We round up 7 luxury hotels for your next eco-friendly escape vacation!
These days travellers are mindful of their impact on the environment and the local economy of the destination that they are visiting. But that shouldn’t mean that you have to compromise luxury. From a small hot springs Japanese village to a luxurious train journey through North America, we’ve hand-picked seven of the best sustainable destinations around the world to add to your next luxury eco-friendly escape list.
1. Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California, USA
From the USA’s first carbon neutral resort to a sustainable travel service, Greater Palm Springs offers plenty of options to travel more sustainably.
Aussies seeking a genuine eco-escape should look no further than the 100% carbon-neutral resort, Two Bunch Palms. Sheltered by ancient palms and tamarisk trees, the newly reimagined Two Bunch Palms is a contemporary wellness destination situated within a lush oasis, amidst 77 acres of desert landscape located just outside of Los Angeles and minutes from Palm Springs. The hot springs resort that taps into a 547-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on its grounds to provide enough renewable energy to offset 100% of the resort’s electric power consumption. It’s the first resort in the USA to do so.
Their renowned mineral pools are fed from two wells; one with hot water coming up from the ground at 152 degrees, and another with cooler water that comes up at 85-90 degrees. The waters are mixed in a looped system, which provides hot spring mineral waters for all the tubs and pools via a fully sustainable closed water circuit. The property has a retention pond where hot water run-off and grey water can be put through reverse osmosis, flowing back into the irrigation system. The Restaurant at Two Bunch Palms uses locally sourced meats and produce, plus the fruit and olive trees on the property. The hotel also offers a number of wellness courses, including a series in development on how to live a zero waste life.
For more info visit: visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
2. Wander at The Overflow 1895, Scenic Rim & Kangaroo Island, Australia
Located in the heart of one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions to Travel in the world for 2022 and just 1.5 hours’ drive from Brisbane or Gold Coast airports, the Scenic Rim is a gateway to transformational travel. For an off-the-grid sustainable escape in Queensland, this special area is home to five unique eco-aware, luxury pods surrounded by unsurpassed rural beauty. Recently launched by eco-pod company Wander, these five WanderPods are set around Lake Wyaralong and named after the stunning mountains that surround The Overflow 1895 and form the centre of the ancient caldera called the Scenic Rim.
Wander is a network of off-grid, design-led, eco accommodation that reconnects guests with nature and invites them into the story of the local community across the most beautiful locations in Australia. Life in an off-grid Wanderpod, is simple, intuitive and efficient. It allows visitors to focus on what matters. By showcasing old and new off-grid technology, guests are inspired to implement sustainable practices in the rhythms of their home and work.
WanderPods are: Off-grid, featuring solar and water harvesting and storage, a high-tech water-saving toilet, and greywater recycling, divert organic waste from landfill with Subpod compost bins, zero-waste system by restricting the use of single-use packaging, recycling and composting, support the incredible work of Bush Heritage Australia as they protect and regenerate bushland.
On 1 Dec, 2022 Wander is unveiling their second site on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
For more info visit: wander.com.au
3. Sea Ranch Lodge, Sonoma County, California, USA
Set on 53 acres of spectacular Northern California coastline in Sonoma County, the iconic Sea Ranch Lodge was designed to respond to – and live in harmony with – the natural elements. The Sea Ranch Lodge encompasses The Dining Room, The Bar & Lounge, The Café, The General Store, a post office all restored in an economically viable way and more than 500,000 square feet of land with views of the Pacific, providing a magical setting for any type of gathering.
Located 100 miles north of San Francisco along Highway 1, The Sea Ranch Lodge exists within the greater 7,000-acre Sea Ranch community which consists of 2,200 private homes clustered at intervals marked by cypress hedgerows, undeveloped lots, sprawling meadows, rolling hills, redwood and Douglas fir forests, nature trails and ocean views across 10 miles of the Pacific’s coastal shelf.
In 1964, the original designers evolved a concept of dynamic conservation of ‘living lightly on the land’ which starts with respect for nature. Each landscape element should be recognized and nurtured, reinforcing natural forms and scale. The specific site provides the identity, establishing a ‘territorial partnership’ with any structure placed within it, not upon it. A covenant would enforce stewardship of natural resources through an owners’ association of residents who felt an instinctive relationship with the environment. The challenge was demonstrating that people can inhabit a beautiful and fragile land located along a wild stretch of California coast without destroying it.
