Best of Eco Hotels
Eco hotels around the world show just how much a good conscience and unique luxury can now go hand in hand. We present top establishments that offer great experiences with a small footprint and also protect human and animal rights.
19 May 2022
Ko Kut, Thailand - Soneva Villa
Exceptional luxury meets particularly environmentally friendly design here. In the Gulf of Thailand, the tropical resort Soneva Kiri is located on the unspoiled island of Ko Kut, like a paradise in the rainforest. 34 luxury villas with up to six bedrooms - each unique yet of the same stroke - blend seamlessly into the natural beauty of the surroundings. The Soneva founders, Sonu Shivdasani, and his wife, Eva, have made it their goal to create vacations full of rare experiences without disturbing the course of nature. The resort's own organic gardens, where vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown, innovative waste recycling technology and the use of only sustainable materials play just as much a role as the "no news, no shoes" philosophy: as a guest, you are invited to put down not only your constant accessibility, but also your shoes.
PERFECT FOR ...
... all those who want to experience sustainable recreation with an extra portion of luxury. By the way, also possible in the Maldives.
110 Moo 4, 23000 Ko Kut, Thailand
Tel: +66 82 208 8888
Price: Villa for 4 persons from € 690,- per night
"No news, no shoes": Simply leave the outside world outside and enjoy a sustainable vacation. © Soneva Kiri
Crete, Greece - Cretan Malia Park
A life in a quiet pace, surrounded by lush nature - this is what guests experience at the Cretan Malia Park on the Greek island of Crete. Against the backdrop of the country's typical wild flora, among palm trees and cacti, Indian figs and native banana trees, the botanical gardens form the backdrop of the hotel's extraordinary design. The flora, dutifully tended by the hotel's own team of gardeners, is a unique point of reference and source of inspiration for the architecture, which is also reflected in the rooms, bungalows and suites. Retro yet refreshingly designed and furnished to follow the sustainable, nature-inspired approach to holistic relaxation and effortless elegance, Cretan luxury is painted in a new light. Cooked and dined as the region and season dictate, with vegetables and herbs grown on-site.
IDEAL FOR ...
... all those who want to vacation and relax in the Mediterranean rhythm - snorkelling or yoga, as a couple or with the whole family.
Cretan Malia Park*****
Malia, 70007 Crete, Greece
Tel: +30 28970 31461
Price: double room from € 234,- per night
Crete becomes a soothing retreat this season - for body, mind and conscience. © Cretan Malia Park
Ruhengeri, Rwanda - Bistate Lodge
On the edge of Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda, one of Africa's most exciting safari destinations opens up. The six exclusive two-person villas blend unobtrusively yet luxuriously into the landscape. Built in the tradition of Rwandan kings, they are made of local materials such as reeds, stone and wood and are equipped in an environmentally friendly way - solar panels provide electricity and hot water. Through the large panorama windows or from the private terrace, a breathtaking view of the two extinct volcanoes Bisoke and Karisimbi opens up. It was here that primatologist Dian Fossey was intent on protecting mountain gorillas from extinction. On the site itself, there are nature trails to discover, which always reveal extraordinary things. Just recently, a silverback gorilla was spotted here for the first time.
... is the gorilla watching. For one precious hour in the circle of a monkey family, you'll probably have the most amazing experience of your life.
Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Tel: +250 788 315 269
Price: Villa for 2 persons from € 1600,- per night
With a little luck, m an spot a gorilla making its way through the green thicket. © Dana Allen/www.PhotoSafari-Africa.net
Majorca, Spain - Es Racó d'Artà
The finca in the mountains of Artà in the north Mallorca invites you on an extraordinary journey of consciousness. Friends Jaume Danús and Antoni Esteva have fulfilled a dream on the 200-hectare estate, which aims to show the true face of the island long before tourism changed it. The rooms of the old farmhouse, as well as the 34 rooms in the new outbuildings, feature clean, simple lines with a minimalist character. In keeping with the landscape, materials such as earth, stone, reeds, wood and lots of lime were used. Not a single tree on the site was felled for this purpose. Even the infinity pool with a view of the Sant Salvador mountain and the spacious wellness area were completely adapted to the conditions.
