The World’s Best Eco Resorts

SLIDESHOW: Some of the best eco resorts as compiled by Lightfoot Travel and Urbanologie.

Ahead of the opening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s own eco resort on a private island in Belize, 11 of the world’s ultimate eco-chic retreats courtesy of Lightfoot Travel and Urbanologie.

Svart Powerhouse Hotel, Norway
Floating at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier (in northern Norway), the Svart Powerhouse Hotel (named after the adjoining Svartisen glacier) is the first of its kind above the Arctic Circle. The hotel’s main goal is to preserve the pristine natural environment of its northern Norway location. It does so with a sustainable design and a minimal environmental footprint. Using solar panels and strategic positioning, the building harvests its own energy, allowing it to operate on about 85 percent less energy than standard hotels, while private terraces cast a shadow, eliminating the need for artificial cooling. The circular structure is built on wooden stilts in order to reduce disruption to the landscape. Inspired by local fishing heritage, the design pays tribute to vernacular architecture while also affording guests with 360-degree views of Holandsfjorden Fjord, the Northern Lights and the Alpine landscape. Opening in 2021.

The Brando, French Polynesia
The Brando Resort combines luxury and environmental sustainability to create one of the finest eco-friendly resorts in the world. Located on the Tetiaroa atoll, also known as Marlon Brando’s private island, this resort is meant to carry out his vision and his legacy. The resort is close to reaching its goal of being carbon neutral and self-sustainable. It is 100 percent energy independent, supports a number of research and conservation initiatives, and also uses a pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system to reduce energy demands. It relies entirely on renewable energy sources, including solar power and coconut oil. The all-inclusive resort features 35 private villas (built using local materials) located along the coast of Motu Onetahi, set back from the beach for maximum privacy. Each one has been carefully designed with comfortable furnishings and deluxe amenities, including private pools.

Song Saa, Cambodia
Song Saa Private Island lies in the Koh Rong Archipelago, in the Gulf of Thailand, and is a gem of a Cambodian hideaway. It has an untouched, natural feel, with tropical reefs, deserted stretches of beach and lush rainforest all on the doorstep, offering guests a true escapist experience. It spans two islands, connected by a footbridge over a protected marine reserve, and is as sustainable as possible, yet thoroughly luxurious. The guest accommodation is all on one island and there’s a choice of Overwater, Jungle or Ocean View Villas, all of which have a private pool with amazing views. There’s also a team of marine biologists on the staff, recycling and waste initiatives in place, and the hotel is involved in sustainability projects in nearby villages and developing an eco-tourism city in Siem Reap that will include a Song Saa resort.

Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Bucking the regional trend toward water villas, Soneva Fushi is the quintessential island paradise. Rustic in design, Soneva Fushi uses natural wood and stone elements. The luxury villas are like elaborate tree houses tucked within flora and fauna. This renowned private island is the perfect place to escape the modern world, and to embrace rich natural attractions, such as the incredible marine life, lush tropical jungle and golden sands. When staying at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, choose from one of three eco-programmes focusing on land, sea or the local community, with responsibility and sustainability the core of the resort’s philosophy. It has one of the largest solar-power plants in the Maldives, and offers food grown and sourced locally where possible. There’s even a purpose-built centre for waste management and recycling, as well as a marine-conservation programme.

North Island, Seychelles
Described as the ultimate in ‘Robinson Crusoe’ living (although Crusoe didn’t get to arrive by helicopter), this private island combines the concept of barefoot luxury with a light ecological footprint. The resort received a National Geographic World Legacy Award for preserving and restoring natural habitat in the Conserving the Natural World category, following several successful projects that include the reintroduction of native species into the island’s eco system after many years of absence. With just 11 villas (built using natural materials that were sourced from the surrounding area) located a stone’s throw from the untouched beach, this destination is a true hideaway and the ultimate in tropical island luxury.

Feynan Eco Lodge, Jordan
Within the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the largest reserve in Jordan, Feynan Ecolodge is a remote and charming environmentally sustainable retreat. It has been hailed as one of the top 50 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure magazine. By night, Feynan is lit by candlelight, creating a serene and enchanting ambience. The menu at Feynan features an array of delightful vegetarian dishes inspired by traditional Arab cuisine and created using fresh local produce. There are plenty of adventures to be had. Hike through the desert, visit Bedouin encampments, explore local archaeological sites and descend into ancient copper mines, or simply unwind on the rooftop terrace under starry skies. Other activities include mountain biking, stargazing and cooking classes.

Grootbos, Cape Town
Grootbos Forest Lodge is situated just 160km from Cape Town. The 16 freestanding one-bedroom suites are set in tranquil surroundings, connected by winding pathways through the ancient Milkwood Forest. Decorated in a modern contemporary style, using earthy tones, these suites comprise a lounge with a fireplace, tea- and coffee-making facilities and mini bars. A comprehensive programme of fun learning activities for children offers adventures on the beach and at rock pools, treasure hunts and horseback rides, all hosted by experienced guides. Other eco-friendly activities include nature drives and hikes to explore the plants and archaeological caves, birding, whale watching and even spotting the rare African Penguin.

