It often seems like the hotel
industry simply pays lip service to ethical and environmental
issues. Do hotels really believe that a note asking you to re-use
your towels constitutes a socio-ethical policy when the heating
or air-conditioning is cranked full on and they employ the cheapest
foreign labour they can get? The origin of food is often indeterminate
and contact with the local economy minimal.
Why not ask them a few questions
to sharpen their performance:
- can you turn the heating/airconditioning
- where is your food procured?
Is it local/organic?
- can I see your ethical policy
- do you re-cycle?
- in what ways do you support
the local community?
There are a number of environmental
accreditation organisations working with the hotel industry.
Having had our rant, we have
to acknowledge that the world does have a fair number of environmentally
conscious hotels, so here is where you can find a few of them:
- Bedruthan Steps
Hotel, Cornwall -http://www.bedruthan.com
Family friendly hotel on the Atlantic Coast, with a strong environmental
policy. Close to Mawgan Porth Beach, many of the rooms offer
sea views. Restaurant and café offering local produce
-special feature is the attention the give to kids menus. Indoor
and outdoor pools, spa treatment, jacuzzi and beauty treatments.
- Mose Grove Organic Hotel, Ambleside, Cumbria -http://www.mossgrove.com
- This refurbished Victorian hotel
in the Lake District is passionate about everything organic,
from the local organic produce they serve to the natural paints
and sheep fleece insulation used in the refurbishment of the
building. The offer 11 stylish bedrooms, each one different.
Country Hotel and Restaurant,
Virginstow, Devon -http://www.percys.co.uk
- Set in 130 acres of verdant
gardens, this is a tranquil paradise from which to escape the
pressures of modern living. Living accommodation is situated
in a restored, converted 17th century granary and offers every
comfort from Egyptian cotton bedlinen to broadband.
Primrose Valley Hotel,
St Ives, Cornwall
- Primrose Valley was the first
hotel in Cornwall to win green accreditation, and was 2009 winner
in the Cornwall Sustainability awards. They couple a strong sustainability
policy with positive actions, including their list of "50
things to do without a car". Have a look to at their "list
of 20 things that make us more sustainable". Every room
is different and you can also enjoy the Ren Room for therapy
and beauty treatment. All this and just 60 seconds from the beach.
- Treglos Hotel and Spa, Constantine Bay, near Padstow, Cornwall -http://www.tregloshotel.com
- Four star hotel and spa set
on a bay in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The hotel
has a strong environmental policy and is particularly concerned
with the conservation of the local habitats. Many of the rooms
have sea views and their award winning restaurant offers local
Cornish produce. It has its own beautiful golf course on heathland
overlooking the spectacular North Cornish Coast, as well as indoor
pool with spa treatment rooms.
Eco Hotel and Adventure Sports Centre, Pembrokeshire -http://www.tyf.com
in the tiny Welsh city of St Davids the hotel is set in a converted
12 bedroom windmill. It is the first hotel in Wales certified
by the Welsh Organic Scheme, and has a ethical purchasing policy.
They offer world class coasteering -sea kayaking, surfing and
rock climbing and it is also a perfect location for retreats,
courses and events.
- 51 Buckingham Gate, London -http://www.51-buckinghamgate.com
Smart five star hotel in the heart of Westminster that champions
green causes with its own 'green team' who promote environmental
initiatives amongst the hotel's 250 staff. The have 86 luxury
suites and serviced apartments for short or long stay, along
with spa including a state-of-the-art gymnasium, saunas and steam
- Aqua Dome, Tirol Therme
- A stunning thermal spa and wellness
hotel set in the Tirollean mountains. It features a domed, glass-walled
thermal spring hall with two pools and a huge waterfall -two
canal pools connect to the amazing outdoor area, with the whole
complex designed to blend with the mountain setting.
Bad Blumau, -http://www.blumau.com
An extraordinary hotel and wellness spa in an architecturally
inspiring environment -green roofs, organic forms, colourful
facades and golden domes make up this amazing complex. Power,
heat and energy are supplied by the two curative springs. The
spa aims to touch all senses -imagine floating in the warm water,
daydreaming, under canopies, on the grass-covered roof or reading
in the room of silence. Features include a geomantic path, Celtic
tree circle, island of flowers of love, path of the wild fruit,
love trees and garden of the 4 elements. There is so much we
could write about the hotel -do have a browse through their website.
- more eco
hotels in Austria
Idyllic spa set in a lemon orchard in northern Cyprus
16 km west of Kyrenia. They offer a comprehensive range of spa
treatments, including hot stones, massages, body wraps, facials,
hip and thigh treatments as well as Qi Yoga, a therapeutic blend
of Hatha Yoga (balancing and restorative Yoga) and Qi Gong (ancient
Chinese healing practice), to create centring, grounding, energy
harnessing, stress relief and healing on a cellular through to
an energetic level.
