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The most sustainable luxury hotels in the UK

  • Travel 101
  • By Lisa Nightingale
  • Published 29 August 2022
  • Revised 17 February 2023

In today’s climate, the modern holidaymaker is acutely aware of the impact they leave in this fragile world. Often, travel and tourism bear the brunt of the criticism, but while the negative effects on the environment are evident, there is much positivity to focus on in the ways in which the industry is adapting.

The pandemic forced us to change the way we do things and the desire to constantly fly abroad has waned slightly, meaning that staycations have become increasingly popular and eco holidays, UK-style are on the up! 

The country boasts a profusion of excellent luxury hotels that focus on sustainable practices – and not just the rudimentary stuff like reusing towels and providing organic bathroom amenities – the real commitments that will change the way we travel and help maintain a future for this beautiful place we call Planet Earth. 

Below we have pulled together a list of some of our favourite ‘Luxury Eco Hotels UK’ to inspire and excite you for your next earth-friendly holiday!

Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Relatively new on the deluxe hotel market, Heckfield Place opened in 2018 with the primary aim of blending the timeless elegance of an old Georgian manor house with a contemporary, eco-centric philosophy in everything they do. The result is a glorious, luxury hotel on a 438-acre estate that exudes comfort and refinement, which isn’t at the expense of the planet.

Rooms and suites range from the cosy ‘Guest’ and ‘Friends’ rooms to the larger, more refined ‘Signature’ rooms. Each includes pieces of Georgian and classic 20th century timber furniture, hand-knotted wool rugs, original British artworks, hand-woven mats from locally sourced river rushes, handmade ceramic lamps, and raw oak accents, which create a warm and natural setting.

Two main restaurants are on offer at Heckfield Place: Marle and Hearth, the former holding a Michelin Green Star for its ethical and environmental efforts. Locally sourced and grown produce – predominantly from the hotel’s own Home Farm – is at the forefront of the dining experiences at the hotel, delivering a pared back style of cookery of simple, hearty dishes.

Top Sustainable Features:

  • Biodynamic farming – producing its own fertility through composting, integration of livestock and crop rotation and anything not used in the kitchen goes right back into the soil
  • Little Bothy Spa with all-natural treatments and products 
  • Most of its water and heating is generated by bio-mass boilers that burn wood pellets

Heckfield Place

Heckfield Place

The Scarlet, Cornwall

A well-known member of the eco-hotel scene, The Scarlet is a clifftop haven of simple, contemporary elegance with a penchant for its natural coastal surroundings and ecosystem, and a desire to seamlessly merge with the sea and sands below. Drawn to the ocean? Take a look at Winged Boot's most luxury beach hotels in the UK here.

The hotel takes pride in its building structures, using reclaimed materials and many natural and raw features that can be recycled or easily reused, like copper cladding, wooden frames, and aluminium and sea-thrift roofs. A biomass boiler also heats the indoor pool through a cutting-edge solar panel system that works all year round. 

The spa is the hotel’s pièce de résistance in terms of eco-friendliness, with a bromine-filtered indoor pool, cedarwood barrel sauna atop the cliffs, curative steam room, and tented treatment rooms lit by lanterns, it offers deeply relaxing, natural experiences using wild-crafted and natural products.

Top Sustainable Features:

  • Zero chemicals used in the filtering system of its outdoor pool as it uses reeds and algae to cleanse the water instead
  • Non-bubbling hot tubs to reduce energy wastage but also to connect you with the calming sounds of the sea below 
  • Sustainably caught seafood, paired with slow-aged wines and steaks at the Scarlet Restaurant

The Scarlet

The Scarlet
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The Zetter, London

When you picture sustainable hotels, your thoughts automatically turn towards the countryside, the forests, and the ocean, right? Well, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that more and more inner-city hotels are also setting their sights on a sustainable future, cue The Zetter.

Situated in the pleasant neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, London, this boutique hotel – and one of three in the Zetter Group pioneering the eco-hotel market – is a converted Victorian warehouse that champions many eco-conscious practices, from environmentally thoughtful building materials and eco-friendly interior décor, to state-of-the art energy management initiatives and even using its influence to encourage suppliers to rethink their own practices.

Accommodation ranges from cosy Double Rooms to The Rooftops, which offer fantastic views across the city. Each features ‘clean’ cosmetics and toiletries, local or fairtrade products in the minibars, and air con that automatically switches off when windows are opened, amongst other great little eco-friendly touches.

Top Sustainable Features:

  • All food deliveries and supplier packaging must be fully recyclable or taken away with them
  • A state-of-the-art energy loop system, which swaps energy around the hotel i.e., when the rooms are heated it also helps keep the fridges cool
  • 1,500ft borehole underground that pumps the hotel’s water to keep rooms cool and flush the toilets, allowing the building to remain self-sustaining

The Zetter

The Zetter

The Grove, Hertfordshire

Luxury UK holidays don’t get much more special than the multi-award-winning The Grove hotel, situated amid 300 beautiful acres of land just 18 miles outside of London, it takes pride of place as one of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ and is a top choice for celebrities, not least due to its exceptional service and abundance of first-class facilities and amenities such as its prestigious golf course and beautiful Sequoia Spa. The hotel also boasts 217 glorious rooms, tennis courts, a private beach, and even a helipad– no wonder it has attracted A-listers like The Beckhams, Hugh Grant and Tom Cruise in the past.

Possessing a Green Apple Environment Award for its commitment to sustainability, The Grove also embraces ethical beliefs, particularly when it comes to its dining experiences. The hotel has adopted a commitment to permaculture and much of the food used in its restaurants is grown and sourced within the Walled Garden, which features four quadrants including an amphitheatre seating area for guests, trailing hops for beer, and a beehive for collecting honey and ensuring the garden is bee friendly.

Top Sustainable Features:

  • Biodiverse ‘Jemima’s Kitchen Garden’, which grows much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs used in the restaurant menus for The Stables and The Glasshouse
  • The hotel has scrapped single-use plastics and provides eco-friendly amenities for guests
  • Dedicated in-house ‘Green Team’ to promote best practices for recycling, reusing, and reducing waste

The Grove

The Grove

The Green House, Dorset

Acknowledged as one of the world’s top eco-hotels, the aptly named Green House is an intimate, 32-room hotel presented in a gorgeous Grade II-listed Victorian villa in Bournemouth, sandwiched between the enchanting New Forest and the pretty Blue Flag beaches of the Dorset coastline.

Self-proclaimed as the ‘Greenest Hotel in the UK’, everything environmentally friendly has been taken into consideration here, from the littlest things like energy-saving lighting and Farrow & Ball eco paint in the rooms, to generating their own electricity and advocating for change by training staff on sustainability and assessing all their suppliers against strict environmental standards.

Meticulously designed rooms are decorated using locally crafted 100% wool carpets, eco beds, vegetable inks in the wallpaper, solid wood furniture salvaged from storms, upcycled furniture and much more.

Top Sustainable Features:

  • Handy water filling stations around the hotel to reduce plastic waste 
  • Arbor Restaurant only sources locally farmed meat, plus fish from ‘port to plate’ in 24 hours or less, following strict sustainability guidelines 
  • Waste oil is made into fuel and coffee beans are composted and used for the on-site community vegetable garden

The Green House

The Green House

If you are looking to book an eco-friendly staycation or a luxury family stay in UK waters, then get in touch with our expert travel managers who will create your dream trip from beginning to end. Call us on 0203 816 0985 or enquire online!

Tagged: UK
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