Green is in and It’s Here to Stay

Ecotourism is gaining in popularity all the time. However, not all “green” lifestyle supporters are ready to stay in a modest bungalow with the comfort levels of Robinson Crusoe’s island.

We’ve found some great hotels which offer luxury and care about the environment at the same time. The guiding principle of these hotels is the same - to protect nature. In exchange for treating the environment with respect, tourists get a unique accommodation experience, the chance to observe wild animals in their habitats, to try eco-food and various other benefits.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley hotel

The philosophy of this magnificent resort is respect for nature and a desire to preserve the environment. Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley was the first hotel complex in the world to receive an international certificate from CarbonZero, which confirms its neutral carbon emissions.

The resort takes up about 2 per cent of the Greater Blue Mountains nature reserve, which is spread over an area of 2,830 hectares and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Its proximity to nature creates a certain mood and provides guests with a delightful retreat from the everyday.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is located in such a remote area that there is no mobile phone signal. However, guests will not be bored. The landscape outside the windows of the 40 luxurious villas is breathtaking. You can enjoy a wealth of nature while riding a bicycle or a horse then, when you get back, one of the restaurants at Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will have your dinner ready. All meals are made using only eco-products and we guarantee that traditional Australian cuisine will open up a whole new world for you.

The spa also deserves a special mention. Six secluded rooms, designed for two, take pride of place with spectacular views over the valley. The exclusive Australian cosmetic line, Sodashi, known as the most environmentally-friendly spa brand in the world, is used in all wellness treatments.

Price: €1500 per villa per night.

Eco-lodge Montana Magica hotel

This exotic-looking hotel with only 12 rooms is located in the Hulio-Hulio forest reserve and has incredible views of rivers and waterfalls. The building is perfectly integrated with the surrounding landscape and the original design of the “Magical Mountain” gives you the feeling that you are totally connected with the world around you.

Masters from neighbouring villages built this exceptional 15 metre-high eco-lodge using natural stones and wood. Because of the waterfall running down the walls, they are overgrown with moss, grass and bushes. All of this serves to make the hotel look like a toy house.

Mocho Choshuenco volcano, with its snow-covered peak, serves as the perfect backdrop to this unique hotel.

Room rates: from €300 per night.

Lizard Island hotel

This hotel is located in such a heavenly place that you completely forget about the rest of the world. Lizard Island is in a national park in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef and is home to 1,013 hectares of untouched nature, 24 sandy beaches, and a lagoon. You can only get there by private plane.

The resort contains 40 villas and is fantastic for people who enjoy a secluded retreat. Lizard Island is one of the first certified eco-hotels in the world and the perfect place for complete fusion with nature: the rooms have no TVs and the island is free from mobile connections.

Instead you can enjoy eucalypts, acacias, mangroves and over 40 species of birds. Nearby is one of the world's best places for fishing - Ribbon Reefs, where you can hunt swordfish, mackerel, tuna and black marlin.

The Great Barrier Reef is at the top of the world's natural wonders, and Lizard Island is the best place to observe its unique eco-system.

Be sure to visit the local spa, which uses La Biosthetique ecological cosmetics. And don't forget to have a romantic dinner on the beach, where you can enjoy local eco-products and freshly-caught fish.

Prices: from €1,000 per villa per night.

Campi ya Kanzi hotel

Campi ya Kanzi Eco-lodge is situated in the middle of the savannah, 50 km away from Mount Kilimanjaro, on land belonging to the Maasai tribe. Two enthusiasts, Belpietro Luca and Antonella Bonomi, founded this camp in 1996; Africa has been a second home to them since they were kids.

Campi ya Kanzi takes up to 16 guests at the same time. You can stay in one of six cosy cottages or in luxurious Kanzi House, which is big enough for six people. If you want, you can rent the whole house. From any of these cottages, you can enjoy a view of many species of wildlife at home in their natural habitat.

The camp has been designed to have a minimal impact on the environment – it uses only filtered rainwater and solar power. Of course, the main attraction here is the savannah: professional Maasai hunter guides will show you the wilderness and all kinds of animals. Closer to sunset, you will get the chance to see a careful leopard or a lion getting ready for the hunt.

The best times to come here are the warmest months but every season has its own advantages – for example, during the rainy season in January and February, the elephant population reaches its peak.

