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Earth Day: the world's top 10 sustainable hotels

From an island in Singapore to an all-inclusive eco-stay in Mexico, here are 10 top sustainable places to holiday this Earth Day

Every April 22, the world celebrates Earth Day and while travel and sustainability don't always go hand in hand, it's a sector of the travel market that's rapidly expanding. The travel experts at Expedia have analysed thousands of customer reviews to put together a report that details the top 10 sustainable places to stay around the world.

Singapore features twice in the list and Texas represents the United States with one of the oldest sustainable resorts on offer. The Listel Hotel in Vancouver fuses green-living with art and there's a funky, tech-focused abode in Paris that's geared towards eco-minded digital nomads. Here's the entire list in reverse order.

10. Sherwood Queenstown – Queenstown, New Zealand

The Sherwood Queenstown overlooks Lake Wakatipu and bills itself as a community hotel. With an ethos that “everything we do is about reflecting a sense of place, a connection to nature and a moment in time”. The hotel has one of the largest private solar energy installs in the country, and generates enough electricity to power the entire resort and return surplus to the local grid. Much of the food on offer comes from the hotel’s orchards and gardens with other items being sourced locally. Guests can enjoy yoga, meditation, bike trails and hiking or take to the slopes for winter sports.

9. Hotel Verde – Cape Town, South Africa

The first hotel in South Africa to offer 100 per cent carbon-neutral accommodation, the colourful Hotel Verde has a multitude of eco-awards under its belt and boasts three wind turbines, greywater recycling that saves around 6,000 litres per day and rooftop solar panels. There’s an eco-pool and outdoor gym for guests to enjoy and responsibly sourced, seasonal dishes are served in Nuovo Restaurant. Restoration projects in the surrounding wetlands undertaken by the hotel now support vegetation and a healthy population of Cape honeybees that guests can learn more about. Just 15 minutes from the airport, it’s best for travellers that want green accommodation without cutting corners on luxury.

8. The Listel Hotel Vancouver – British Colombia, Canada

This boutique hotel in Vancouver’s West End is perfect for sustainably-minded art-lovers. Check into an Artist Series Suite inspired by the works of various artists and movements or try a Museum room, designed in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology and paying tribute to all things BC. Everywhere you look, there’s installations or works of art, including at the restaurant Forage, which dishes up sustainable eats. With a 100 per cent zero-waste policy, a state-of-the-art heat capture room and responsible food practices, culture doesn’t come at the expense of the environment in Vancouver’s art-centric hotel.

7. The Green House – Bournemouth, UK

Serious about luxury and passionate about sustainability is how The Green House describes itself. The beautifully-restored Victorian mansion is one of the world’s best eco-hotels, getting its green credentials from its earth-friendly cleaning efforts and conservation labours, which include rooftop beehives and bird and bat boxes. Find giant palm trees, towering birches and rolling green gardens paired with a house that’s filled with restored furniture, including original Victorian bathtubs and reclaimed teak flooring. It offers a little haven of relaxation in the English countryside, but just a short distance from the coast. The hotel car also runs on bio-fuel that's harvested from the kitchen’s old cooking oil.

6. Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

If you want eco-bragging rights, the five-star Parkroyal on Pickering is hard to beat given that it saves an impressive 32.5 Olympic-size swimming pools' worth of water every year. Located next to Chinatown, this place brings a whole new sense of green living to urban Singapore. It’s got light, motion and rain sensors to regulate the use or resources and is home to the city’s first zero-energy sky gardens. The gorgeous rooms and suites are flush with natural light and take their design inspiration from nature.

5. Pakasai Resort – Krabi, Thailand

The Pakasai Resort is nestled beside Ao Nang, Krabi’s most popular beach, making it the perfect Thailand base. This four-star, low-carbon resort has energy-efficient lighting, a rainwater capture programme, eco-friendly cleaning methods and lots of green-led guest activities. Each of the chalets are dotted around tropical gardens, rising up a hillside so that every room comes with stunning views of the lush gardens and the rooftop infinity pool makes for epic sunset viewing.

4. Habitat Suites – Texas, USA

The trendsetting Habitat Suites in Austin is one of the longest-operating on Expedia's sustainable hot list, having been operating sustainably since 1985. Each of the private rooms in the all-suite hotel include full-sized kitchens, locally roasted coffee, organic toiletries and 100 per cent cotton mattresses. A courtyard swimming pool, yoga classes and massage therapies are offered and vegetarian or vegan breakfasts come included in the rates. It’s all about alternative energy at this retreat, with its solar panels, electric car charging and solar thermal units.

3. Siloso Beach Resort – Sentosa, Singapore

The second Singapore resort in the top 10 list is Siloso Beach Resort on Sentosa Island, a unique luxury beach experience flanked by the South China Sea. It boasts 200 original trees and 450 more planted on-site, the longest spring water landscape pool in the country and more than 70 per cent of it is open-air, meaning guests have the chance to really connect with nature. Activities on offer include nature walks, green cycling tours and eco-Segway adventures. Locally-sourced food, limited use of single plastics and reduced energy consumption secured this place a spot on the top 10 eco-stays list.

2. Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG – Paris, France

Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG in Paris offers green accomodation geared towards digital nomads. Courtesy Expedia

Geared towards digital nomads, the Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG is just five minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport and gives travellers sleek Scandinavian-inspired design and tech-enabled rooms. It comes with impressively low energy consumption rates thanks to green exterior cladding, solar panels and air-handling units. There’s also an efficient rainwater collection system in place, furniture that’s made out of recycled or sustainable materials, like rugs crafted out of reclaimed fishing nets, and everything is controllable at the touch of an iPad.

1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Mexico is Expedia's number one sustainble resort according to its customers. Courtesy Expedia

Expedia travellers picked the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Mexico’s pretty Playa del Carmen as the eco-friendliest stay on the planet. Nestled in lush jungle, this hideaway offers eco-activities, cultural programmes and nature-immersed experiences – and everything comes on an all-inclusive basis. That means unlimited swims through mangrove forests, endless stargazing sessions with no light pollution, snorkelling among coral reefs, on-site gardening and tree-planting fun. There’s also a huge water park for children to enjoy and the resort has the most eco-efficient rooms in the Yucatan Peninsula's Riviera. Eco-nature tours, cruelty-free animal interactions and beach meditation on the shores of the Caribbean Sea await.

Source: The National, Lifestyle, Dubai, 22 April 2019

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