Residence Belgicka Prague,
- Executive aparthotel just ten
minutes from Wenceslas Square offering serviced apartments in
a classic Art Nouveau building fitted out by interior designer
Barbara Skorpilova. Awarded a European Eco-label, they offer
business class accommodation with all the facilities you would
expect, although its a pity they don't make more of their eco
- More eco
hotels in the Czech Republic.
hotels in Denmark.
Living , Copenhagen
Denmarks first floating hotel offers the best in Scandinavian
design and perhaps reflects the future of a world with sea level
changes. Located in the heart of the city, the converted barge
is furnished to a high specification and offers twelve beautiful
rooms with classic Danish furniture and furniture designed especially
for the ship. Wifi internet throughout.
A stunning hotel, igloo village
and cabins complex in Lapland. Especially notable are their glass
igloos from which you can watch the Aurora Borealis -they say
they use specially insulated glass. Snow restaurant, smoke saunas
and wilderness exploration completes the experience.
- Maison Flore,
- A ten room environmental hotel
in the heart of Arcais in the marshes of Marais Poitevin. The
hotel is located in two historic marsh houses that have been
refurbished with 40 sqm of photo-voltaic roof tiles, and an aerothermal
floor heating system fed by an air/water heat-pump itself connected
to their own solar energy system. They operate a green housekeeping
program which only uses environmently friendly cleaning products
and are planning to install a 10,000 liter rainwater collector
for greywater flushing.
- Villa Rosa, Alsace -http://www.villarosa.fr
Small nature hotel restored with natural paints, oiled floors
and wax. It has achieved 'Hotel au naturel' classification
meeting of criteria on the preservation of the environment such
as use of renewable energy, waste recycling, water preservation,
and reduction of noise and light pollution.
- more eco
hotels in France.
- Mitart, Berlin -http://www.mitart.de
- Central Berlin hotel and café
in a listed building, with easy access to the cultural life of
the city. The café serves organic food, sourced locally,
and they support local artists, whose work is on display in the
hotels 30 individually styled rooms.
- Ökotel, Hamburg, Germany -http://www.oekotel.de
Comfortable modern ecological hotel in built using natural materials
to a low-energy building standard, including highly insulated,
photovoltaics for energy, waste recycling, greywater flush system,
and environmentally friendly cleaning products. They also offer
certified organic food for their guests.
eco hotels in Germany
Selected Ecotourist traditional accomodation in Greece.
The philosophy of Guest Inn, the first Greek Network of Rural
Accommodation is to display and promote small tourist accommodation
via the Internet, as well as to suggest and provide the traveller
with accommodation which is particular to its location and complies
with specific common quality standards.
- Grecotel, various locations -http://www.grecotel.com/
- The largest hotel chain in Greece
wouldn't seem a likely candidate for a selection of eco-hotels,
but they are in fact proud of their green credentials. They established
their environmental department in 1992, persuaded Coca-Cola to
reintroduce returnable glass bottles to Greece; and set up the
Agreco traditional organic farm in Crete supplying many of their
hotels with organic produce. Their stunning resort hotel in Cape
Sounio near Athens has a strong educational programme "ambassadors
of the environment" lead by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of
the great underwater broadcaster.
- Eco labelled countryside hotel
dedicated to the Icelandic Horse. Located 30 minutes from Reykjavik
in a geothermal resort with many excellent riding and hiking
trails. Strong environmental policy including the careful control
of tours to avoid damaging delicate ecosystems.
Country hotel and retreat located at the head of Snaefellsjokull
Glacier with spectacular views. It was the first hotel in Iceland
to be Green Globe Eco rated. Owner Gudrun Bergmann worked with
her late husband Gudlaugur on environmental protection and sustainable
tourism for many years, and Gudlaugur was project coordinator
for Local Agenda 21 in Snaefellsbaer municipality. Activities
include glacier tours by snowcat, horse riding and hiking. Snaefellsjokull
National Park is just minutes away and island tours are available
at Stykkisholmur, and hour away.
- Lake Hotel -http://www.lakehotel.com
- An eco friendly spa hotel in
Killarney -boasts geothermal heat pump and solar hot water systems
as well as being located in a beautiful lakeside situation with
spa hotel in Wicklow with its own micro-brewery and organic restaurant
that also features geothermal heating from an underground spring
supplemented by a biomass boiler.
- A contemporary cedar clad lodge
in a stunning waterside setting with West facing balconies that
give all the rooms a view of the sunset. The hotel offers local
organic food, woodland hiking. and a host of environmental features
including wetlands for water treatment.
