We get a first-hand look at the top ten environmentally-friendly hotels around the world, from Ibiza to Saint Lucia.
Summer 2021 is here and it's time to start taking sustainability seriously. That means thinking carefully about where you take time out on holiday.
We've spent the last year visiting a whole host of eco-resorts around the world so that you can opt for conscious hotels putting time and effort into preserving the environment.
Here's our guide to the top 10 sustainable travel destinations. But before you pack your sunhat and head to the sun, don't forget to carbon offset your flights to balance out your carbon footprint.
1. Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte, Brazil
We went to stay at Brazil's Tivoli eco-resort Praia do Forte, buried in the Atlantic Forest of Bahia. Staying here is an open-air forest experience, far from the sterile, all-inclusive destinations described as 'getaways' online. Among its numerous environmental initiatives, the hotel helps protect endangered sea turtles and educates the local community on how to live more sustainably.
You'll eat delicious pão de queijo like the locals, while immersed in nature in true sustainable luxury.
Nightly rates at Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte start from £277 for a double room on a half-board basis.
2. Zadun, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Mexico
The Zadun Ritz-Carlton in San José del Cabo, Mexico, not only champions the environment, it also supports local artistry in the area - which is why it's so trendy. The whole hotel is ultra modern, with pillows made of handwoven textiles and sculptural art pieces in every bedroom.
Guests are invited to take part in Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment programme and are also taught about the marine sanctuaries of the Sea of Cortez.
Rooms start at $999.
3. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
Model and wellness influencer Danielle Copperman visited Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for us and gave it rave reviews. The hotel is an 'isolated eco-paradise', in her own words, featuring on-going conservation projects and growing fresh produce on site. Danielle explores the plantations and samples the local fruit on offer, from lemongrass, mango and papaya, to pomelo, kumkwat and dragon fruit.
There are opportunities for scuba diving and jungle adventures, with an equal emphasis on wellness and relaxation - think soothing spa treatments and flying yoga.
Prices starts at £528 per couple per night.
4. Terre Blanche, Provence, France
Herein lies Provence's best kept secret. Terre Blanche is a luxury, five-star resort spanning 750 acres of lush, leafy terrain in the south of France. A proud member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’, Terre Blanche boasts admirable green credentials, from sustainably sourced food and eco-friendly golf courses, right down to the mattress you sleep on.
We visited in September, when the weather was around 25°C on average and the greenery and extensive gardens were in full bloom. In close proximity to world-renowned vineyards, you can expect a glass of rosé on ice to accompany you on the terrace when you arrive.
Prices start at €350 in Deluxe Suite with breakfast for 2 persons.
5. Dharana at Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, India
The Shillim retreat and spa sits right in the middle of the Sahyadri mountain range, not far from Mumbai. We spent a week soaking in the Ayurvedic principles the retreat has to offer, practicing yoga every morning at 6 am, or else cocooned inside a canopy with the rain overhead and the smell of forest in the air.
The hotel's 'Dharana' wellness programme heals you both inside and out, combining spa treatments with daily meditation and a detox diet. And from an eco perspective, the Shillim team plant millions of new trees in the nursery every year and are passionate about preserving the local environment.
6. Villa Persa, White Key Villas, Island of Spetses, Greece
Spetses is an enchanting, car-free island in Greece. We spent our days exploring the harbour and cycling down to secret coves on electric bikes, before returning to the White Key's 6-bedroom Villa Persa.
Bobbing fishing boats and clusters of white and pink houses are your only company, as you dine al-fresco on fresh grilled octopus prepared by the local chef.
Rates upon request on the website.
7. Château d’Audrieu, Normandie, France
Mid-way through 2019, we visited the quaint and cosy Château d’Audrieu. If you're keen on exploring Normandie in chic 'chateau style', this hotel is the place to stay. The grounds are steeped in history and immersed in the nature surrounding it. With the smell of fresh pine in the air, honeymooners will enjoy the secluded atmosphere and ornate architecture.
The best thing about Château d’Audrieu is the food - seasonal, freshly prepared meals are served every evening in Le Seran, the restaurant "in hot pursuit of a Michelin star."
8. La Granja, Ibiza
Despite Ibiza's reputation for wild nightlife and a thriving party scene, the Spanish island has hidden talents too. Most notably, its surprisingly fruitful farming industry - which is certainly evident at La Granja.
The farmhouse property is a modern take on the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, embracing the natural way of life and has built its concept around benefiting from and giving back to the land. The rustic feel brings you back to basics and serves as a much needed break from the daily grind.
For more information and bookings visit the website.
9. Stonefield Villas, Soufriere, Saint Lucia
Stonefield Villas is the first Saint Lucian resort to join Kind Traveller, the sustainable hotel and travel platform. It makes the most of the island's diverse environmental makeup, with geothermal sulphur springs nearby, white sand beaches in view and acres of rainforest surrounding it.
The family-run feel of the resort is what makes it so special, along with the outdoor terraces, private pools and hammocks to lounge in - all you need you for a week in the Caribbean sun.
Rooms from £250 per night.
10. The Amaala Project, Saudi Arabia
Amaala is set to be Saudi Arabia's first zero-carbon resort, built by HKS architects. Still in its nascent stages, building work is ongoing, but the first phase of the project is planned to be completed by 2021.
The reefs on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea have been badly abused by mass tourism in recent years, so their preservation and conservation is paramount to the architects. Keep an eye out for the grand opening to be one of the first guests at this exclusive eco-friendly resort.
More details on their website.
11. Cottages Antoinette, Champagne, France
For a truly rustic escape, set up camp at Cottages Antoinette. We went and stayed in the ecological wooden houses, all on stilts, in the heart of the Champagne countryside. The whole experience is almost meditative with views over the vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Decor is minimum and you're surrounded by glass walls, making the space feel light and spacious.
Building the cabins required little energy in the first place, and neither does running them daily. The whole ethos is based around energy efficiency and the sun shining on the bay window heats up the space quickly so you are nice and toasty inside. Plus, you can easily get there by train from Europe, cutting out the need to fly - a real bonus on the environmental front.
Prices start at €150.