|Photo by Freeimages.com/Luca Biagiotti|
The Daily Telegraph, April 22, 2016
To celebrate Earth Day, we round up some of the most striking eco-friendly resorts around the world.
1. Finolhu Villas, The Maldives
Dubbed as the world’s first "fully solar-powered resort", the entire facility is equipped with 2,000 square metres of solar roof panels that meet all of its energy needs. Set either over water or on the beach, the 52 eco-friendly villas are spread across 12 acres on the private island of Gasfinolhu.
The island is said to generate around one megawatt of energy per day, due to its location on the Equator, and any excess energy generated each day can be stored for use on another day.
The resort is also said to run on an advanced self-sufficient water supply and efficient waste management system, and is claimed to have been built in a way that would minimise erosion on its beaches.
2. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, The Maldives
"With some of the finest diving in the Maldives to be enjoyed on the island's coral reef, this award-winning eco-friendly hotel is one not to be missed by fans of the deep blue sea", describes Telegraph Travel’s Maldives expert Adrian Neville .
Set on the island of Hadahaa, the hotel has won several awards for its eco-friendly credentials including the archipelago’s healthiest reef, found 34 miles north of the Equator in one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, North Huvadhoo. The hotel is the only resort in the Maldives to be certified for both its eco-friendly design and construction by EarthCheck, the international tourism and environmental advisory group.
3. The Park Hotel, India
The five-star luxury hotel in Hyderabad in southern India features a striking, jewel-themed metallic façade, inspired by the region’s history as a centre for the gemstone and textile industry, which wraps around its elevated courtyard, maximising the entry of natural daylight in its interior spaces and minimising the use of electricity. The exterior also provides acoustic insulation from trains nearby. This is the first hotel in India to receive LEED Gold certification, recognised for its extensive application of sustainable design mechanisms.
4. Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania
“Using natural building products such as timber and stone, this luxurious resort in Coles Bay has been designed to blend organically into the surrounding landscape”, says Telegraph Travel's Tasmania expert Mark Chipperfield .
Its “bold and modern architecture” features energy-efficient windows, made with glass that has a very low percentage of reflectivity, lighting and air conditioning.
"There are only 20 suites, each of which enjoys unadulterated views of the bay and the mountains – and a high level of privacy", he adds.
5. Hix Island House, Puerto Rico
Designed and launched in 2000 as a hillside eco-retreat by the architect John Hix, who specialises in energy-efficient buildings that work with the natural forces provided, Hix Island House on Vieques is actually a collection of four starkly beautiful reinforced-concrete buildings housing a total of 13 ‘loft apartments’. Each is solar powered and designed to collect rainwater, which is heated by the sun and used throughout the property, and has spacious sleeping areas, a kitchen stocked with breakfast ingredients (including homemade bread and jam), trade-wind-facing terraces, outdoor showers but strictly no phone, TV or air-conditioning.
6. The White Pod, Switzerland
Set at the foot of the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of the Swiss Alps, each “geodetic” pod (a sphere made only of triangles) of this luxury hotel is a self-sufficient room or suite connected to a water system and heated by a wooden stove designed to use a minimal amount of water and electricity. Each pod includes a king-sized bed, bathroom and shower, a baby cot and a large terrace, while the “family” and “deluxe” pods also include additional beds and other extras such as a minibar.
“The ambient airflow inside the dome is continuous, with no stagnant corners, requiring less energy to circulate air and maintain even temperatures” and “the energy required to heat and cool a dome is approximately 30 per cent less than a conventional building” due to it “high volume-to-surface-area ratio”, the company website reads.
7. Hotel Terra, US
The LEED certified hotel features a solar, wind and hydro powered energy system and much of its building structure is made from recycled material.
“Chic, urban and eco-friendly, the modern Hotel Terra in the heart of Teton Village is an antidote to alpine kitsch. Each of the 132 sleek bedrooms is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, while facilities include a rooftop hot tub and an infinity pool overlooking the mountains,” describes Telegraph Travel’s John O’Ceallaigh .
8. Proximity Hotel, US
The five-star 147-room hotel was awarded LEEDS Platinum certification for its sustainable design which uses 40 per cent less energy and 30 per cent less water than a comparable hotel.
Highlights of its more than 70 ‘green’ features include its construction which is made from recycled content such as reinforced steel, the installation of “North America's first Regenerative Drive model of the Otis Gen2 elevator” which feeds the energy it generates back into the building’s electrical system, 100 solar panels on its roof that produce heated water for the hotel, and large, energy-efficient 7’4” windows in the guest rooms that allow for abundant natural lighting.
9. Lefay Resort & SPA, Italy
“Located above the village of Gargnano, this eco-resort with award-winning spa was constructed using stone pillars and wooden beams, taking inspiration from Lake Garda’s lemon houses. Rooms feature local walnut and olive floors, and the restaurants serve Mediterranean dishes using local ingredients”, describes Telegraph Travel expert Kiki Deere .
“The building takes inspiration from the tiered lemon houses of the lake, with rows of stone pillars supported by wooden beams. The resort prides itself on being eco-sustainable. The building was constructed with bio-compatible materials: rooms feature natural fabrics and rainwater is recycled, while the restaurant uses seasonal produce from nearby farms. Electricity is completely from renewable sources, with almost two thirds generated on site. The resort produces its own olive oil”, she adds.
10. Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa, Chile
Staffed mostly by Rapa Nui, the indigenous people of Easter Island who have a shared respect for nature, this Easter Island hotel is reputedly made from clay, tree branches and volcanic rock. The hotel has been designed to maximise the use of natural light and materials to allow “the least artificial contact possible with the Raa Nui environment” and also recycles its water.
11. The Green House Hotel, UK
Billing itself as Britain’s most eco-friendly hotel, The Green House in Bournemouth “houses an ethos that means every aspect of the hotel is dictated by an environmentally-friendly approach,” describes Telegraph Travel's Benjamin Parker .
“Their eco credentials, whether big (they ran a company car on biofuel) or small (using recycled paper), are never preached or gimmicky. Luxury is very much on par with principles, and this Dorset seaside hotel is a stellar example of going green without compromising on comfort”, he adds.
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