For more info visit: sonomacounty.com
4. Rocky Mountaineer, Canadian and Northern America Routes
Train travel is measurably better for the environment than either flying or driving, and Rocky Mountaineer takes its sustainable tourism responsibility seriously. The train line works to protect the areas it travels through and focuses on using resources wisely – including reducing carbon emissions.
Rocky Mountaineer offers luxury train journeys that showcase some of the most spectacular scenery North America has to offer. Rocky Mountaineer offers three rail routes in Western Canada that connect Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. It is a must-do travel experience that offers unparalleled journeys in its spacious glass-domed train coaches thanks to the incredible scenery, delicious cuisine, friendly service, and social atmosphere.
With Rocky Mountaineer, you get the best of both worlds: maximum views, and maximum comfort. No sleeper cars here: stay in beautiful hotels at each destination. Rocky Mountaineer partners with the best hotels in each of their destinations which are both sustainable and luxurious, including The Rimrock Resort and Hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs, and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Rocky Mountaineer has been awarded for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, decrease wastage and increase on-board recycling, and partner with organizations to protect the local wildlife. More information on Rocky Mountaineer’s commitment to sustainability is available online.
For more info visit: rockymountaineer.com
5. The Kayotei Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan
This luxury ryokan is located in the small hot springs village of Yamanaka in Ishikawa prefecture. The village remains much the same as it has for many years, seemingly untouched by time. The inn is surrounded by majestic trees and lovingly nurtured gardens encircled by thickly forested hills.
A traditional family-owned inn of 10 rooms, carefully placed exquisite works of art and antiques add to the feeling of being in someone’s private home. The simply designed hot spring overlooks the forest and provides the perfect place for meditation.
The staff at the Kayotei regard their mission as protecting and preserving the ancient culture of Ishikawa. Designed in the sukiya style of a tea cottage from the Muromachi Period, the Kayotei inn mixes antique tansu chests of drawers, low polished oak tables, hand-painted screens, traditional ceramic pieces and modern sculptural designs.
There are two indoor communal baths sourced from natural hot springs. The baths are splendidly glassed in on three sides, providing guests with onsen views of natural forest sceneries.
For more information visit: https://www.ryokancollection.com/ryokan/kayotei/
6. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos, Mexico
This private haven in Los Cabos opened at the end of 2019 and although the resort shares a deep passion for protecting the land, it still provides you with the lavish stay you expect from the elevated concept that is the Reserve. Zadún, is nestled into the sand dunes along Mexico’s dramatic San Joes del Cabo coastline with each of the resort’s 113 rooms blurring the lines between indoors and out. The resort uses the Sea of Cortez as a classroom for guests to participate in the Ambassadors of the Environment program.
Created to carry on his family’s tradition of ocean conservation and education and named after famed oceanographic explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program inspires guests to connect with the world around them in hopes that they will work towards preserving it for future generations. The program highlights Mexico’s rich native culture and unique ecosystem through immersive experiences designed for children, adults, and families.
The resort also actively takes steps in the running of the property to provide more sustainable and environmentally friendly travel such as electric car charging stations and bicycle rentals and eliminating all single-use plastics.
For more info visit: visitloscabos.travel
7. AutoCamp, Joshua Tree, California
The innovative, California-based nature lodging company AutoCamp has opened a new luxury campsite in Joshua Tree, California, with stylish accommodations in sleek Airstreams and glamping tents.
Set in the Southern California desert a little over a two-hour drive from L.A. and less than an hour from Palm Springs, AutoCamp Joshua Tree welcomes guests for an experience that feels simultaneously like a boutique hotel and a luxury glamping getaway – perfect for couples, families or those just looking to relax.
The 25-acre property features three types of accommodations: Airstreams, Accessible Suites, and X Suites — all of which offer a kitchenette, an outdoor dining area, and a fire pit perfect for a s’mores-filled evening. For those looking to have a classic auto-camping experience with an elevated twist, the 31-foot-long, mid-century Airstreams are the best pick. Inside, guests will find mid-century modern décor, a walk-in rain shower, and luxury linens on a queen-size bed that sits under panoramic windows looking out over the desert.
In keeping with the natural spirit of Joshua Tree, AutoCamp Joshua Tree was designed for minimal impact on the environment, incorporating low water use, native plantings, xeriscaping to avoid irrigation, on-site water treatment, a heavy reliance on solar power, and dark sky-compliant lighting to preserve the clear view of stars.
For more information visit: https://autocamp.com/joshua-tree/