IDEAL FOR ...
... tranquillity seekers who want to consciously escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life; with plenty of space for meditation and contemplation, a comprehensive range of Watsu and Wata therapies as well as the special offer to find a new way to yourself on seven different paths.
Es Racó d'Artà*****
Cami dels Racó, Ctra. de Cala Mitjana Km. 1,5, 07570 Artà, Mallorca
Tel: +34 971 83 66 73
Price: double room from € 400,- per night
In any case, those who do not find themselves on the seven paths will find one thing: luxury with eco-appeal. © Es Racó d'Artà
Bali, Indonesia - Alila Villas Uluwatu
A fusion of the highest class luxury and the maximum respect for nature can be found high above the Indian Ocean on the South Coast of Bali. Built on limestone cliffs, the resort sets its own standards in terms of sustainability. Wood from railroad ties and telephone poles was used for the room design, while stone and rattan dominate the picture. In the 84 luxuriously embellished villas with private pools and plenty of space, the use of air conditioning is basically unnecessary: Lava-tree roofs and bamboo ceilings cool naturally. The lovingly selected works of local artists decorate the rooms with stylish charm. The resort also leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to service. An exclusive butler service pampers around the clock, and the 50-meter outdoor pool opens up views of the expanse of the deep blue sea.
PERFECT FOR ...
... a luxury vacation in a class of its own in a hotel that consistently combines its high standards of design, ambience and comfort with the concept of sustainability.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Jl Belimbing Sari Banjar Tambiyak, Desa Pecatu, Uluwatu 80364, Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 8482166
Price: Villa for up to three persons from € 830,- per night
Alila: Where sustainability and closeness to nature meet exclusive luxury and great service. © Grabriel Ulung Wicaksono
Jirira, Bolivia - Kachi Lodge
Directly in the Salar de Uyuni salt desert at the foot of the Tunupa volcano, the Kachi Lodge opens its domes into another world. Futuristic in design, but anything but remote, the six "domes" are solar-powered and built on wooden platforms connected by a semicircular walkway. Inside, custom interiors made from regional materials, such as handcrafted lamps made from reclaimed cactus wood and bedding from naturally dyed llama or alpaca wool, welcome guests. A pellet stove provides comfortable temperatures in the detailed ambience. The food comes from the award-winning restaurant Gustu in La Paz, which is known for its social responsibility and cuisine focused on sustainability.
Due to the special construction, the fragile salt soil under the "domes" is optimally protected. Thus, the lodge can be visited even during the rainy season, when the desert acquires a mirror-like surface and the Bolivian sky is magically reflected in it.
Uyuni Salt Jirira Community, Jirira, Bolivia
Tel: +591 70698300
Price: double room from € 3960,- for 2 nights
The floor under the "Domes" is protected, above it the eye enjoys design and a feel-good atmosphere. © Kachi Lodge
Yulara, Australia - Longitude 131 °
Amidst endless expanses in the heart of the Red Centre Australia and in the immediate vicinity of the Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park, the outback shows its magical side. Here you lodge in one of the 16 canvas-covered luxury tents, which gently blend into the surroundings. Featuring turn-of-the-century-style dark wood furniture, king-size beds, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, they offer a glamping experience of the highest order with a minimal environmental footprint. The tents were designed to virtually float above the sandy desert floor, allowing for a particularly intimate encounter with the pristine landscape. The founders of the elegant camp also actively seek to collaborate with the surrounding communities. Food is sourced from the region, and local artists are involved in the design of the accommodations.
... is the breathtaking panoramic view of Uluru, which can be enjoyed from every corner of the lodge - especially at sunrise and sunset.