Price - from €600 per night, to rent Kanzi House - from €7,500 per night.

Whitepod hotel

Hotel Whitepod, which is at the foot of the Alps on the hills of the canton of Valais, is only one and a half hours from Geneva, and looks like a campsite, but a luxurious, expensive one with all of the comforts. You stay in a minimalistic geodesic dome with transparent walls made of PVC. You will be wrapped in white cloth next to a fireplace, with snow all around – it's an amazing experience. But that's during the winter season. In summertime, the domes are covered with green camouflage which fits in perfectly with the hilly green landscape.

Getting to your dome, with its own fireplace and sheep- and cow-skin wooden furniture, will take you 20 minutes, but you will be rewarded with a priceless view of the Alps. For all guests, there are daily tea-drinking parties with homemade cookies. There's also free tennis and badminton, and a huge chess table and sauna in the big wooden house. Go for a walk in the mountains and be sure to visit the Dents Du Midi mountain range.

Price: from €250

Jetwing Vil Uyana hotel

Jetwing Vil Uyana is a family hotel. It was opened in the 70s with the aim of respecting the environment and ecology, without sacrificing the comfort of its guests.

The hotel is located in the middle of an artificial reservoir and canal system, which water the rice fields. Inside, there is a nature reserve, home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, butterflies and amphibians. This paradise is only a few hours' drive from noisy Colombo.

Jetwing Vil Uyana consists of villas built from recycled materials; the walls are made of reed, the roofs from Imperata stems. The beautiful sunrise over the lakes surrounding Jetwing Vil Uyana is a great reason to wake up early every day. Experience all of the power and beauty of Sri Lanka by climbing to the top of the UNESCO Sigiriya World Heritage Monument plateau, where you can explore the ruins of a fifth century palace.

Price: from €300 per villa

Mandarin Oriental hotel in  Las Vegas

A mixture of luxury and respect for the environment, combined with a view of the Strip... Who said that fine living can’t be eco-friendly? When you stay at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas with its energy-saving lamps, environmentally-friendly cleaning products and organic cuisine, you realise that ecotourism can be posh. The hotel has received LEED® Gold certification proving to all the doubters that this temple of elegance and opulence really does care about the environment.

The interior of the hotel, the lobby and all 392 rooms, are decorated in a refined Asian style. The best way to enjoy the view of the famous Las Vegas Strip is while sipping a cocktail on the 23rd floor in the Mandarin Bar.

Price: from €200 per room

Finca Rosa Blanca Inn hotel

You will hardly find a greener place than the Finca Rosa Blanca Inn. A short trip by car from San Jose and you are there. It is situated in the middle of an organic coffee plantation, a few kilometres from the active volcanoes of Costa Rica. In 1985, Teri, a tai chi instructor and Glenn, an artist, decided to make their dream a reality - to open an eco-hotel, which would have the lowest possible impact on the environment. For example, they hid all of the electrical wires under the ground so as not to harm the animal world and they use the flesh of coffee berries as fertiliser.

Take a walk with a guide on the coffee plantation - you will learn a lot about the local production of high quality organic coffee. Try tasting the ripe coffee berries and take part in a coffee degustation; you will be able to compare the smells of Costa Rican beans during the tasting.

Price: from €200 per room

Alila Villas Uluwatu hotel

This architectural masterpiece, built on the Balian cliff, delights from the moment you arrive at the hotel. Alila Villas Uluwatu is a luxurious complex of 84 magnificent villas with a private butler. It was made using only local, recycled, natural materials and was the first resort in Indonesia to receive the prestigious Green Globe award for its environmentally-friendly design.

Due to its location on a high limestone cliff extending over the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, the view from the hotel is amazingly picturesque.

Careful use of water and electricity, economical LED lighting, a waste recycling programme, houses with roofs of cooled lava, the use of local natural products, spa treatments inspired by nature, a private line of organic cosmetics… the list of measures this hotel has taken is extensive to say the least. All of this makes Alila Villas Uluwatu the preferred destination for green lifestyle supporters.

Price: from €700 per villa per day.

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I fell in love with traveling much earlier than I fell in love with my first man. And I'm still faithful to that love (But I have exchanged some men since my first one). I have never had a reason to regret my passion. I constantly dream of going further, it gives me indescribable emotions and meaning to my life.

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