Travel is an incredibly enriching experience, as it not only brings us face-to-face with the wonders of the earth, but it also helps us understand our impact on it. More and more, people are looking to make the shift from "tourist" to "conscious traveller" by finding ways to make positive impacts on the locations they visit. Making thoughtful, informed choices about how, when, and where you go on holiday can make a real difference, so to help you plan the consummate conscientious getaway, we've put together an eco-centric list of the 10 best places to stay around the world, as reviewed by Expedia travellers.
From buzzy boutique hotels with beehives and resorts with rainwater recycling, to grand urban retreats with solar power, these amazing places show that luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. Expedia has analysed its global resource of real, authentic traveller reviews, and these are the top spots for eco-travellers. Read on for our list of traveller-recommended eco-friendly hotels!
1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort - Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Nestled between lush jungle and the azure waters of the Mexican Caribbean, the Rainforest Alliance-certified Sandos Caracol Eco Resort is highly regarded for not only being a first-class destination for intrepid trekkers and beach lovers, but for its eco-focused amenities and close relationship with the community.
- Sandos Caracol Eco Resort not only offers a chance to unwind on its unspoiled beaches or plan a jaw-dropping trek, it's dedicated to natural conservation, with extensive policies governing waste management and resource consumption.
- From eco-tours and beachfront yoga, to cruelty-free animal interactions and invigorating dips in the natural cenote, there are plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy the ancient Maya surroundings while minimising their footprint.
- The resort's long-standing commitment to the community is reflected in celebrations of local indigenous culture, on-site markets highlighting regional artisans, and partnerships to improve area schools.
2. Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG - Paris, France
Just a five-minute drive from Charles de Gaulle airport, the Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG impresses with its eye-catching Nordic design, high-tech perks and eco-focused mission, making it the ideal getaway for conscientious travellers who want to stay green while staying connected.
- The hotel is serious about conserving energy, with an impressively low annual consumption, and its green cladding and solar panels mean that you don't have to think twice before turning up the heat.
- Its water impact has also been considered, and on-site rainwater collectors help neutralise the guest's footprint.
- The chic, design-focused decor offers much more than a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your adventures, it incorporates sustainable materials, including PEFC wood, carpets made from recycled fishing nets, and luxurious showers built from stone and recycled glass.
3. Siloso Beach Resort, Sentosa - Singapore
Picturesque Sentosa Island is more than a hotspot of open-air food stalls, world-class golf courses and golden beaches, it's home to the Siloso Beach Resort, an award-winning eco-resort that's been carefully integrated with its natural surroundings. From the papaya groves and the natural springs to the intimate villas built around mature trees, the resort offers a tranquil slice of heaven just steps from the South China Sea.
- The verdant grounds are home to over 650 trees, as well as a landscape pool built around the natural terrain and fed by underground waters.
- Breath easy: 72% of the resort is open-air, so you can make the most of the long days with breezy cycle rides, snap-worthy hikes and unforgettable eco-adventures.
- Its eco-focused operations put an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced foods, limited use of plastics and reduced energy consumption.
4. Habitat Suites - Austin, TX, USA
With its eclectic music scene, hip global restaurants and outlaw culture, Austin has long been Texas' most forward-thinking city, and that's clearly reflected in the ethos of Habitat Suites, a locally owned property that's been focusing on environmentally sound practices for 30 years. Habitat's won numerous awards, including an Austin Green Business Leader Gold Award, and its vegan breakfast, "Living Green" menu and quaint fig-tree-shaded courtyard will help any eco-savvy traveller feel right at home.
- Its vibe may be cosy and classic, but with solar panels, solar thermal and a pair of charging stations for electric vehicles, it's a mover and a shaker in the green energy movement.
- There's an on-site organic garden, and guests are invited to pick their own herbs and fruit - perfect for tossing up a new twist on classic Tex-Mex dishes.
- All suites are hypoallergenic, and have bio-safe shampoo, potted plants and windows that open, allowing you to let in the breeze and sleep easy on the warm Texas nights.
5. Pakasai Resort - Krabi, Thailand
Whether you want to jump in a boxing ring, unwind in the spa, learn to cook _Tom Yum Goong_or just lounge by the pool, Pakasai Resort's got you covered. Not only does the resort offer plenty of opportunities to work up a sweat or wind down in style, it has an eagle-eyed focus on sustainability, and was named "Krabi's Greenest Resort".
- The resort's stunning modern architecture and unforgettable views will draw their share of admiring glances, but its natural beauty masks a thoughtful side. From rainwater capture and greywater recycling to energy efficient lighting and biogas production, the resort's environmental impact has been carefully considered.
- Attention has also been devoted to reducing carbon emissions, as the resort has partnered with the local community to develop waste minimisation programs.
- You can make your stay even greener by joining the #GreeningPakasai campaign, which encourages visitors to make low-carbon choices around meals, transportation and local activities.