Longitude 131 °
Yulara Drive, 0872 Yulara, Northern Territory, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9918 4355
Price: Tent for 2 persons from € 2300,- per night
At Longitude 131°, you get to experience the outback up close. © George Apostolidis
Tuscany, Italy - Borgo Pignano
Just a stone's throw from the medieval cities of Florence and Siena and the vineyards of Chianti, the Borgo Pignano hotel is located in the middle of a 300-hectare organic estate in the heart of Tuscany. The lovingly restored property, with an 18th-century villa and houses dating back to Etruscan times, now welcomes guests with 14 elegant rooms and suites. Built with local stone and recycled slate, as well as organic plaster and eco-paints, the sustainable infrastructure is the backbone for all activities. Rainwater treatment; modern heating and energy systems are as much a part of the philosophy as the aspiration of self-sufficiency. Animals are kept on the hotel's own organic farm and olives and cereals are grown; the garden supplies most of the ingredients for the kitchen, but also the care products.
IDEAL FOR ...
... elegant parties, weddings and concerts that you want to crown in a historic setting and with a clear conscience.
Località Pignano 6, 56048 Volterra, Italy
Tel.: +39 0588 35032
Price: double room from € 300,- per night
Pool with a View: The organically managed estate is a great place to relax. © Mark Bolton Photography
New York City, USA - 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Breathe a sigh of relief at this hotel in the center one of the largest metropolises in the world. Located directly on Pier 1 on the East River, the surroundings are green, yet many of the city's highlights are within walking distance. Designed by local artists with native plants and recyclable materials, the many green retreats in the house also contribute to the special feel-good atmosphere. In addition to the individually designed rooms full of plants, you can relax either in the luxurious spa area, on the roof terrace with a pool or in the rooftop bar with a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Speaking of freedom, the operators rely entirely on wind energy, which is used sparingly. In addition, attentive guests will find little details everywhere that recall Brooklyn's past as a working-class neighbourhood - for example, the wooden floors, industrial lamps and benches were made from old railroad ties.
PERFECT FOR ...
... all those who want to experience New York City from the best side and yet do not want to do without luxury and sustainability.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
60 Furman St, Brooklyn, 11201 New York, United States
Tel: +1 347 696 2500
Price: double room from € 446,- per night
Luxury and sustainability go together, as evidenced by 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. © James Baigrie
Golden Hill Country Chalets & Suites - St. Nikolai im Sausal/Austria
In southern Styria, the dream of an elegant, sustainable getaway has come true. Barbara and Andreas Reinisch have transformed an old farmstead into a romantic luxury hideaway in the most climate-neutral, sustainable and resource-conserving way possible. For the six luxury chalets and the unique Panoramaloft, much old substance could be preserved, in addition, it was built mainly with wood and brick and a photovoltaic system was installed, which generates more than half of the electricity needs itself. One of the highlights is the 200-square-meter energy-autonomous premium chalet "Steppenfuchs": It brings nature inside and has a private spa outside complete with a year-round heated XL infinity pool and a container that was converted into a sauna cube.
IDEAL FOR ...
... a Mediterranean natural time-out. Plus an idyllic natural swimming pond, individual private dining and massage options, and balloon rides.
Golden Hill Country Chalets & Suites
Steinfuchsweg 2, Waldschach, 8505 St. Nikolai im Sausal, Austria
Tel.: +43 650 3505936
Price: Chalet for 2 persons from € 290,- per night incl. breakfast
Golden Hill's luxury chalets are a great place to live - and Eco. © Golden Hill Country Chalets & Suites
Parkhotel Egerner Höfe - Rottach-Egern/Germany
Local woods, materials from the surrounding Alps and state-of-the-art technology that helps keep the ecological footprint as small as possible: In this house in the Tegernsee Valley, which was thoroughly redesigned just last summer, nature is the top priority. The heating and cooling system is particularly sophisticated, using heat recovery and energy-efficient wall and ceiling heating, among other things. The water required for this comes from the building's own well and is constantly recycled. Nevertheless, the building does not forego contemporary design: The interior and exterior, for example, always flow into one another - for a harmonious, nature-oriented overall concept.
DREAMLIKE WHEN ...
