Where once ‘going green’ on holiday entailed a tent and a camp bed in the wilderness, it now signifies a consciousness and environmental sensitivity that many luxurious hotels have been keen to jump on board with. According to GlobalData, 35% of tourists are now prioritising eco-friendly options when it comes to booking a holiday and there’s no reason you should have to sacrifice comfort to travel responsibly.
More and more hotels are jumping on board with eco practices, helping to sustain and preserve both the cultures and environment around them. Incorporating sustainable practices, eco-friendly building materials and an ethical ethos are just some of the things these responsible yet lavish establishments have achieved. What’s more – you don’t even have to leave the continent to enjoy them. Take a look at Living it’s pick of the best luxury eco-hotels in Europe.
Luz Houses – Portugal
Around 90 minutes’ drive from Lisbon, you’ll find the small town of Fatima – home to the luxury eco-hotel, Luz Houses. Set amongst a wild garden filled with trees and flowers, this 15 – bedroom hideaway has all the charm you’d expect to find at a boutique hotel. Built using sustainable materials, the rooms are rustic and chic – a mix of industrial and continental styles in an open plan setting that feels serene and haven-like. It’s the kind of place you could come for a few days of uninterrupted sunbathing or to finish off the book you’ve been meaning to write. Aromatherapy and herbal medicine is available in The Cave and tours run by locals and horseback riding is available on request. The hotel uses low-consumption lighting and solar panels to keep itself going, as well as recycled rainwater and cisterns to reduce water waste.
The Whitepod Eco Resort – Switzerland
Not your typical luxury hotel, eco-friendly sleeping pods await the guests of The Whitepod Resort, which is set amongst the dramatic landscape of the Swiss Alps. This entire hotel is built around the concept of sustainability – the pods have been constructed with renewable materials and are intentionally ‘low impact’. Heat is generated with pellet stoves and water and electricity are used minimally. Guests are encouraged to walk between the reception and the pods so that motorised transport can be significantly reduced. Book into the Zen Pod Suite for a panoramic view that can be enjoyed from the sunken Japanese ‘zen’ bed or the traditional Furo bah.
The LeFay Resort – Italy
We never need much persuasion to visit the Dolomites and thanks to the serene hilltop setting of Lefay Resort & Spa, you’ll never want to leave. The first Italian hotel that’s signed an agreement with the Environmental Ministry to reduce its CO2 emissions, its structure has been made using sustainable wood and the hotel uses recycling and water systems that aim to reduce waste. There’s an oriental simplicity to its design – with floor to ceiling windows and minimalist furniture, your attention is deliberately drawn to the breathtaking mountain view that surrounds.
Hotel ZOO Berlin – Germany
Hotel ZOO in Berlin has long been regarded as one of the city’s leading design hotels thanks to its iconic setting and eclectic interiors. Built in the late 1800s as a private residence, it was reincarnated as a hotel in 1911 and swiftly became a hub for the rich and famous elite of Berlin (the likes of Sophia Loren have graced its hallowed halls). Now lovingly restored to celebrate the original brick and steel work whilst also incorporating modern luxury, it’s a perfect example of old meets new. All materials used in its renovation were sustainably sourced and the hotel itself has a Green Globe Certificate – an accolade for the ecological health of the hotel’s practices and supply chain. Each of the different room options is individually designed but for a seriously sumptuous experience, book into the Ku’Damm Suite, whose interiors showcase a delicious mix of feminine florals and plush velvets.
Areias do Seixo – Portugal
This is a hotel seriously committed to reducing its environmental impact. Overlooking Portugal’s west coast, its design combines eastern aesthetics with western luxury – think Japanese lanterns and blondwood beds mixed with Louis XVI inspired armchairs and chiminea fires. Constructed with locally sourced, natural materials, it runs on geothermal heating systems. The food is all provided by local farmers, who guests can opt to help with the picking if they wish. Areias do Seixo has worked to be a fountain for the local community and environment, rather than a drain on its resources.
Writer: Bianca Barratt