Hotels offer some of the most beautiful and luxurious spaces in the world, often at the expense of the environment. According to online travel fare aggregator Booking.com, however, more than a third of holidaymakers are now looking for more eco-friendly travel options.
This means hotel and leisure providers must now pay more attention to the sustainability credentials of their accommodation. While encouraging guests to reuse towels has become commonplace, hotels can also get greener by switching to energy saving technologies, saving water, improving recycling processes, and supporting local, sustainable businesses. The recent surge in popularity of eco-boutique hotels is a sign of these changing times.
In this supplement, we take a look at some of the great green hotels in the world, featuring destinations in Amsterdam, Costa Rica and Kenya and the UK.
Campi Ya Kanzi, Kenya
Swahili for ‘camp of the hidden treasures’, Campi Ya Kanzi is the dream come true of Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi. Situated on 283,000 acres of a Maasai reserve at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, between Kenya and Tanzania, Campi ya Kanzi is a 100% carbon neutral eco-lodge, offsetting all of its emissions in the REDD+ Chyulu Carbon Project, created by Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.
The entire camp has been planned and built with the goal of having the lowest impact on the environment. Local building materials have been used (lava rocks, thatch, lumber from a reforestation programme). Hot water is supplied by solar boilers; electricity, by solar systems; food is prepared with eco-friendly charcoal produced by a UN project; waste is collected, properly recycled or incinerated or used as compost for a small organic vegetable garden. All water needs are covered through rain cropping; the black and grey waters are purified through natural filtration and recycled into a pond for wildlife.
Coes Faen Lodge, Snowdonia
The concept of Coes Faen Lodge Spa BB and Restaurant welled up from the imagination, professional skills and experiences of owners Richard and Sara Parry-Jones. Their aim at Coes Faen Lodge has been to create calm, peaceful spaces that promote relaxation and wellbeing, delivered with discreet, contemporary luxury, referencing bio-architecture and building in sustainability.
Each room has its own unique character and features, yet all are unified by an underlying platform of quality and comfort. Six guest rooms all offer a sense of intimacy and peace. Each is decorated with sophisticated simplicity, with the colour schemes chosen to complement the breathtaking views of the estuary and the mountains. Tactile and high quality natural materials are used extensively, including stone from their own land.
Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica
Hotel Punta Islita’s design was a collaboration between owner Harry Zurcher and his brother, architect Ronald Zurcher. Constructed with energy-efficient architecture and lighting, Hotel Punta Islita follows a Require, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle principle. Requiring that all purchasing orders comply with sound environmental standards, in an active effort to reduce environmental footprint.
The hotel holds the maximum sustainability rating of Costa Rica’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism programme. The standout feature of Hotel Punta Islita’s Responsible Model is that it has been a pivotal catalyst for a collective sense of possibility, hope, and entrepreneurial enthusiasm. This has enabled a formerly depressed isolated region to thrive, underscoring local culture and traditions.
The QO wants to prove that embracing a sustainable, circular approach is the only way to create a genuinely positive impact – for both people and planet. This is the way for the future of hospitality. The concept means more than just ticking a few eco-friendly boxes: it runs throughout the building, products and operations.
Conran and Partners was selected for the bedroom design, while Dutch firm, Tank, created the public spaces that the local community would love. A classic external-grade brick has been employed for the bathroom walls to reference the most prominent building material used and offer a visual connection between external and internal surfaces in every room. The use of brick hints at the wider concept of ‘textural materiality’, and the use of materials in their original form – including natural oak and leather – can be found in the design of other features in the room.
The basic principle in the public areas was to use the rough building itself as a carrier and add the interior as a jewel, proving that sustainable interiors don’t have to be stuffy. The design comprises a variety of ingredients that, taken together, express the chief principle of QO: sustainable luxury.