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Top Holidays

The 6 most sustainable luxury hotels in the world

  • Travel 101
  • By Lisa Nightingale
  • Published 25 January 2023
  • Revised 09 March 2023
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Want to play your part in healing the world one luxury holiday at a time? Turn your hand to eco-conscious travel – which starts by choosing the right holiday destination, booking the most sustainable hotel in the area, and actively taking part in their sustainability-driven excursions and experiences. 

Who wouldn’t want to feed a Giant Tortoise on the Seychelles shores or learn all about savannah biodiversity on an eco-friendly safari in Botswana?

Thankfully, ecotourism is on the rise around the world and there are now countless hotels that combine your usual five-star-type of luxury with sustainable operational practices like using super energy-efficient technology, partnering up with local environmental charities, and simple but effective things like committing to going 100% plastic free.

So, where is the world’s best eco-luxury hotel? Here’s the full rundown of our top picks.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

First up on our list of the world’s best eco-luxury hotels is Australia’s Saffire Freycinet located in Tasmania. Originally a caravan and backpacking site, nowadays Saffire Freycinet is a haven for ecotourists seeking premium accommodation and experiences. 

Just the sheer look of this place screams elegance and luxury – but beyond the appearance of its marvellous architecture, Saffire Freycinet is actually a super sustainable resort with core environmental pillars underlining everything it does. 

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Saffire Freycinet takes include:

  • Extensive efforts to protect the native Tasmanian Devil species from widespread disease
  • Implements energy-saving practices like energy-efficient lighting, water usage, insulation, and natural air flow systems
  • Actively builds connections with the local community by supporting businesses and national nature trusts

Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Freycinet

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa

Nestled nicely in South Africa’s Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, this award-winning resort has been specially designed to blend perfectly into the environment it calls home – mountains, sea, and ancient forest. The entire aim of this place is to offer an eco-luxury experience that allows you to live harmoniously with nature.

By day you’ll take part in a variety of one-of-a-kind nature-driven experiences including bird watching, horse riding, and shark cage diving. And after a long day as an explorer, you’ll rest your head in a deluxe suite, villa, or lodge, all of which offer panoramic views of the incredible wilderness setting. 

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Grootbos Private Nature Reserve takes include:

  • Built around the Grootbos Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to conserve the endangered fynbos area of shrubland
  • Conserves over 21,800 hectares of land, including 907 species of plants and over 30,000 species of insects

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
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Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Ah, the Maldives’ Soneva Fushi – a resort that’s been paving the way for the Maldives’ ecotourism industry for over 25 years. It’s a perfect spot for sun-seekers looking for a combined experience of learning about the resort’s ecotourism philosophy whilst still relishing in its luxury paradise island vibes. 

Located on the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this place feels wholly connected with nature, with a no-nonsense dedication to leaving its surrounding ecosystem and natural beauty untouched and unharmed.

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Soneva Fushi takes include:

  • Recycles up to 90% of the resort’s production of solid waste
  • Uses eco-friendly pesticide-free mosquito management solutions 
  • Partners with a whole host of charities including Save Our Seas and PATT Foundation (Plant a Tree Today)
  • Operates educational excursions to educate guests, including a lesson at sea with local fishermen learning all about sustainable fishing
Did you know you can stay the night on a sandbank here? Discover that and more in our list of top luxury experiences in the world. 

Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi

Whitepod, Switzerland

Everything Switzerland’s Whitepod resort does, has conservation and sustainability in mind - even down to the carefully thought-out geodesic design of the ultra-cosy pods, which use minimal energy all whilst providing a luxe five-star experience. 

Depending on whether you visit during the snowy winter months or the brighter summer, you’ll spend your days taking part in all sorts of adventurous package activities, from skiing to paragliding and hiking with a pack of adorable huskies. 

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Whitepod takes include:

  • The pods use a wood pellet heating system obtained sustainability from local forests
  • Uses local spring water and sources seasonal ingredients from local suppliers
  • Uses 100% biodegradable cleaning products and operates strict waste management procedures

Whitepod

Whitepod

Song Saa Private Island Resort, Cambodia

Cambodia’s Song Saa Private Island Resort is an absolute tropical paradise boasting white-sand beaches, calm lagoon waters, and a wide selection of magnificent ocean-view villas. But most importantly, all of this bliss comes with the added bonus of it being an environmentally-responsible island resort.

It even set up its own charity, The Song Saa Foundation, to help protect the habitat and local communities of the Cambodian Koh Rong Archipelago.

Song Saa Private Island Resort isn’t exactly a cheap option, but you’re paying for the ultra-luxe amenities and first-rate hospitality.

Every guest is treated like royalty and invited to experience first-hand the sustainability-driven work the resort does – like exploring the coral reefs on an educational scuba dive or joining an island safari guided by a member of the conservation team.

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Song Saa Private Island Resort takes include:

  • Plans to build a new coral reef nursery
  • Has programmes in place to protect a huge variety of marine species, including sea turtles
  • Plans to develop the Song Saa Reserve, a 200-hectare eco-tourism hotspot for conservation and sustainable hotels and villas

Song Saa Private Island Resort

Song Saa Private Island Resort

Six Senses Svart, Norway

Last on our list is Norway’s Six Senses Svart – set to become the world’s first energy-positive hotel in 2024. Its all-encompassing purpose is to inspire tourists around the world to care more for nature, in particular the vulnerable polar regions – without having to sacrifice modern-day convenience and luxury. 

Although its official opening date is yet to arrive, we couldn’t help but mention Six Senses Svart due to its cutting-edge mission to transform the future of hotels.

The hotel architecture itself is truly a work of art too, with its unique design stretching across the serene waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord and boasting panoramic breathtaking views of the nearby glacier.

Some of the eco-friendly steps that Six Senses Svart will take include:

  • Will be off-grid and the first fully carbon-neutral hotel by being completely self-sufficient with electricity
  • Zero waste dining with a ‘farm-to-table’ cuisine
  • A holistic approach to hospitality through promoting well-being, evolution, and sustainable awareness

Six Senses Svart

Six Senses Svart

The most sustainable luxury hotels in the World FAQs

Why is eco-conscious travel so important for the planet?
With worldwide tourism rates rising year upon year, it’s becoming increasingly important to open our eyes to eco-conscious travel. It’s every single one of our duties to explore the world and its natural beauty responsibly. 

Think of ecotourism as a slow-but-steady remedy to damaging over-tourism. Making more and more eco-conscious travel choices helps make the world a better place by relieving the strain on local resources and safeguarding fragile ecosystems. It’s all about learning whilst you’re on holiday, rather than just mindlessly consuming.

What is the most sustainable holiday destination in the world?

So many countries and holiday destinations around the world are investing big in ecotourism changes and becoming hotspots for sustainability-driven travellers. Some of the best eco-friendly travel destination ideas include:

  • Staying in the eco-lodges of Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest
  • Visiting Singapore's world-famous nature park of Gardens By The Bay
  • Hiking the endless mountainside scenery of New Zealand’s Southern Alps 
  • Exploring the all-year-round glacial beauty of Iceland
  • Take a trip to the eco-friendly city of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s hidden gem packed with museums, festivals, and great outdoors activities

So that concludes our top picks for the world’s best luxury eco-hotels – do any of them take your fancy, eco-warriors? If so, speak to one of our travel managers today to discuss your options. They’ll find you the perfect eco-lodge or resort to start your ecotourism journey. 

Alternatively, check out  best luxury holiday offers

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