Which spas are championing sustainability?

It is increasingly viable to look after yourself and the planet at the same time. A new wave of sustainably minded properties are leading the charge.

The 'Blue Planet effect' has driven both spa and skincare brands to make strides in the right direction.

Photograph by Getty Images
By Elizabeth Bennett
Published 20 Mar 2022, 15:00 GMT

Sustainability is both a global concern and a burgeoning trend in the spa world. While a reliance on hygienic single-use plastic and high energy and water usage has resulted in a heavy footprint, the 'Blue Planet effect' has driven both spa and skincare brands to make strides in the right direction. Big names like Six Senses aim to be plastic-free by the end of 2022 and carbon neutral is without doubt the buzzword of the year.

Spas are using totally renewable energy and recycled water while also switching to microfibre-free towels and robes alongside upcycled and locally crafted products. Arrive at Cornwall’s The Scarlet by foot, public transport or electric car and you can enjoy a 5% discount, while other spas such as Arctic Bath in Sweden are taking an ethical approach by working with indigenous communities who share their culture, knowledge and rituals with guests.

Spas are also choosing to support pioneering brands: Vitner’s Daughter has a slow and sustainable approach to creating organic plant skincare that’s also carbon neutral; Comfort Zone sources ingredients from small family farms, manufactures with 100% renewable energy and uses carbon-neutral packaging; while other big names such as Ila are offering an increasing range for vegans.

Top three: sustainability-focused spas

1. The Scarlet, Cornwall

Perched above the golden sands of Mawgan Porth, the spa is the highlight of this eco adults-only hotel. Brave the outdoor reed-filtered pool, warm up in the cedar wood sauna or energy-efficient clifftop hot tub and then enjoy ayurveda-inspired treatments. Treatments make use of local, natural materials. scarlethotel.co.uk

2. Arctic Bath, Sweden

This unique spa hotel is floating (or often frozen) in the Lule River in Lapland. Run on 100% renewable energy and built from entirely sustainable materials, the spa offering is focused on the famed hot-then-cold philosophy with saunas and an open-air plunge pool sourced straight from the surrounding ice. arcticbath.se

3. Vana, India

From world-class facilities and an extensive array of tailored treatments to fitness classes and nourishing food, Vana ticks all the boxes. Rainwater harvesting and solar panels improve energy efficiency while food is grown in their organic garden and an on-site bottling plant avoids 100,000 plastic bottles per year going to landfill. vana.co.in

Published in the 2022 edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK) The Spa Collection

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