projects in Africa, making them a true hotel with a heart.