The best eco-friendly hotel does far more than recycle paper, serve organic eggs and suggest you re-use your towels: it's wholly commited to conserving, protecting and enjoying the environment, has an ethical approach, strives to minimise its footprint, and does this all while enhancing the guest experience.
Albergo Diffuso is more than a hotel, it’s whole new accommodation concept built around restoration and sustainability. Spread around the buildings of what was an abandoned village high in the Italian Apennines, the project hasn’t just created a an utterly unique place to stay, it’s reinvigorated an entire mountain village that would otherwise have been lost to history. Decorated with craftwork made by villagers and radiating rustic simplicity, but with modern luxury seamlessly incorporated, there’s just nowhere else like it.
'Using local and reused materials, the investment into the
community (with education and training of the local population) and care
of the local environment makes this an exemplar that looks at
sustainability in its wider context'
Eco-architect Lily Jencks
'This hotel created the first marine park in Cambodia – and it's a country I'm longing to visit'
Livia Firth, Eco Age
'More than just a hotel project: they conserve their whole 4,000-acre estate'
Katy McCann, Suite DNA
'The world's first carbon neutral hotel? That's a pretty incredible achievement – talk about raising the bar high. Amazing'
Mary Garvin, Mr & Mrs Smith head of curation
Does this hotel strive in all ways for low environmental impact without sacrificing on comfort and quality? Does it conserve water, use renewable energy sources, eco-friendly products and building materials from sustainable sources?
Buildings that are not just carbon-neutral or low-impact but which lead the way architecturally; pioneering use of new technology or a showcase for traditional methods; trailblazers in the eco-hotel sphere.
Is the hotel recognised by a respected body or authority? It may not have LEED or STEP certification, but the hotel that wins the Eco Award should have a demonstrable committment to environmental goals, such as conforming to ISO 14002 and raising the bar for same-destination properties.
Guests don't always need to know how their waste water is used, or what kind of lightbulbs the hotel has chosen. An eco-friendly hotel will inform, share, show and guide where necessary, and there should be transparency – but nobody wants a lecture.
Does this hotel employ local staff and support local projects? Eco-friendy may be the catch-all term, but ethical awareness, conservation of all kinds and respect for the larger regional community count.
Watching turtles hatch, or rare sharks swim over a protected house reef; marvelling at a pristine landscape sound in the knowledge that you are not also polluting it; meeting people who have benefited from community projects – a hotel that can make these moments happen is to be celebrated.