6. PARKROYAL on Pickering - Singapore
With cutting-edge urban design and 15,000 square metres of flora, the PARKROYAL isn't modest about its green ambitions. And sure, the stunning glass-and-greenery façade looks like something from a utopian sci-fi film - it really is jaw dropping - but the LEED-certified hotel isn't just putting on a show, it's serious about conservation, and the energy it saves could power nearly 700 households.
- The property deploys an array of high-tech light, rain and motion sensors, helping to keep resource consumption to a minimum.
- The hotel's solar cells and rainwater collection mean zero-energy maintenance of the 15,000 sq m sky gardens.
- The foliage-lined façade not only promises a lush urban oasis, its unique construction means that concrete use has been kept to a minimum, helping to reduce the associated waste and energy expenditure by 80%.
7. The Green House, Bournemouth, UK
Whether you're looking to plan a big event, a surprise romantic getaway or just a weekend to de-stress on Bournemouth's blue-flag beaches, this elegant eco-hotel in a Victorian villa offers the perfect respite. For such a dignified, old-world property, The Green House is surprisingly au courant when it comes to environmental trends. A great amount of thought has been put into renewable energy production, locally sourced products and animal welfare, and that attention to detail is evident in everything from the bats, the bees and the bar, to the cooking-fuel-powered company car.
- The hotel focuses on energy conservation, as well as its environmental impact. All cleaning products are earth-friendly, the restaurant serves locally sourced beers, and the guestrooms feature eco-paint or wallpaper made from vegetable ink.
- At the Green House, everyone's in it together, as the staff have been trained in the ethos of sustainability and are encouraged to make suggestions for further improvements.
- The grounds not only offer the perfect spot for an afternoon stroll, you can charge your electric vehicle, or take a peek at the bat and bird boxes. The property even sources its honey from its own rooftop beehives.
8. The Listel Hotel Vancouver - Vancouver, BC, Canada
If you're a green-minded globetrotter who's also a culture buff, The Listel Hotel is the perfect spot for a holiday in vibrant Vancouver. The property bills itself as "Vancouver's most art-full hotel" and offers well-appointed boutique quarters featuring original artwork by regional and international artists, as well as galleries for exhibitions. To top it all off, the Listel is a member of the city's "Corporate Climate Leader" program, and is home to a top-notch restaurant focusing on sustainable fare.
- An intimate hotel in lively West End, the Listel is the perfect spot to grab a bite before hitting the town, and with its focus on sustainable seafood and locally sourced wines, visitors can enjoy their meals guilt-free.
- The property's conservation efforts include 20 solar panels and a state-of-the-art heat capture program that reduces natural gas use by 30%, as well as water reduction and air quality programs.
- Not only is the Listel a hotspot for sustainable dining and vibrant local art, it's been adhering to a 100% zero waste policy since 2011.
9. Hotel Verde - Cape Town, South Africa
Stylish and sustainable, Cape Town's Hotel Verde is a 100% carbon-neutral property just a stone's throw from the airport. Not only has the Hotel Verde been awarded a number of eco accolades, including LEED Platinum certification and a 6-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, it even lets guests lend a hand in the conservation efforts by peddling electricity-generating bikes to earn in-house rewards.
- The Hotel Verde's wetlands have been restored, and now feature edible food gardens and a healthy population of Cape honeybees-as well as an eco-trail, an outdoor gym and an eco-pool.
- The property is especially forward-focused when it comes to energy efficiency, and utilizes photovoltaic panels on the roof and north-facing facades, along with wind turbines, energy-generating gym equipment and geothermal heat.
- Working hand-in-hand with the local community, the hotel understands the importance of social responsibility, and has made it a point to reduce waste and procure sustainable products.
10. Sherwood Queenstown - Queenstown, New Zealand
From the farm-to-table restaurant and the kitchen garden, to the sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, an appreciation for nature's beauty is evident in every detail at the Sherwood Queenstown, a laid-back boutique hotel situated on 3 lush Alpine acres.
You can get the most out of the hotel's unforgettable landscape by putting yourself it the middle of it: kick-start your morning with a relaxing yoga or meditation session, pack a picnic and hit the trails for a hike, or get your pulse racing with some snowboarding or skiing. At the Sherwood Queentown, it's easy to fall in love with nature, and with the hotel's devotion to sustainable practices, nature will love you back.
- The Sherwood has focused on thoughtfully integrating the surrounding landscape, as well as using upcycled fixtures, fittings and furnishings.
- The restaurant uses local, ethical, sustainable and seasonal products.
- The hotel operates on one of the country's largest private solar installs, and generates enough electricity that it returns a surplus on the grid.
Travel broadens horizons, enriches our lives and offers lasting memories that we'll always carry with us. By being conscientious about how we travel and where we stay, we can make sure that we minimise our impact on the world, even if its impact on us will be everlasting. These eco-focused stays are some of the favourites of Expedia customers, but they're just a small sampling of what's offered. From exploring the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica to wandering through the quaint Alpine villages and medieval towns of Switzerland, a wide world of eco-friendly wonders awaits you. Bon voyage.
*Top 10 lists compiled from measuring sentiment and volume of reviews from travelers globally on Expedia that mention 'sustainable' or 'eco-friendly'