The ultimate eco hotels around the world, from Madagascar to New Mexico

Located amid tropical rainforest, on powder-soft stretches of coastline, or surrounded by wild savannahs, this collection of lodges offer luxury and comfort while looking for the best ways to protect the planet.

Laguna Beach

Photograph by Getty Images
By Laura Holt
Published 9 Jun 2022, 18:00 BST

A new generation of light-touch travellers is making their mark, determined to travel responsibly by supporting local communities, protecting native wildlife and ensuring their decisions are well informed when booking travel. To this end, Beyond Green has collated a collection of hotels that are full of character, wonderfully luxurious and entirely unique while looking to make as soft an impact on the environment as they can. So, from a centuries-old Tuscan estate to a private 11-acre nature reserve, here’s how to sleep soundly while staying in style.

Guests at Borgo Pignano in Tuscany can join a resident herbalist to forage for ingredients used in the restaurant.

Photograph by Borgo Pignano

1. Best for budding chefs: Borgo Pignano, Tuscany, Italy
From 300 (£250) a night

Parchment-white walls tell the tale of many centuries at Borgo Pignano — a historic hamlet turned hotel between the Tuscan hill towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. But this isn’t a hotel stuck in the past: 750 acres of organic farmland — laced with fruit-bearing orchards, flower meadows, vegetable gardens and honey-making hives — supply everything from the kitchen to the spa. The Tuscan sun warms solar panels, grey water feeds biodynamic vineyards and guests can join a resident herbalist to forage for cookery and cosmetics-making classes.

Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa uses Biorock technology to grow coral reefs.

Photograph by Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

2. Best for ocean adventures: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia
From $1,200 (£905) a night

Everything revolves around the sea on this tiny Polynesian island. From the Biorock technology used to grow coral reefs to the air conditioning that harnesses deep-sea water, using over 40% less energy than a conventional system, the ocean around this resort comes first. It's sure to be a comforting thought when you're looking out across the cobalt-blue waters, but turn your gaze inland and the resort also has fabulous views of Bora Bora’s rainforests, which you can explore with local guides.

Ted Turner Reserve Vermejo in New Mexico has carefully reintroduced American bison and Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

Photograph by Ted Turner Reserve Vermejo

3. Best for wild scenery: Ted Turner Reserve Vermejo, New Mexico, USA
From $1,600 (£1,211) a night

Ted Turner is best known as the founder of CNN. But one of the Stetsons he sports is as safeguarder of a series of wild American reserves, stretching through New Mexico. The Vermejo reserve covers a cool 550,000 acres, and is home to elk, black bears and mountain lions, as well as endangered American bison and Rio Grande cutthroat trout, both reintroduced by Ted and his dedicated team of biologists. Healthy waterways and riparian areas also top the agenda for Ted’s team, and beavers are flourishing on the reserve. Visitors can immerse themselves in nature on horseback rides, canoe adventures and fly-fishing expeditions through the estate’s ponderosa pine forests and pristine streams.

A philosophy of using just enough underpins Carneros Resort & Spa in Napa, California.

Photograph by Carneros Resort & Spa

4. Best for wine connoisseurs: Carneros Resort & Spa, California, USA
From $1,099 (£829) a night

Moderation may not be the first thing you think of when you’re sitting beside the palatial pool of Carneros, admiring Napa’s vine-stitched scenery, before sampling chef Jeffrey Jake’s seasonally inspired dishes at one of three restaurants. But nonetheless, a philosophy of using just enough underpins this California winelands resort. Resident chickens produce eggs and the organic gardens create a larder brimming with heritage herbs and vegetables. Learn all about it at a cooking class or borrow an orange cruiser for a carbon-free cycling tour.

Ranch at Laguna Beach in California saves more than 21 million gallons of water a year.

Photograph by Ranch at Laguna Beach

5. Best for epic views: Ranch at Laguna Beach, California, USA
From $499 (£376) a night

With the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park behind it and the Pacific in front, Laguna Beach takes some beating. However, this part of coastal California is also a fragile environment, prone to seasonal droughts that leave the ground parched and dry. In 2015, the hotel took the initiative to introduce a water reclamation project; all 87 acres of land are now irrigated with reclaimed water, saving around 21 million gallons a year. Parched yourself? Organic wines are on the menu at restaurant Harvest, along with hearty, ranch-grown food and locally-caught seafood.  

Bentwood Inn in Wyoming is working to expand wildlife corridors in the surrounding region.

Photograph by Bentwood Inn

6. Best for mountain scenery: Bentwood Inn, Wyoming, USA
From $439 (£331) a night

When the great Yellowstone fire of 1988 destroyed almost 8,000 acres of the national park, it seemed little good could come from it. But Bentwood Inn is a breath-of-fresh-air by-product of that event, its knobbly cabin-style walls crafted out of wood reclaimed from the fire that did so much damage more than three decades ago. This inn is doing its bit for the planet, too, decreasing its energy consumption by 20% every year, expanding wildlife corridors in the surrounding region and co-founding the ‘1% for the Teton’ initiative that sees hotels donate a portion of their profits to conservation projects around the Rocky Mountains.

Arenas Del Mar is set in an 11-acre nature reserve, which creates a biological corridor for wildlife,

Photograph by Arenas Del Mar

7. Best for jungle expeditions: Arenas Del Mar, Costa Rica
From $420 (£316) a night

Costa Rica’s calling cards come together at Arenas Del Mar. There’s a rolling Pacific shoreline, wildlife-roamed parkland and a rainforest occupied by toucans and howler monkeys all waiting to be explored with naturalist guides. The resort doesn’t just pay lip service to light-touch living — it lives and breathes it over the 11-acre nature reserve, which creates a biological corridor for wildlife into Manuel Antonio National Park. It’s hard to imagine that just 20 years ago, this was a single-crop plantain farm; however, the area was given a new lease of life after some 7,000 native trees were replanted.

Humpback whales can be spotted around Miavana Resort between July and August.

Photograph by Miavana By Time + Tide

8. Best for endangered wildlife spotting: Miavana By Time + Tide, Madagascar
From $3,000 (£2,263) a night

Is this the Maldives, or a private island off Madagascar? You’d be hard-pressed to tell just by looking at the marbled waters and icing-sugar sands of Miavana. But the wildlife gives it away: endangered lemurs loop above the trails surrounding this luxury 14-villa resort; hawksbill and green sea turtles glide through the reefs; and humpback whales arrive between July and August. Biodiversity surveys are carried out twice a year, 10 young marine biologists have been schooled, and more than 1,000 locals are supported by this gem in the Indian Ocean.

Plan your trip
Beyond Green aims to bring together an encyclopaedia of the world’s most responsible stays – properties that look to safeguard the environment, support local communities and showcase the natural culture of a destination.

All properties included in the collection follow a meticulous vetting process, covering 50 globally recognised standards and aligning with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond Green can also offer to build customised itineraries for travellers to Africa and South America.

 For more information on how to book your trip, go to staybeyondgreen.com

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