Earth Day, an annual holiday centering on environment sustainability, is just around the corner (April 22) and in this day in age, luxury hospitality and eco-consciousness are no longer mutually exclusive. We've compiled a list of eco-friendly resorts around the world to ensure that your client is traveling both lavishly and responsibly.
1. Hix Island House - Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
The Hix Island House Resort offers innovation eco-lodging in 19 loft apartments. Hix Island House is located in a 13-acre natural refuge of trees and tall grasses to bring guests face-to-face with surrounding nature. The lofts don't have TVs or phones, meant to maintain a sense of peace and tranquility throughout the resort.
The self-contained lofts offer views of the Caribbean; open-air private terraces and outdoor showers. Solar panels provide the electricity and hot water throughout the resort, and water collected from the shower and basins are repurposed for use on guavas, bananas, papayas and lemons. Through this, the hotel can "give back to nature." This approach has earned Hix Island the first Sustainable Tourism Facility Certification from Puerto Rico Tourism.
2. Heritance Kandalama - Dambulla, Sri Lanka
This biomass-fueled five-star resort was the first hotel in Asia to receive the Green Globe certification - a worldwide program recognizing high standards of sustainability—and recently won the Green Apple Gold Award for Built Environment, an honor for sound environmental structures. Kandalama's list of socially and environmentally conscious activities includes: supporting the local community, recycling 20 percent of its waste and harvesting rainwater. The resort landscapers use only indigenous plants on the grounds of the property and have created an 81-hectare forest.
The resort has 152 rooms with large windows, accompanying balconies, and glass-fronted baths.
Tulum, Mexico // Photo by gappino/iStock/GettyImagesPlus/GettyImages
3. Azulik Resort and Maya Spa - Tulum, Mexico
The Azulik Resort boasts organic architecture and self-sustainable systems for protection and optimal use of natural resources. At the adults-only resort, the premises are lit by candlelight only, creating not only a magical ambiance, but an environmentally sound one. The resort is connected by elevated wooden paths that bend, which allows the surrounding trees to grow freely.
Embracing its Caribbean Sea location, the resort has a cenote and wetland within premises. The cenote provides clean water for all rooms, while the wetland represents an ecosystem of its own; it helps the environment through different natural processes such as water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. According to the resorts website, the resort built water paths that wander from the lobby to the spa deck, creating water mirrors, and "constantly cleansing the premises' energy."
The Azulik Resort offers 47 wooden villas with no electric light or television. Each of the "tree houses" comes with a bed with a large mosquito net, hand-made organic amenities, private terrace, two power outlets, and a private bathroom with a mosaic bath tub.
4. Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa - Easter Islands
The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is differentiated by its commitment to sustainability. The hotel has high-efficiency electrical equipment, solar lighting and LED technology. It also has self-supplying irrigation water through a purification system of waste water. In addition, all detergents and cleaning products used at the hotel are made under environmental management systems.
The interior design of the hotel is based on the island's geographical features, giving priority to natural lighting and seeking the least artificial contact with the environment. The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa has 75 rooms; 69 Kainga and six Maunga rooms—double, twin or king. All rooms have sea views with air conditioning and a mini-bar. All rooms are on the ground level, reflecting the shape of the land and making it sustainably integrated to its environment.
5. Six Senses Con Dao - Con Dao Islands, Vietnam
Six Senses Con Dao and its hosts are committed to improving the ecological and carbon footprint resulting from the resort and spa operation. Built using sustainable building materials, the structure of the resort is designed to maximize airflow and reduce the need for air conditioning. Additionally, the resort takes on various social and environmental responsibilities to maximize their efforts.
Lying directly in front of Six Senses Con Dao is a prime habitat and feeding grounds for the endangered dugongs that resides around Con Dao Islands. In addition to the protection provided to dugongs by the Red Book of Vietnam (a list of rare and endangered species protected by law), Con Dao helps enforce that protection through their Bay Protection Program. In cooperation with the national park, Six Senses Con Dao aims to protect the bay in front of the resort, which is currently open to local fisherman. The national park and Six Senses Con Dao are working on a long-term plan to help protect the area with the help of visitors.
In regards to social responsibility, Six Senses Con Dao established the Crystal Water system. The hotel has a plan in place to help provide safe, clean drinking water for the younger generation coming through the pre-school and kindergarten in Con Dao. From sales of Crystal Water at the resort's By the Beach Restaurant, 50 percent of the proceeds go towards the purchase of a new Crystal Water system.