There’s no doubt that the topic of sustainability is an important one, especially in the travel industry. So Earth Day is a good moment to consider how we can travel in an eco-friendly way.
Booking.com used its internal data to find the world’s best eco-friendly stays, and ones that may seem surprising at first - proving you don’t have to sacrifice luxury or comfort to be a friend to the environment.*
The sumptuous but eco-friendly setting of Casa do Rio, Portugal
Casa do Rio, Portugal
For quietude and bliss, Casa do Rio in Portugal delivers tenfold. Sitting on a sunbaked slope of the Douro Valley looking down to the river, this wooden lodge has a somewhat Nordic aesthetic. Lots of clean lines, simplicity, and elegance. Each of the six bedrooms feature a fireplace for winter and in summer, a long terrace opens up for al fresco dining. The infinity pool provides a stunning valley vista. But design is not Casa do Rio only strength. Its environmental approach is also creative; linear features were employed to help it blend into the hotel’s vineyard, which uses organic viticulture. And the building is ingeniously suspended just above the ground so as not to block seasonal water from running down the hillside. An in-house chef prepares regional recipes using local ingredients, including vegetables from the hotel garden and homegrown wine.
Table Mountain views at Vineyard Hotel, South Africa
Vineyard Hotel, South Africa
Built as an aristocrat’s family home and opened as a hotel in 1898, The Vineyard’s plush facilities make it seem unlikely to be eco-friendly, at first. But it’s an award-winning leader in ‘Responsible Hotelling’, supports funds to support the surrounding community and its exquisite, 3,500-hectare gardens provide a valuable sanctuary for native flora and birdlife. The hotel has its own horticulturalist, Bruce Nutman, who tends to the burnt red sweetgum, wild olive, and other indigenous trees, the manicured, seemingly-neverending lawns, and the meandering honeysuckle-lined paths leading down to the Liesbeek River. Its sauvignon blanc and semillon vines are supplied with water by two fresh springs, and it’s revered Myoga restaurant uses seasonal ingredients and its own herb garden.
Reconnect with nature at the serene Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in Temple, Japan
Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in Temple, Japan
A converted, 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple, Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in has a traditional Japanese garden and a hot spring bath heated by Koyasan mountain water, with natural healing minerals. Guests are invited to experience group meditation, try out Buddhist calligraphy, and go hiking to appreciate the natural surroundings.
Suburban style at the Ambrose Hotel, California
Ambrose Hotel, California
In a suburban neighbourhood on the east side of Santa Monica, this urban retreat is LEED Silver-certified, with mid-century modern design. It’s a boutique hotel with Californian touches like complimentary organic breakfast and a 24-hour fitness centre. Added extras like super soft bedding and bath robes give it a superior edge.
Skeppsholmen island, Sweden
Hotel Skeppsholmen, Sweden
For travellers with a conscience who also appreciate great style, Hotel Skeppsholmen on historically-protected Skeppsholmen island is eco-labelled and a member of Design Hotels. Combining a historic façade with a minimalist Scandi interior, it feels fresh and forward-thinking; all open-plan, with floor-to-ceiling windows and breezy, calming colour schemes. Swim in the harbour in front of the hotel, sunbathe in the hotel garden, or try some of the homemade bread, honey, and other homegrown produce at the eco-friendly Långa Råden ('The Long Row') restaurant.
**Booking.com’s data analysts filtered accommodations by stipulating that they had to have over 100 endorsements for being ‘eco-friendly’, had to have more than 50 reviews, and had to have a review score over 8.5 to be included in this list.