Sun-filled adventures are never far from our thoughts, but we believe that enjoying the wonders of our natural world shouldn’t harm it.
Planet-first travel isn’t just preferable, it’s essential – and thanks to pioneering luxury establishments guided by sustainable principles, it’s highly aspirational. Whether planning a holiday, or dreaming about future escapes, these are the most beautiful eco hotels worth adding to your bucket list. The only question left is: which Kōraru swimsuit are you taking with you?
OLAS TULUM, MEXICO
Set on a peaceful white sand beach, Olas Tulum is committed to working in harmony with the planet. Made up of eight luxuriously paired-back suites, the small hotel is the only Platinum LEED-reviewed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) property in Mexico, and uses several sustainable practices: solar energy from photovoltaic roof panels provide power; showers use water captured from natural underground streams; rain water is collected to feed indigenous vegetation; waste is transformed into food for phosphorus-loving plants using an innovative filtering system.
Whether sipping a freshly squeezed orange juice after a dawn yoga class in the ocean-view studio, or eating line-caught tuna tostadas for lunch, every meal is made from organic ingredients sourced from local providers. Bathroom and cleaning products are organic and biodegradable.
Not only is the hotel a sight to behold (think minimal, sweeping lines designed to utilise the natural Caribbean breeze to cool without the need for air-conditioning), the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sian Ka’an, sits on the doorstep. Renowned for its natural beauty, the area is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, as well as coastal wetlands and shimmering lagoons.
MAHARAJA ECO DRIVE, INDONESIA
Located on the private island of Dokri, MahaRaja Eco Dive is dedicated to protecting the coral reef which surrounds it, while allowing visitors to experience its awe-inspiring beauty.
As well as operating eclectic boats to prevent fuel and noise polluting the ocean, the eco-lodge has banned fishing in the area to allow the coral to heal naturally. Before guests are permitted to explore the reef - which plays home to a rich variety of marine life such as sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, octopuses and sea stars - they must pledge to abide by a strict code of conduct which includes not harassing, touching, feeding, harming or killing any sea creatures, and not standing on or kicking the coral.
Aspiring to make the smallest footprint possible, the lodge is powered mostly by solar energy and uses local spring water for the showers and toilets. In the restaurant you'll find vegan interpretations of traditional Papuan meals made with locally sourced produce.
The five exclusive guest bungalows have been hand-built by local staff using wood sourced by nearby farms, and feature unrivalled ocean views and private terraces. Each comes stocked with biodegradable toiletries, corn-based toothbrushes and mineral-friendly SPF.
ES RACÒ D'ARTA, MALLORCA
Nestled in the Parc Natural de Llevant, Es Raco d'Arta has become a destination for those seeking a tranquil, back-to-nature experience. The finca, which dates back to the 13th century, has been thoughtfully restored using exclusively natural and recycled materials, and promotes conscious living and holistic wellbeing.
As well as being a screen-free zone, mobile phone signals are blocked in public spaces to encourage a deeper connection to both self and nature - of which there is plenty. On the 568 acres sits a 14-hectare ecological vineyard, olive and fruit trees, beehives and an organic vegetable garden, all of which supply the hotel restaurant, along with organic, seasonal ingredients sourced from neighbouring fincas on the island.
Fully committed to a sustainable way of operating, the estate is heated by geothermal and solar energy. The forest-view, salt-water pool is cleaned by ionisation. Grey water is treated in a reed-bed system and returned to the environment, while food leftovers are composted on site. You won't find any bleach or parabens in the cleaning and bathroom products, which come in recycled plastic or maize-fibre bottles.
SIX SENSES FIJI, MALOLO ISLAND
As renowned for its panoramic view of the South Pacific ocean, as it is for its trailblazing approach to sustainable hospitality, Six Senses Fiji operates with deep respect for the wildlife and human life around it. The resort’s iguana conservation programme has seen numbers of Fijian Crested iguanas – a critically endangered native species – rise from 17 in 2018 when the hotel opened, to 39. It also collaborates with several social enterprises, including Rise Beyond the Reef, an NGO which teaches women in remote communities to create sellable crafts using traditional skills.
Home to one of the largest off-grid solar installations in the Southern Hemisphere, the resort is entirely powered by energy from the sun. An on-site water purifying plant purifies local bore-drawn water, and decants it into reusable glass drinking bottles. Free-roaming hens produce the restaurants’ eggs, honey is collected from a protected beehive, and fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown in the gardens. Energy efficient light bulbs, stainless steel straws, low chemical pool infiltration and worm-based septic systems all further the luxury resort’s authentic sustainable credentials.
In addition, each calming, contemporary villa has been made from recycled wood, and locally-sourced and reclaimed materials. Relaxing spa treatments use traditional Fijian medicinal plants grown on the land.
SONEVA FUSHI, MALVIDES
Crystal waters, white sand beaches and ocean sunsets are all spectacular at Soneva Fushi, but it’s the resort’s core philosophy of responsibility and sustainability that makes it truly special. A solar power plant – one of the largest in the Maldives – provides energy, while the on-site Eco Centro recycles 90% of waste, transforming it into new products. Ingredients are grown and sourced locally wherever possible, and food waste from the five restaurants is composted into nutrient-rich soil and used to feed the vegetable garden.
But Soneva’s sustainability efforts don’t stop at the hotel. Guests are charged a 2% environmental levy on all stays, which goes towards the Soneva Foundation, an initiative that supports projects with a positive environmental, social and economic impact. These include implementing an island-wide, insecticide-free mosquito management solution; providing local children with swimming lessons; eradicating imported plastic water bottles on the neighbouring island of Maalhos; reforestation in Thailand; the building of a wind turbine in India to provide clean energy and off-set carbon emissions.
Set on a private island in the Indian ocean, the resort is committed to protecting the precious marine life that surrounds it via its coral rehabilitation programme, which aims to propagate 50,000 corals a year.