Hotel, Lana -http://www.esserhof.com
modern boutique hotel built from straw bale construction in the
mountains of north east Italy. Relax with an active massage or
enjoy the pool.
South Tyrol -http://www.hotel-panorama-mals.it
offering panoramic views of the Ortler Mountains and food produced
on their own organic farm. Enjoy beautiful hiking country or
relax in their sauna.
hotels in Italy
Capsule Hotel, The Hague/Antwerp
A hotel with a difference
-sleep inside your own "love pod" -actually they are
oil rig survival pods, simply kitted out for a very different
night's experience. Location varies -check the website to see
where they are now.
-Dutch eco label that scores hotels, campsites and restaurants
in Belgium, Holland and Germany with a bronze, silver or gold
environmental barometer (Dutch language only).
Hans Brinker Budget Hotel -a budget hotel that takes a tongue-in-cheek approach
to eco travel -have a look at their eco-tour and you will see
what we mean......
Mountain Farm, near
- A traditional farm comprising
nine buildings around a yard in the wilderness of northern Norway.
They offer accomodation for up to 35 guests, with traditional
Norwegian cuisine including grouse, reindeer and trout from mountain
lakes. The farm is accredited with a Swan Eco Label, and works
actively to minimise the environmental impact of your stay, with
measures including waste sorting and recycling, bio toilets,
and localkly sourced ingredients.
This Scandinavian hotel chain has a strong Responsible Living
agenda -it introduced the concept of its 97 percent recyclable
hotel room in 1995 and has opened two eco-hotels in Oslo -the
Oslo Sjolyst- and the newer Byporten Oslo. A particular feature
is the ability of guests to electronically override the temperature
settings. They are retrofitting all their hotels rooms to reduce
the amount of plastic and metal used, replacing them with natural
materials. They aim to be zero CO2 by 2025.
Hotels, across norway
This chain has set
out their aim to have all their hotels certified as "Eco-lighthouses"
by the end of 2008 -policies include waste reduction and environmental
friendly waste management, purchasing environmental friendly
products and ecological food. They also offer self catering apartments
in some locations.
Quinta Rio Touro, near Cascais -http://www.quinta-riotouro.com
A certified organic farm, that is part of Sintra/Cascais Natural
Park World Heritage Site. Enjoy an organic breakfast made from
their own produce and pick your own oranges straight from the
Hotel Rural Quinta de Bispos, Serra do Caramulo -http://www.quintadebispos.com
Eco-labelled country house hotel and apartments on
an organic farm in Central Portugal. The complex enjoys fantastic
views and offers pools, turkish baths, horseriding, walking,
tennis and a music recording studio. Eco measures include photovoltaic
solar power, water and waste management, plus briefing of all
staff on ecological issues.
- Cerro de Hijar,
This three star hotel enjoys a stunning mountain location, silence
and fantastic views -you can do trekking, biking and horseback
riding or retire to the hotel for a spa and gastronomic meal.
Hotel, Monroyo /
Mont-roig. Matarraña -http://www.consolacion.com.es
- A striking modern hotel located
in the Matarraña, Aragón, one of the most beautiful
and undiscovered regions of Spain. The hotel was designed by
architects Camprubí i Santacana as an innovative
project comprising a central house with communal areas, plus
ten rooms built as cubes with three solid and one glass wall,
enjoying interrupted views of the natural surroundings. The rooms
have sunken baths of luxurious black slate and a chimney suspended
in mid air, as well as speakers for your I-pod. The restaurant
serves some of the best regional produce and the swimming pool,
carved from the rockface, enjoys the same spectacular views.
- La Correa,
Canary Islands -http://www.ecohotelcorrea.com
oasis of peace and tranquillity in the heart of a native vegetation
estate situated in Altavista de Arona (South of Tenerife). This
small rustic hotel of only 6 double rooms offers a variety of
activities from hillwalking to paragliding. They serve organic
food, organise therapeutic services and talks on wellbeing and
try to bring respect for the environment into everything they
Describes itself as Sweden's
most primitive hotel -stay in a forest hut -you are provided
with firewood, matches, sheepskin blanks and primitive cooking
facilities. Bring warm clothing!
and Sill, Klädesholmen
A modernistic floating hotel
moored at Klädesholmen, one hour from Gothenberg. The oceam
itself provides heat through a turbine beneath the boat. Enjoy
the coastal air and fresh fish from one of the top seafood restaurants
Balance, Les Grange -http://www.vegetarisches-hotel.ch
Organic vegetarian cooking plus
well-being treatments using the La Grange natural spring water
-sauna, pool, shiatsu or simply relax in the garden with a herbal
Hotel, Zermatt -http://www.stylehotel.ch
Wellness hotel near the Matterhorn, offering
pool, jacuzzi, caldarium, sauna and massage, along with certified
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