Nurturing their guests, as well as the planet, these eco-friendly hotels serve up unparalleled indulgences with wholesome dollops of sustainability. Take a trip around the world with us to these nature-loving properties for your
next responsible vacation.
BY KUNAL BHATIA AND SHUVAJIT PAYNE
WILD COAST TENTED LODGE Yala, Sri Lanka
Inspired by the boulder-strewn landscape of the adjacent, coastal Yala National Park, this luxurious safari lodge in Sri Lanka’s southeastern region is laid out in the shape of a leopard’s paw—a testament to the wild cat for which this area is famous. Designed as individual villas with organic, round forms, the guest rooms were pre-fabricated off-site to minimise environmental impact during construction. They were then assembled at the resort on stilts to allow for smaller animals to move freely on the ground. Elegantly spacious, they feature delightful touches like copper bathtubs, four-poster beds, private pools, and large windows offering spectacular views of the lush greenery around. Now that’s what we like to call a win-win!
The lavishly finished interiors are inspired by the region’s natural produce and crafts. Locally obtained stone, quartz, and brick are paired with textiles, copper, and brass to create a graceful palette, presenting a soothing environment of traditional and contemporary elements. A healing therapy with cinnamon and tea-based products at their Sanctuary Spa is sure to enhance your sense of being one
Don’t Miss: Spot leopards, bears, and elephants on a safari at the adjoining Yala National Park, followed by sundowners on the beach.
HABITAS AlUla, Saudi Arabia
A resplendent, sustainable hotel perched atop the sandy dunes of an Arabian desert with wind-carved sandstone cliffs for company— sounds out-of-this-world, doesn’t it? Welcome to this ethereal oasis, boasting a minimally invasive build model that blends harmoniously with the desert landscape, ensuring the fragile ecosystem
Furnished with ethically sourced materials that merge with the earthy hues of the environs, each villa comes with a private deck, dramatic canyon views, and a telescope for star-gazing. The intention is to instil a sense of oneness with the dessert, and this is reflected in the openness of the layout, a lovely infinity pool, on-site spa therapies, and the unmissable open-air movie nights projected on the sandstone cliffs! Savour the moment alongside delicious Middle Eastern fare made with seasonal ingredients. A feast for all the senses!
Don’t Miss: The hotel organises art walks to stunning installations
and sculptures nearby.
WHITEPOD ORIGINAL Monthey, Switzerland
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva, the centrepiece of this unique hotel is the accommodation on offer. Instead of conventional rooms, guests check into spherical geodesic domes! Each of these lightweight and energy-efficient pods is anchored to a private wooden terrace to help you enjoy the surrounding views, from inside and outside. And the pods change colour with the season— deep green in summer and pristine white in winter! As a result of having no corners, the domes require 30 per cent less energy to heat and cool than a usual room of comparable size. Yet, all modern comforts are provided. For those who prefer a more traditional abode, charmingly cosy wooden cabins are available,
The property uses renewable resources for its heating system and minimises night-time illumination to avoid disturbing wildlife. There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer, and a spa/sauna, too. For a relaxing experience, sit back with a glass of wine and take in the sunset right from inside your pod!
Don’t Miss: Hiking and mountain biking in summers, or try dog sledding and skiing during the winters.
QAYAAM GAH J&K, India
Fresh, inviting, and oh-so-natural! Cradled in the mountains overlooking Srinagar’s Dal Lake this soulful boutique hotel is influenced by Sufi traditions and a passion for the environment. Constructed out of cedar wood and stone, the pavilion-like structures of this four villas and three-suites property feature Kashmiri rugs, Bukhari wood-burning stoves, and breathtaking lakeside and orchard views from panoramic windows and expansive verandas. Be sure to enjoy your morning cuppa on the cushioned, two-seater swing outside or on the serene terrace while breathing in the crisp mountain
air—it’s pure bliss!
The water used at the hotel is channelled from a perennial mountain spring, and gardens flourish with wildflowers and numerous fruit trees including cherries, plums, and apples. The indigenous influences extend to the dining spaces, too—the khatamband (Kashmiri wood craftsmanship) ceiling in the aptly named Ruh (soul) restaurant is exquisite! The head chef here is a native who whips up a delicious Kashmiri traami (feast) made from fresh, local ingredients, reiterating the property’s harmony with its setting! abchapriretreats.in
Don’t Miss: A mesmerising performance by local Sufi musicians on the open-deck, Qalb, at sunset, accompanied by a delectable high-tea.
NARROWS ESCAPE LUXURY RAINFOREST RETREAT
Surrounded by birdsong and a bubbling creek, this family-owned retreat with eight villas is located in the pristine rainforests of the Kondalilla National Park of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a short drive from Brisbane. Perfect for a romantic getaway, each of the luxuriously private residences has been designed to require minimal heating and cooling, and features large windows and decks opening onto the forest. In keeping with their mission of conscious luxury, the property employs rain water harvesting and wastewater recycling to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, all food is procured locally and grown organically, ensuring an appetisingly fresh meal every time. A local tree plantation programme allows you to contribute to nature’s bounty, as well!
Guests can relax and rejuvenate within the villas, dip into their own private pool, or indulge in a pampering massage here. For those keen to step out, the artisan village of Montville, with its many galleries, boutiques, and wineries, is only a few minutes away. narrowsescape.com.au
Don’t Miss: Explore the rainforests on bush walks, guided tours, or a thrilling zipline ride.
AAHANA—THE CORBETT WILDERNESS Nainital District,
The origins of this hotel are rooted in a success story of epic proportions. Few would have imagined that 13 acres of barren land, deemed unfit for cultivation, would one day be a thriving ecosystem with over 4,500 trees, 200 species of birds, and 50 types of butterflies! Adding to this lively ambience are Victorian-style suites and villas that are perfect for couples, as well as large families, with personal butler services for extra indulgence. The scenic setting is ideal for special occasions, like weddings, too.
The property places strong emphasis on rain water harvesting and recycling of waste water, managed in-house by a plant-based Root Zone Eco Treatment facility. And while the sustainability factor is taken care of, there’s plenty of fun to be had! Head to the luxe spa for Ayurvedic and Western natural therapies, or opt for a resort-organised picnic by the Ramganga River—a great way to enjoy quality time with loved ones, with the gushing river waters for company.
Don’t Miss: Safaris at the nearby Jim Corbett National Park and nostalgic horse-drawn buggy rides at the resort.
1 HOTEL TORONTO Ontario, Canada
Aptly showcasing how eco-friendly hotels need not be confined to the countryside, this slick property is located in the dynamic downtown area of Canada’s largest city. Built using reclaimed timber, driftwood, and regional marble, its design ethos is inspired by Toronto’s diverse natural landscape, including the serenely pretty Lake Ontario. As such, the hotel is home to a staggering 3,300 plants placed across its urbane space—from the reception and restaurants, to the uber plush guest rooms and bathrooms, and even on the rooftop pool deck.
The property’s eco-opulence is also evident in amenities that include tumblers made from recycled wine bottles and biodegradable facial tissues! There’s even an onsite seasonal garden that supplies the hotel’s three restaurants with completely organic herbs, fruits, and edible flowers. A true green haven amid the city’s commercial
Don’t Miss: The hotel’s chic neighbourhood hosts an array of must-visit art galleries, museums, markets, and popular restaurants.