Hapuku Lodge and Tree House, New Zealand
Hapuku Lodge offers luxury hotel-style accommodation in Kaikoura on South Island. With six exquisite guest rooms, a standalone spacious apartment and five luxury treehouses, you cannot help but fall in love with the deep, calming silence of peaceful nights spent here. Hapuku’s tree houses are perched 40ft above ground, with windows in almost all directions, in the canopy of a splendid Manuka grove. All rooms and suites are light-filled spaces inspired by nature, with unobstructed views of Kaikoura’s mountains, fertile pastures, native bush and the Pacific Ocean. Hapuku Lodge is situated in one of the most spectacular settings in New Zealand. It serves as the perfect base camp from which to undertake a marine safari. Whale watching, giant albatross encounters, playful dolphin and sea swimming, sea kayaking and deep-sea fishing are possible all year round.

Topas Ecolodge, Sapa, Vietnam
Tucked beneath the misty mountains of Sapa Valley in northern Vietnam, Topas Ecolodge sits above two majestic cone-formed hills. Based on sustainable principles, the lodge aims to have a minimum impact on the surrounding environment, employs local people, and uses local products in order to bring economic benefits to the community. The sophisticated chalet-style bungalows are dotted near the peak of the two hills, each with a balcony for a private head-in-the-clouds encounter and to make the most of the unique location. Built with local white granite, the Tay stilt design and lacquered wood panels provide a truly authentic Vietnamese village atmosphere, so guests feel fully immersed in local life. An on-site restaurant serves up local fare, and there’s a new heated infinity pool where guests can unwind.

Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
Caiman Ecological Refuge is perhaps the most luxurious lodge in the Pantanal. Specifically located in the south, around three hours’ drive from Campo Grande airport, it consists of two standalone lodges within the grounds of a huge 53,000-hectare cattle ranch. Cordilheira and Baiazinha function separately with their own facilities around 15 miles apart, offering five double suites and six rooms, respectively. Each has a swimming pool, as well as their own guides and vehicles for excursions. Baiazinha is open all year, however, Cordilheira can be booked as a private villa outside of June to September. Wildlife viewing opportunities are impressive with a large lagoon, savannah and forest to explore on horseback, on foot, by canoe or 4x4. With the set-up of various conservation projects in their grounds, guests are able to take a guided jaguar-tracking safari once per stay.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Surrounded by dazzling white sand, crystal-clear waters and pristine coral reefs, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is an enchanting tropical paradise. Offering warm Fijian hospitality, unrivalled personalised service and an emphasis on wellbeing, this eco resort will appeal to discerning couples, families and scuba-diving enthusiasts seeking an intimate and unforgettable hideaway. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort provides 25 spacious and elegant thatched bures designed with privacy and comfort in mind. It comes with a private Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. Dining at the resort is a memorable experience. Sample Fijian, South Pacific and Asian-inspired cuisine served in the restaurant or al fresco by the pool; experience a traditional Fijian Lovo feast; indulge in a picnic complete with Champagne, on a deserted island; or enjoy an intimate dinner for two on the pier. There is a wealth of experiences on offer to suit all interests. Go sailing or kayaking; explore coral reefs from a glass-bottom boat; go snorkelling; visit a village; go hiking through the jungle; or take a yoga class.

Urbanologie is a VIP lifestyle and travel app with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content of the new hip hangouts, pop-ups, recommended events and the most-anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings. Use code ‘billionaire’ for FREE membership. www.urbanologie.com

Lightfoot Travel is a luxury tour operator specialising in tailor-made holidays, honeymoons, short breaks, boutique hotels & private villas around the world.

Recommended For You

Related Articles

sustainable

North Island, Seychelles

North Island, Seychelles

View Less
sustainable

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

View Less
sustainable

Song Saa, Cambodia

Song Saa, Cambodia

View Less
sustainable

The Brando, French Polynesia

The Brando, French Polynesia

View Less
sustainable

Svart Powerhouse Hotel, Norway

Svart Powerhouse Hotel, Norway

View Less
luxury resort

Caiman Lodge

Caiman Lodge

View Less
luxury resort

Feynan Lodge

Feynan Lodge

View Less
luxury resort

Grootbos Forest Lodge

Grootbos Forest Lodge

View Less
luxury resort

Grootbos Forest Lodge

Grootbos Forest Lodge

View Less
luxury resort

Hakupu Lodge Tree House

Hakupu Lodge Tree House

View Less
luxury resort

Hakupu Lodge Tree House

Hakupu Lodge Tree House

View Less
luxury resort

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

View Less
luxury resort

Topas Ecolodge

Topas Ecolodge

View Less