... you love timeless and quiet luxury as well as real pleasure: In addition to the casually elegant 108 rooms and suites, the gourmet restaurant Dichter under the direction of star chef Thomas Kellermann is the culinary centrepiece. Part of the epicurean experience is also the impressive mountain scenery, which thanks to the continuous window fronts moves very close to the table.
Timeless luxury and outstanding indulgence in Germany: the Parkhotel Egerner Höfe. © Parkhotel Egerner Höfe
Hotel Schwaigerhof - Schladming/Austria
Mountain farm cheese and organic yoghurt from the Moserhof, herbs from their own garden, food from local suppliers, juices from the Braunstein fruit farm and beverages from the Schladming-Dachstein region: everything served at the Hotel Schwaigerhof is from the region. Furthermore, the naturally kept rooms and suites with lots of spruce and Swiss stone pine use what the region has to offer. Energy and water are used as efficiently as possible, the heat comes from pellets. And the surroundings? Is naturally beautiful.
KNOWN FOR ...
... sustainable recreation - especially the wellness area is generously equipped and pampers among other things with heated pools, a natural pond, herbal, salt and Finnish sauna and the beauty world with pine private spa. In addition, the sports hall attracts soccer, basketball and volleyball fans, the bouldering wall is high up - and children will hardly want to leave the indoor adventure world with lots of wood.
In addition to the spacious wellness area, the view is also enticing - fantastic! © Anja Koppitsch Photography/Hotel Schwaigerhof
Seezeitlodge - Lake Constance/Germany
Preserving the environment and resources was already particularly important to Kathrin and Christian Sersch when they built the Seezeitlodge at Bostalsee in Saarland. After all, it is quiet and peaceful in the middle of the Saar-Hunsrück Nature Park and is a geomantic place of power. A sustainable heating solution is hidden around the 98 feel-good rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and bright interiors. Electricity and heat come from a gas-fired combined heat and power plant, and for the LUMI restaurant, chef Daniel Schöfisch relies not only on regional products but also on the hotel's own bread factory, where additives and raising agents are taboo.
... is the combination of a lot of nature, innovative design ideas and ancient culture in a modern guise: the Celts once settled all around, and their rhythms of life, natural rituals and medicinal herbs can be found throughout the hotel. Brass lines, for example, symbolize the summer and winter solstice axes, and in the spa there is, among other things, an outdoor sauna village including a ritual incense and fireplace.
Lots of nature, innovative design ideas and ancient cultural enjoyment: the Seezeitlodge is convincing. © Guenter Standl
VILA VITA Pannonia - Pamhagen/Austria
Looking for a noble house on the lake? Here it is! Because between lush reeds, lush meadows and the magic of Lake Neusiedl hide in the VILA VITA Pannonia among other luxury residences, which are built of natural materials and with a private terrace, private jetty on the in-house swimming lake and intimate Finnish sauna directly on the water. In such a place, of course, the theme of sustainabilityalso fits. The vacation village is partly supplied with electricity and hot water by photovoltaic systems and solar panels, the wood chip plant transforms wood from its own forest into heat. To get around the spacious area comfortably, there are free bicycles. More than 1,000 fruit trees can be found in their own orchards. In addition, it is interesting to walk in a natural eco-park with a bee pasture and butterfly meadow. An extensive wellness and leisure offer may not be missing here of course.
DO NOT MISS ...
... the luxurious houses on the water of course! Here you can relax completely undisturbed and close to nature, with large panoramic windows and great facilities on two floors.
Would you like a house by the lake? The VILA VITA Pannonia invites you to spend beautiful days at Lake Neusiedl. © Fertsak Viktor/VILA VITA Pannonia
Fritsch am Berg - Lochau/Austria
Even the exterior between mountains, forests, meadows and the nearby Lake Constance is all nature: The facade of the Fritsch am Berg was completely covered with honey-colored wooden shingles. But the inner values of the house are also right: For example, the house is heated with solar energy and wood chips from its own forest, and the cooking is regional, seasonal and with organic products, most of which come from its own farm. And then there is another form of sustainability: The "MentalSpa" resort focuses not only on the body but also on the mind and emotions.
