| VICTORIA ZURAKOWSKI
Your Guide To Everything Eco Lodging With Staff Picks On Where To Holiday
Off the grid cottages, eco friendly lodges, sustainable accommodation, eco retreats, and eco conscious lodgings – same premise, different name. A decade ago or so, such eco friendly accommodations were quite rare, but today it’s something quite the opposite.
With more focus on green tourism, sustainable accommodation options are becoming increasingly popular both at home and further afield.
If you want to get off the grid for a while, disconnect from the crazy hustle and bustle of the city, take a much-needed break from your busy schedule, how about booking a green holiday to indulge yourself and be at one with nature? But what exactly are these environmentally conscious vacations?
Eco Friendly Lodges And Sustainable Holidays – What Is An Eco Lodge?
With nature at your doorstep, off the grid holiday packages offer the very best when it comes to eco-accommodation, which usually includes an eco lodge of some kind.
Environmentally sustainable lodgings aim to minimize their impact on the environment by following green living practices whilst positively contributing to the local area.
An eco lodge focuses on the use of renewable energy, such as solar energy, to provide the premises with power as well as preserving water and using energy-efficient lighting. Recycling is also another focal point, and the idea of minimum waste is encouraged. Eco lodges, especially luxury eco lodges rely on locally sourced organic foods and the farm-to-table concept is commonplace. In short, any kind of eco-accommodation strives to make use of its natural environment positively.
But the benefits of eco-accommodation don’t stop here – it extends far beyond the environment. Tourism dollars allow the local communities to stay put on their land, without being forced to strip it of its precious natural resources. Not only this, the traveller benefits from staying in eco friendly lodges, as it helps them to connect to the natural world and environment. Eco-tourism, in general, helps to educate travels about different cultures, indigenous tribes, and local wildlife conservation, making it a win-win for all.
But Why Stay In An Eco Lodge?
If the above definition is not enough to sway you to indulge in eco-tourism, perhaps this is.
Green tourism is like no other type of travel experience you’ve had. As a traveller, you find yourself suddenly thrown into the lodge’s natural surroundings and taken on an incredible enlightening journey. When you choose to stay at a luxury eco lodge, you’ll not only learn about the natural environment around you, you’ll also learn about the local community, and how to live a sustainable life.
Staying at an eco hotel or lodge allows you to continue with your wanderlust ambitions, whilst positively contributing to the environment. And if you love aesthetics and design, you’ll appreciate the structure of your lodge, which is typically constructed of natural sustainable materials.
There’s no denying it – staying at a luxury eco lodge is a real experience, and while it isn't “luxury” per se, there’s still an element of adventure, as eco lodgings are typically immersed in remote locations in the middle of nowhere. Verdant jungles, pristine beaches, high mountaintops…take your pick…you’ll soon find that green tourism becomes a way of life.
How To Choose The Right Eco Lodgings For You
A quick Google search will soon reveal just how many eco-friendly luxury lodges there are out there, so how can you choose the right eco lodgings for you? And how do you know if an eco lodge is as environmentally friendly as it claims it is?
Like with all types of holidays and accommodation, you must research the eco-friendly lodge of your choice to verify that they do have a positive impact on the environment, locals, and wildlife. What’s more, eco lodges vary in their level of luxury and their amenities, so it’s important to check whether it suits your needs.
If self-education is your goal, explore whether the luxury eco lodge of your choice will help you meet your goals, whether it’s learning more about sustainable practices, exploring a certain region, learning about a particular culture, or changing your outlook on the world around you, choosing the right eco lodge to support your green tourism education goals is also important.
Like with any type of holiday accommodation, it’s also imperative to make sure you can sleep in such conditions. Staying in a luxury eco lodge is a whole different ball game, but you need to ensure that you’re going to be comfortable to guarantee an unforgettable experience.
As well as researching your eco-friendly holiday accommodation, it’s also a good idea to research exact locations. Say you’re keen to explore a certain region of Central America or Africa, narrow down your search to these areas, and don’t disregard remote areas, as this is where the majority of high-end luxury ecological lodges are located.
Once you’ve booked your luxury lodge, continue researching and learning about the local area, its environment, and its people.
Read on for some of our favourite 5-star eco lodges from around the world!
Keswick Reach Eco Lodge Retreat, The Lake District, UK
Located in the picturesque Lake District, Keswick Reach Eco Lodge Retreat is conveniently situated in one of the UK’s most sought-after holiday destinations. Secluded and immersed in rolling countryside, this eco-friendly lodge is the perfect place for being at one with nature, especially since it’s home to a diverse range of animals, making it an ideal family eco holiday destination. Keep your eyes peeled for badgers, hedgehogs, bats, ducks, and rabbits and let the kids have a bit of fun with the live Duck Cam for a spot of real-time nature viewing. It makes for an idyllic getaway for nature lovers, as the lodge’s location gives you easy access to walking trails, beaches, and woodland reserves.
What To Wear:
Expect a lot of activity as this family-friendly eco lodge in the Lake District has a lot to offer, which means dressing for the occasion. You’ll find yourself exploring wooded areas and traipsing through the countryside, so practicality needs to take precedence. For a casual daytime look, dress as if you’re headed to the gym. Think leggings, tank tops, and also a jacket, as the temperatures in the Lake District are notorious for changing without warning.
