By Arwa Lodhi
Luxury hotels can be a beautiful thing. But all too often, even when set in the middle of the most pristine environments, they could be hurting your health with the chemical ‘air fresheners’ sprayed in the rooms and hallways; the chemicals used in spa treatments that are slathered all over your body, or the high-fat, pre-packaged, non-organic food served at mealtimes, for example.
And of course, if something’s harming us, it’s also harming the planet.
Fortunately, more and more resorts are becoming more conscious about their environmental impact, and are paying more attention to how they care for you and the planet. Here are a few of the best eco luxury retreats we found that are doing just that.
Set in the midst of New Zealand’s majestic Southern Alps, this sustainable luxury wellness retreat is surrounded by fresh air and stunning scenery. We also love the chic, modern, minimalistic design of the hotel.
Caring for you: Enhance the connection between yourself and nature during sub-alpine hikes or a kayaking trip across the lake to the natural bird sanctuary of Pigeon Island. Together with yoga, meditation and TRX suspension sessions, achieve optimal wellness at this eco-friendly health retreat as you unwind with daily therapeutic massages.
Caring for the planet: Aro Ha fuses eco-friendly accommodation with the best vegetarian cuisine, using locally produced organic ingredients to supplement their flourishing onsite gardens.
Green Fact: The name of Aro Ha was carefully chosen – ‘Aroha’ is an ancient Maori concept of love, reflecting the retreat’s focus on caring for the planet and yourself.
Set on a tropical Thai hillside, overlooking secluded white sands and a private shoreline, the world-class eco wellness destination, Kamalaya is perfectly positioned to welcome travellers seeking tranquility.
Caring for you: The temple and grassy yoga pavilion creates the perfect backdrop for yoga and meditation while the spa is a reflection of complete well-being integrating nature through its treatments.
Caring for the planet: With the entire sanctuary built around a Buddhist monk’s cave, all accommodations and facilities were flawlessly meshed with its natural surroundings. Each part of the retreat is a balance of raw nature paired with intricate detailing, keeping the existing natural elements including ancient granite boulders and trees to become accent features for many of Kamalaya’s structures.
Green Fact: Kamalaya’s overall design is an epitome of green architecture. A twin trunk tree can be seen in the middle of the wellness reception area as well as a rock wall with the hanging roots of a Ficus tree in the day-treatment rooms.
Bali’s charm centres on its natural wonders from pristine beaches and coral reefs to forested volcanic mountains and iconic rice paddies — Zen Resort blends seamlessly in all that.
Caring for you: Recharge with sunrise yoga and healing holistic spa therapies before finally letting go of stress during sunset meditation. Get closer to nature with rice field trekking, scuba diving and educational eco-forest walks, to learn more about the local wildlife and environment.
Caring for the planet: Respecting the local environment, the healthy and organic cuisine at the resort uses only the freshest ingredients, with fish caught in the nearby sea and fresh fruit and vegetables harvested from the onsite farm.
Green Fact: You can discover up to five different species of dolphin playing in the first rays of morning light along the North Bali coast.
Nestled in the unspoilt countryside of Gokarna and only a short walk away from the spiritual Om beach, SwaSwara is a nature lover’s paradise.
Caring for you: The resort grows its own produce in their organic vegetable gardens, for their restaurant, Cocum, which serves raw, vegan and vegetarian cuisine to empower your body with organic nourishment. Unwind with Ayurvedic spa therapies, yoga and meditation, or discover more about your natural surrounding during guided nature walks and bird watching trips.
Caring for the planet: With fresh water a scarce resource, SwaSwara works to harvest rainwater in order to be self-sufficient.
Green Fact: A third of SwaSwara’s team is drawn from the surrounding communities, providing invaluable wisdom on Gokarna’s lush, verdant environment.
Explore your natural surroundings on this health retreat as you spot African wildlife during private guided safaris. The surrounding ecosystem of South Africa’s Karkloof Safari Spa maintains a diverse range of indigenous plants and wildlife.
Caring for you: Enjoy unlimited spa treatments that use all-natural ingredients, from a black pepper scrub to a coconut body polish. Stay fit with hikes, fishing trips and mountain biking in the middle of splendid nature.
Caring for the planet: The resort works with environmental and wildlife professionals to restore the region to its natural splendour.
Green Fact: The 3,500 hectare nature reserve is home to 5 stunning natural waterfalls. Enjoy an invigorating morning hike to the 105m high waterfall, surrounded by wild flowers and butterflies.
Secluded in the woodlands of northern France, all aspects of La Clairière have the environment and your personal well-being at heart. It’s the perfect destination for summer hiking, walking and swimming, or winter skiing, too.
Caring for you: Re-connect with yourself and nature during forest yoga and meditation classes, or rejuvenate with holistic spa therapies. Recharge your body with fresh fruit juices and detoxifying organic cuisine, all of which is locally sourced and caters to the seasons.
Caring for the planet: True eco-warriors can sleep easy at night on organic wool mattresses, with the knowledge that 100% of their electricity is powered from renewable energy sources. The resort is cleaned with eco-friendly cleaning products, and biodegradable composting is done with food waste, while other waste is recycled.
Green Fact: The Vosges du Nord forests surrounding this retreat have therapeutic qualities. The trees fill the air with oxygen and phytoncides (antimicrobial vapor derived from plants), which can be beneficial for boosting our immune system and overall well-being – this is also known as ‘forest bathing’.
Situated on the shores of magical Lake Garda, this eco-friendly health retreat values the connection between personal and environmental wellness.
Caring for you: Begin your healthy holiday boosting your fitness with 1-on-1 activities, from personal training and circuits, to Pilates and Tai Chi. Make the most of complimentary group classes, including yoga and fitball workouts, before reviving with a deep tissue sports massage.
Caring for the planet: From the local natural materials used in the eco-designed architecture, to the use of renewable alternative energies, Lefay actively promotes eco-sustainability.
Green Fact: Lefay’s electricity and cooling systems are produced entirely by renewable energy sources. Boosted by solar panels, this cuts yearly carbon emissions by over 1000 tonnes.
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