By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has stated that tourism is one of today’s key driver for socio-economic progress: “Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world.” Most importantly, environmental travelling is becoming a growing trend for vacationers, who are acknowledging the benefits of sustainable holidays.
Today, eco-wanderlusters have a new, gorgeous travel book to refer to for their future ethical travels: Bon Voyage — Boutique Hotels for the Conscious Traveler (published by gestalten) invites you to explore places fusing world-class hospitality with a conscious approach, through the engaging storytelling of travel journalist Clara Le Fort, who is specialised in luxury and sustainability, and was co-editor of Once In a A Lifetime 1 & 2 and A Delicious Life.
The retreats and hotels featured on the pages of this publication feature unspoiled locations where nature is preserved, celebrating those who are making a real difference, both in their communities and for the planet.
Want a little taste of some of the best boutique hotels for green travelers? Take a peek below!
This charming eco-friendly destination is the epitome of luxury agroturism! Nestled in the mesmerising Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in Andalucia, this unique inn – built in an old Spanish farmhouse known as “cortijo” – features nine guest rooms, two award-winning luxury yurts, a Sybaritic spa pod, and two swimming pools fed by spring water.
Rustic flair coalesces with modern conscious amenities, as guests can fully plunge into the delights of permaculture principles, learning the ancient practices of medieval monastery gardens. A biodynamic farm often hosts workshops with sustainable experts such as natural beekeepers, earth architects, bird nest designers, influential farmers, and artists, and provides not only much of the hotel’s food, but also an incommensurable source of inspiration for guests.
On a remote peninsula in the northeastern corner of the island of Gotland, post-industrial eco-design prominently welcomes travellers with a conscience. The Fabriken Furillen, created by photographer and entrepreneur Johan Hellström, is located in the middle of a former gravel quarry and is a haven of peace, away from Stockholm’s urban frenzy.
The stress-free, somewhat lunar setting envelops a limestone structure that is composed by 18 rooms that were refurbished using modern Scandinavian design. There are also two cabins that have no electricity and thus offer guests the authentic chance to switch off and get back to more rustic living. Travellers will have the chance to treat their taste buds with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients — freshly handpicked from the hotel’s own farm by Chef Filip Fastén, who was named Sweden’s chef of the year in 2014.
This traditional Moroccan riad is a special place, where people can focus on their passion for photography, design, art, and a sustainable way of life. It even allows guests to meet local artisans and sample the delicious local cuisine.
Travelers will stay in a twentieth-century gem adorned with stucco, zellige tilework, tadelakt plaster, and textured hand-painted walls, surrounded by lush foliage and furnished with objects that were handpicked from the finest flea markets around Marrakech. If you’re fond of Seventies architecture, this destination will be just your cup of tea, as it celebrates the Bohemian culture of the era and its free-spirited way of life.
Are you seeking the remotest of destinations in order to immerse yourself in a solitary experience? Then the place to go to is the Fljót Valley in northern Iceland. This is where the Deplar Farm has transformed a former eighteenth century sheep farm into a luxury outpost that celebrates Icelandic nature.
The retreat is owned and operated by Eleven Experience, which had the vision to create an ambiance where there are no definable boundaries between lodge and valley. The towering snow-dusted mountains and emerald-green pastures are visible from your room, where large windows maximise the naturalistic views.
One typical experience that’s common in the Troll Peninsula is horseback riding, which is a wonderful way to explore this quiet area, far away from the stresses of city living.
Green travelers will be blown away by the unspoiled nature of Bavarian countryside that surrounds the architectural project of Hofgut Hafnerleiten. This is where Anja and Erwin Rückerl chose to offer themed guest houses, before the trend for boutique cottage rooms began to be popular with travelers.
There are seven themed houses, all of which include a terrace and garden, alongside three cottages, and five wellness cubes with saunas, a massage room, a cosmetics area, and a color therapy room. The owners also created the first radiation-free holiday cottage where guests can stay on a hillside, far from electrosmog and electromagnetic interference. Obviously, cellphones and laptops are banned, making this the perfect destination for a digital detox.
Finca La Donaira p. 018 »Photo Courtesy of Finca La Donaira; Aleksandra Olejnik, Bon Voyage, gestalten 2019«
Riad Jardin Secret p. 146 »Photo Cyrielle Astaing from Rigotang, Bon Voyage, gestalten 2019«
Deplar Farm p. 220-221 »Photo Eleven Experience, Bon Voyage, gestalten 2019«
The book is available on: www.gestalten.com
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