IDEAL IS ...
... a stay in this adults-only accommodation when everyday life gets too much for you - here you learn how easy life can be with the help of biofeedback, mental coaching and regenerating and activating treatments. This experience has such a positive effect that you often live off the relaxation you've gained here for a long time at home. The many spa highlights (from the aromatic herbal steam grotto to the panoramic bio sauna and the soap foam dream) are also not easily forgotten.
Fritsch on the mountain
Buchenberg 10, 6911 Lochau, Austria
Tel.: +43 5574 43029
Price: Double room from € 248,- per night with all-day culinary delights
This is how beautiful the view of Lake Constance is. © ChristianSchramm.at
Wöscherhof - Uderns/Austria
With the Wöscherhof in the Zillertal, Andreas Daigl and his family not only run a fabulous alpine hotel with gigantic views of alpine pastures and mountain peaks. He and his father also take care of their own farm located outside the village, which includes more than a hundred animals! Guests come especially to enjoy the fresh milk and good meat - a sustainable, regional treat. The new "Wellness Suites Deluxe" with fine wooden floors, private sauna, free-standing bathtub and direct access to the idyllic bathing pond are also relaxing close to nature.
... is among other things the wellness area! In addition to the bathing pond, there is a twelve-meter-long heated outdoor pool and an indoor pool in the look of a barn. In the Panorama Spa (Adults only) on the third floor and in the Alm Sauna Village, there are also various saunas and a chat lounge with fire. Those who want privacy can reserve the Romantik Alm with a pine sauna and luxury double tub including a sound wave massage and a cozy feel-good bed.
Relaxing in the Adults-Only Sauna and reviewing the day at Hotel Wöscherhof: a treat. © Michael Huber/Huber Photography
Hochkönigin - Maria Alm/Austria
Crystal clear: Nature plays a supporting role in these generous window fronts, which offer a view of the peaks of the Steinernes Meer from the pool and the restaurant area. That is host family Hörl also important in the crucial details! For example, heating is provided by district heating from the organic heating plant, and a photovoltaic system will soon be added. Chef and junior chef Thomas Hörl also attaches particular importance to the sustainable use of food. Eggs and beef come from their own organic farm "Ebengut", and the other products are also largely from the region.
OPTIMAL WHEN ...
... you long for fresh mountain air, lots of time and restful tranquility: The house radiates a warm and timeless feel-good atmosphere with golden tones, wood, stone, felt and naturally oiled oak floors. The Nature Spa on two levels is correspondingly spacious and elegant - with an adults-only sauna area, family spa, 17-meter infinity pool and whirlpool on the roof.
Immerse yourself and switch off: At the Hochkönigin, time may become a distraction. © Lorenz Masser
Garden Hotel Ochensberger - Sankt Ruprecht an der Raab/Austria
A fairy-tale power garden full of extraordinary plants, with koi and a natural swimming pond, sustainably designed and ecologically maintained. A huge, natural orchard with apple trees and old fruit varieties, is also naturally managed. Authentic, seasonal gourmet cuisine, whose ingredients are largely organically grown in the region. Comfortable temperatures due to local heat from biomass, plus an environmentally friendly cleaning system. This and much more makes the
Garden Hotel Ochensberger into a real natural oasis in eastern Styria.
MUST BE EXPERIENCED:
the modern RestoBar Die Gärtnerei. It is housed in a kind of gigantic greenhouse and serves the best Austrian Mediterranean cuisine under lush green accents. The Vitalreich Steierness is also not to be missed: The 360-degree view of the greenery is magnificent, and the furnishings made of local natural materials such as fir, applewood and grapevine are cleverly combined with Far Eastern accents.
In the sustainable, fabulous power garden with koi and natural swimming pond, the day can be spent well. © Bernhard Bergmann
Text: Katharina Florian and Susanne Pahler
This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Spring 2022.