September 8, 2010
We believe the gift of travel comes with a responsibility to protect the places we all love to visit. And that’s why we’re big believers in greening your footsteps across the globe. These seven hotels are not just taking small measures to reduce the impact of your stay--they’re testing out cutting-edge eco-friendly initiatives that are as wacky as they are wise.
1. Adrére Amellal
Built by locals using traditional Berber techniques, the Adrére Amellal subtly rises out of the desert and is nestled at the foot of the mystical White Mountain. The emphasis here is on connecting with the desert and unplugging from the modern world, as HobWahid recounts in his journal Luxurious Nature: The Ecolodge at Siwa. While the resort does not have electricity and cell phone use it not permitted outside your room, you’ll still enjoy eco-pampering like organic meals prepared from the resort’s on-site garden under a canopy of stars.
2. The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers
The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers is the first-ever CO2-neutral hotel in Denmark and boasts the largest solar-panel park in the country on its façade. But the whimsy really comes into play in--where else?--the gym. There, you’ll find two stationary bikes hooked up to generators. Guests are invited to hop on and generate power for the hotel, in addition to working off a few extra pounds. As an added incentive, anyone producing 10 watt hours of electricity or more for the hotel will be given a locally produced meal for free.
3. Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa
Napa Valley, California
California is the hotbed of all things green, and Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa is far ahead of the stiff competition. In addition to being constructed with FSC-certified wood, employing elaborate water- and energy-saving technology, and making use of a comprehensive recycling program, the hotel works hard to educate its guests about green living. Each room has a copy of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and Green Touchscreen® kiosks show visitors how much water and electricity the hotel is saving and how much CO2 it is emitting in real time.
4. Love Lava Land Eco-Resort
Big Island, Hawaii
Are you sad Lost is over? Pretend you’re one of the members of Oceanic Flight 815 at Love Lava Land, a 100% off-grid, 100% solar-powered eco-resort. This three-acre resort on an old lava field offers adventurous guests yurts or Volkswagen Camper Buses for accommodations. All water is captured by a rainwater catchment system, and portable solar-powered lanterns are provided for getting around at night. The common areas boast million-dollar ocean views, a lava rock grill, an outdoor lava rock shower, and even an “eco-bocce ball court,” which uses coconuts for the balls.
Back to nature takes on a whole new meaning in this Swedish forest. Kolarbyn, located just a few hours from Stockholm, offers 12 forest huts where guests can enjoy a “primitive” experience that includes no running water or electricity. The huts, which look a little like hobbit homes, are heated by the warmth from the fireplace and all water needs can be accommodated by the nearby streams and springs. Guests can even sign up for guided nature walks to observe moose, howling wolves, and beavers.
6. Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Winter Park, Colorado
Want to go uber-green but not in the mood to rough it? Consider a restorative week at the eco-posh Devil’s Thumb Ranch near Winter Park, Colorado. While some resorts talk about going green, Devil’s Thumb actually does it. All of the resort’s buildings are warmed with geothermal heat, the wooden trim in their buildings is beetle-kill lodgepole pine, and the rock on all building exteriors is from a local landslide.
7. Chumbe Island Coral Park
Chumbe Island, Tanzania
If you’ve ever dreamed of living like Robinson Crusoe, Chumbe Island Coral Park may be just the eco-lodge for you. Nestled on privately owned Chumbe Island off the coast of Zanzibar, this resort is located near both a marine protected area and a forest preserve. Each of the seven bungalows is specially designed to capture water during the rainy season for use all year long, and then it’s hand-pumped into a solar-powered heating system. The thatched bungalows have no traditional doors or windows to block the cooling breezes and each comes equipped with a composting toilet. The meals are prepared using age-old recipes and local ingredients, making them very vegetarian friendly. And even the organic soaps are made by a woman’s cooperative in Zanzibar.
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Posted by apresley (Alison Presley)