How These Top Eco-Friendly Hotels Around the World are Championing Sustainable Practices

How These Top Eco-Friendly Hotels Around the World are Championing Sustainable Practices

How These Top Eco-Friendly Hotels Around the World are Championing Sustainable Practices

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Walk into Martinhal Lisbon Oriente and you’ll see a pile of trash in the lobby.

The trash is an art installation created by Bordalo II, a Portuguese street artist who collects city garbage to use as his medium for creating animal busts. Martinhal Residences, a new sustainable hotel in Portugal’s capital, displays Bordalo II’s installation of a lion and her cub.

A unique method of promoting sustainability, to say the least, but such are the creative ways the world’s top eco-friendly hotels are going beyond the norm to champion sustainability. Let’s take a look at how some of these hotels in the world are setting themselves apart in uniquely sustainable ways.

Calilo | Ios, Greece

You think you know the story: a developer purchases a huge plot of land for their 5-star resort and then transforms every square inch to their liking no matter the impact on the land.

Well, that’s not the story in Ios, Greece.

Despite all temptation to create a sprawling resort complex as seen on so many other Greek islands, Calilo’s land was purchased specifically to see a sustainable dream come true. Only 1% of the land purchased was developed. The other 99%? Preserved for future generations to enjoy as Mother Nature intended.

And Calilo didn’t stop there. One of Greece’s most eco-friendly hotels, the Calilo also champions a conservation project that has planted nearly 69,000 trees and bushes on the island. They even went so far as to buy up 550 ancient olive trees from Athens that were set to be destroyed and replanted them in Ios.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay | Musandam Peninsula, Oman

As we await the opening of Six Senses Svart — a Norwegian off-grid, carbon-neutral hotel near the Arctic Circle — Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman continues to draw attention as one of the world’s top eco-friendly hotels for educating guests.

On the Musandam Peninsula, this resort’s goal is to exist in harmony with its surroundings — be it in nature or in community. They’ve got lofty goals: going plastic free (they’re 80% there), achieving zero waste output (most organic and glass waste is recycled on-site), conserving energy (they’ve already cut it by 30% annually), and prioritizing organic farming (they have an on-site organic garden and even produce their own bottled water through reverse osmosis).

Six Senses Zighy Bay does plenty more, including funding medical treatments and supplies for the village, but they understand that they can’t do it alone. That’s why they promote educational experiences focusing around sustainability like beach cleanups, underwater cleanups, and operate an Earth Lab where guests can learn sustainability practices to use in their daily lives.

Learn more: How dining with Insight Vacations does a world of good

Cheetah Plains | Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, South Africa

Luxury vacations and sustainability seem like odd bedfellows, but Cheetah Plains make them a perfect pair.

You’ll never believe you’re vacationing completely off the grid when you stay at this swanky eco-friendly hotel resort in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Nature Reserve. Renewable energy via solar power does more than fuel the villas and suites: it also powers your safari experience.

This carbon negative lodge has retrofitted Land Cruisers to make electric safari vehicles. That means that every game drive is one step closer to achieving both an unforgettable and zero-emission safari experience.

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Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort | British Columbia, Canada

Finding an eco-friendly hotel isn’t difficult in many countries, but even the best eco hotels in the world have certain structural limitations. It’s no surprise that alternatives to hotels are growing in popularity, not unlike the sustainable dude ranch at Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort.

Call it glamping, call it luxury camping; whatever you call it, this B.C. wilderness hideaway is sustainable through and through. The off-grid lodge offers primarily nature-based activities like horseback riding, wellness walks, and yoga in the great outdoors to cut down on any power consumption.

Speaking of consumption, their culinary offerings are nothing short of world-class and everything but wasteful. Much of it is grown on their 2-acre farm and made from scratch to ensure zero waste. For the offsite essentials, spot prawns are caught sustainably while wines and morel mushrooms are sourced from nearby vineyards and forests rather than flown in from across the world.

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Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers | Copenhagen, Denmark

Want to see how sustainability is done right in Denmark? Look to Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers.

It’s the country’s leading hotel in sustainability and one that many eco friendly hotels can learn from. Groundwater-based cooling and solar panels are just the start. Its literal green atrium has a 1,400 square-meter forest to pump out fresh oxygen.

The hotel’s construction itself is full of recycled and reused materials: discarded boat sails cover the ventilation shafts, acoustic ceiling tiles are composed of old PET bottles, and even the floor has sustainable footing with reused concrete and rubber.

Related: How Sweden maintains its status as one of the world’s most sustainable countries