Borgo Pignano Eco Hotel, Tuscany
Nestled in the heart of a charming 750-acre organic farm in Tuscany, not too far from the medieval towns of San Gimignano and Volterra, Borgo Pignano has recently been restored using environmentally friendly materials. From woodchip-fired boilers to freshly harvested organic food to a natural water preservation system, Borgo Pignano’s sustainable practices are more than commendable. The rustic farm-to-table concept is traditional, and you’ll be able to enjoy locally grown produce, olives, fresh fragrant herbs, cereals, locally pressed olive oil, and homemade artisanal bread that have been baked using traditional Tuscan techniques.
You’ll also get the chance to enjoy this Tuscan haven in a variety of ways, which includes horseback excursions that allow you to take in the naturally diverse beauty of Tuscany from your saddle. You must also take advantage of Borgo Pignano’s wellness centre, which draws inspiration from the area’s well-preserved terrain. From wellbeing therapies to natural spa treatments to steam baths, the lodge’s trained herbalist uses locally picked plants, flowers, herbs, and oils to promote health and wellness in a tranquil setting.
What To Wear:
The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Nestled amongst lush flora and fauna on one of French Polynesia’s secluded private islands, Tetiaroa, The Brando luxury eco lodge, named after the late Marlon Brando, spans across the idyllic sandy beaches. This stunning and award-winning eco-friendly resort makes for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Committed to protecting Polynesian culture and conserving its native wildlife, this is the perfect place to escape it all. If it was good enough for President Obama to retreat to while working on his autobiography, it’s good enough for you.
This luxury eco-resort, which has been designed around an eco-friendly ethos welcomes scientists and researchers, who explore the island’s unique biosphere and offer lectures, throughout the year. Built to blend in with its natural environment, the luxury eco villas complement the landscape. Guests will be treated to gourmet island fare created by a Michelin star chef, who uses locally sourced organic products.
What To Wear:
Become an island Goddess that represents flirty youthfulness in one of this season’s trending colours – mint green. Invigorating, refreshing, and representing nature, this colour trend will beautifully complement your sun-kissed skin, as seen in this bohemian style tunic dress from Miss June. When teamed with a pair of fun animal print flip flops in gold, you'll be able to take your vigour to the next level.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a stunning luxury eco-resort in Belize, which was established 30-odd years ago by a couple of intrepid travellers that fell in love with this small Central American nation. Built to blend into its stunning surroundings, 10% of all profits go back into environmental and social initiatives.
Choose from one of the luxury eco villas, suites or cottages, which are all ecologically friendly, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is immersed in and surrounded by dense rainforest. With its 365-acre nature reserve and its proximity to the Maya Mountains, there’s plenty to see and do for nature lovers, including bird watching, hiking a medicine trail, canoeing, meditating, and visiting the butterfly house.
What To Wear:
To blend in with this wildly civilized luxury eco-resort, one must dress appropriately while lounging poolside and tucking into your freshly prepared breakfasts. Think flowing kaftans that will take you from day to night like this gorgeous Melissa Odabash lace kaftan, which will look beautiful paired with rose gold flip flops and an understated elegant chain bracelet.
Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat, Sukawati, Bali
Located in a traditional Balinese seaside village on the island of the Gods, the Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat is a 5-star eco lodge that focuses on sustainable living, green tourism, and giving back to the community. With a clear eco-philosophy, this eco lodge in Bali has been designed with the environment in mind. From the carefully chosen flooring materials to the epicurean menu featuring fresh organic produce, this Balinese holistic retreat has gone above and beyond to preserve both the surrounding natural environment and the local culture.
For a luxury eco holiday that offers nothing but first-class personalised service when it comes to holistic wellness, this is one of the best eco-resorts in Bali, so it’s no surprise that it has been awarded the Best Eco Retreat in Asia for the last four years. Here you’ll be able to experience the very best when it comes to Balinese culture and hospitality whilst you unwind and enjoy the various wellness packages, which include massages, yoga, spa treatments and more.
What To Wear:
When travelling to an eco-retreat in Bali, your destination wardrobe needs to be carefully curated. As you’ll be enjoying the endless treatments on offer while feasting on freshly made local dishes, you’ll need to wear something stylish yet simple – something that commands just the right amount of attention like this tiered one shoulder dress in white from Pitusa paired with a brightly coloured tote bag and blue flip flops.
Hacienda AltaGracia Eco Retreat, Boruca, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s green tourism industry is booming, and there’s a surplus of luxury eco-friendly lodges to choose from, but one sustainable lodge that stands out from the rest in the fertile mountains of Pérez Zeledón is Hacienda AltaGracia. With a farm-to-table concept, you’ll be able to enjoy ethically sourced ingredients. Hacienda AltaGracia’s philosophy is simple – support the local community to encourage more sustainable living. You’ll be able to visit sustainable farms, coffee plantations, and protected forests, where you’ll even be able to adopt a tree.
The varied activities on offer all support the local community from biking to horse trekking to swimming to cooking. A truly authentic experience, this is the perfect opportunity to uncover the undiscovered wonders of Costa Rica.
What To Wear:
Hiking, biking, trekking…there’s no doubt that your stay at this five-star luxury eco lodge in Costa Rica will keep you active, which is why you’ll need something cute, comfortable, and of course practical. This green and white romper from Dodo Bar Or is a suitcase essential when visiting a luxury eco-friendly resort with activities galore. When hiking or walking, pair with a cute pair of trainers and a brimmed sun hat for extra protection, and for an uncomplicated holiday look during your treatments, pair it with a pair of classic white Havaianas.
At Sand Dollar UK, we proudly support all environmental and sustainable initiatives. Staying at an eco-friendly lodge will be a new experience that opens the mind. It will be nothing short of amazing, and you’ll soon come to understand that travelling doesn’t always have to negatively impact the environment.
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