Luxury and sustainability are now no longer mutually exclusive. In fact luxury has been redefined so much over the past decade, that provenance, localisation, rarity, uniqueness, quality and authenticity are all key components.
And in our post-digital world, space, silence, nature and analogue experiences have become increasingly important and sought after. People have developed environmental consciences and the desire to holiday in a responsible way that aligns with our own value systems.
This is why more and more hotels and resorts are flying the sustainable luxury flag. We’ve laid out our tips on how to holiday sustainably and responsibly this winter at our favourite eco-friendly resorts.
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING DESIGN
Take your Google search on resort travel a step further and look into how resorts are built and operating – are they using locally and ethically sourced raw materials? Will they withstand the effects of harsher or sudden climate changes? How do they manage the energy used to power the resort? Do they harness solar, wind, or hydropower?
The Brando in Tahiti integrates sustainable technology into its buildings, using local, renewable, and recycled materials. All of their villas are designed to blend in with their surroundings without any beach obstructions. Furthermore, it is almost fully self-sustainable and runs on solar power and coconut oil, which is amazing!
Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah is a site to behold. Framed by dunes, plateaus and mountain ridges, Amangiri complements the region’s rugged beauty. The 810-acre protected estate is the perfect spot for exploration and adventure.
The farm-to-table concept is increasingly popular with consumers and has become the cornerstone of many sustainable resorts. Prior to your trip, research how resorts source their food and beverages: do they harvest from their own garden or use locally grown ingredients? Is there effort to provide healthier, sustainable food or drink options? Some of our favourite examples are the estate grown olives and homemade fig marmalade at Costa Navarino in Greece. To die for!
TIES WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
For us ties with the local community are one of the most important qualities that we look for. Resorts such as Coco Privé Private Island and Soneva Fushi in the Maldives embrace this by ensuring that more than 50% of the resort staff are locals.
Cottar’s 1920’s Camp in Kenya offers one of the most authentic Africa experiences and has a long tradition of working with the local Maasai community who do all their guiding.
As a collective, Alila resorts support an initiative called the “Gift to Share” programme which pledges to donate a certain amount to local causes with every booking. Alila Manggis in Bali trains the local community in different crafts such as candle making and using recycled paper to make beautiful cards, which are then sold at their Alila Living boutique. Alila also provides space on the resort for locals to grow their own fruit and vegetables, which are then either sold to the hotel or in local markets.
What do resorts do with their waste? Do they recycle, segregate, or even better do they upcycle?
At Soneva Fushi, professional glass blowers on site convert waste glass materials from Soneva Fushi and neighbouring resorts into beautiful pieces for guests to buy in their glass and art studio. They even offer glass blowing classes to guests so that you can witness the whole process first hand. It is estimated that more than five tonnes of glass waste is produced by resorts in the Baa Atoll alone, another brilliant idea from Soneva, one of the first pioneers of eco tourism.
RESPECT THE OCEANS
It is astonishing how much waste is still found in the ocean, of which one of the most deadly items for marine life are bottle tops. These tops are made from hard plastic that degrades very slowly, and fish and marine mammals mistake these bottle caps as food. You might also want to consider checking the ingredients used in your sunscreen as a growing body of evidence suggests that ingredients found in chemical sunscreens, specifically oxybenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzo are dangerous to marine life and have even been linked with coral bleaching. Stream2sea offer great ecoconscious products, alternatively the best rule of thumb is… the simpler the formula in your chosen sunscreen the better!
When we travel, it is our responsibility to ensure that we don’t do any harm to the environment and if possible, we think it is even better if you can find a way to positively contribute. The Soneva resorts are a great example of this. A percentage from each booking is donated to their Soneva Foundation which works with a number of charities worldwide to implement clean water projects. Since 2010, Soneva has helped over 600,000 people have access to safe water.
Another conservation inspiration is Cottars Safari Camp, which has its own conservation trust – Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT). CWTC supports the establishment of a 6,000 acre Olderikesi Wildlife Conservancy pilot plot on the boundary and key wildlife corridor of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Serengeti National Park. CWTC proceeds also support sustainable development through initiatives such as schools, medical facilities, water supply and ambulance services.
LOOK FOR THE BUTTERFLY MARK
This last watch out takes care of all the others. Positive Luxury actually does all the hard work for you in identifying sustainable resorts! If the resort has been awarded with a Butterfly Mark, then rest assured that you and the resort are doing your part in sustainable tourism.
Soneva is just one of the many Butterfly Mark resorts that LCV works with. For easy breezy sustainable holidays, contact lynn@lifestylecapitalvillas.