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Eco Resorts Combine Nature and Luxury

Posted on July 06 2019

Right now, it is winter in Australia. Amidst the rain, wind and storms, we are fantasising about a sunny paradise.

Ecotourism Australia defines ecotourism as, “ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation” and it is on the rise.

Last year Booking.com released a report that showed 87% of travellers wanted to explore the world sustainably. The top reasons for this included wanting to reduce environmental damage, have a locally relevant experience and explore natural wonders, and the positive impact that it has on the locals.

Generally, hotels are not considered eco-friendly, however a number of luxury resorts are implementing sustainable practices. From cooking only locally sourced food, to using solar power, recycling waste water, and using natural ventilation where possible, these eco-lodges allow you to enjoy natural wonders without causing unnecessary harm to the environment.    

Here are the 5-star resorts we are dreaming about visiting.

Source: Soneva FushiSoneva Fushi, Maldives

This resort blends luxury with nature, and it was the first ‘castaway’ resort to be built in the Maldives. The beachfront villas are located amongst the greenery of the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This means you have crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and wild dolphins on your door step.

The villas are built out of sustainable construction materials and designed to look like treehouses in keeping with the jungle aesthetic.

Soneva’s ethos is to slow people down and put them back in touch with nature. Therefore, their villas feature outdoor bathrooms, so you can relax and bathe under the stars. Their award-winning restaurants are made with local ingredients, including herbs and vegetables from their own organic gardens. They even have their own observatories that you can visit with an in-house astronomer.

There are a number of experiences you can enjoy during your stay, such as snorkelling through the spectacular reefs, a private cinema experience under the stars, creative writing classes, water sports, diving and a relaxing spa.  

The resort is 100% carbon neutral, they recycle 90% of their waste and they produce their own drinking water.

Source: Turtle Island

Turtle Island, Fiji

This was one of the world’s first “green” resorts, with 85% of its electricity being generated by solar power. They grow their own food and share it with the local community. They also source sustainable materials to build their own furniture.

They have even reforested parts of the island that were overgrazed by goats, by planting more than half a million trees. Their purpose is to encourage biodiversity, re-establish indigenous plantations, add to the island’s natural beauty, create windbreaks and prevent soil erosion.

Featuring 12 private beaches and housing only 14 couples at a time, this resort offers a coveted and unique experience. And it is not called Turtle Island for nothing; sea turtles make their nests on the shores of the island. The resort has implemented a conservation program to protect sea turtles from being hunted and to strengthen their dwindling population.

The resort embodies the Fijian lifestyle, so they have resisted any temptation for development, instead choosing to preserve the natural state of the island. You can partake in a number of outdoor activities while staying here such as snorkelling, diving, water sports and horseback riding.

Source: Mumbo Island

Mumbo Island, Malawi

If you are really looking to become one with nature, visit Mumbo Island. it is only one kilometre in diameter and has never been populated. This means it remains in its pristine, natural state overlooking the expansive waters of Lake Malawi National Park. Not only that, but it is a completely off-the-grid, green camp.

It only accommodates a maximum of fourteen guests at one time, so you can enjoy a serene experience. The Mumbo Island Camp features tastefully furnished tents with hammocks and shaded decks. All of the tents are built out of timber, thatch and canvas. They are perched on high rocks overlooking the water and blend in with the tropical foliage, to give off a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ vibe.  

Recharge in rustic luxury with no electricity, phone service or Wi-Fi. This forces you to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with yourself, the environment and other guests. There is also no running water – your hot shower is brought to your bungalow by bucket.

Source: Song Saa Private Island

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Enjoy a pristine private beach, a preserved coral reef, spacious wooden villas and spa facilities on this private island. From snorkelling, sea kayaking and diving, to exploring the surrounding islands, yoga and meditation, it is a great place to unwind and detox from the stresses of everyday life.

The traditional Cambodian spa is made up of many sanctuaries dotted around the island. They have no walls and overlook the ocean, offering treatments that encourage tranquillity, revitalisation, nourishment and rejuvenation.

This resort excels at providing visitors with a luxury escape, while also utilising sustainable practices. The majority of their construction materials are recycled or locally sourced, including timber from shipwrecks and local sandstone. Their furniture is built out of driftwood found on local beaches. It also features its own irrigation system which means waste water is recycled where possible and no waste ends up in the ocean. Organic waste is composted and used as a natural fertiliser.

The ingredients used in their meals are all locally and sustainably sourced. Most of their herbs and vegetables are grown in the island’s garden.

In order to preserve the marine environment, Song Saa set up Cambodia’s only marine park. This helps local fisheries, develop coral nurseries and conserve sea turtles, seagrass meadows and mangroves.

Source: North Island

North Island, Seychelles

Take a tour of this island and you might meet Aldabra Giant Tortoises, spot tiny native birds, happen across a turtle nest or visit the nursery and plant a tree.

The villas overlook the stunning beach and are built out of local materials to give them the feel of ‘barefoot luxury.’ During you stay you can embark on a wellness retreat, with a complimentary spa treatment welcoming you to the resort. Or experience the outdoors by snorkelling, diving, kayaking, island excursions and going on guided walks. 

This resort is also entirely plastic-free, plus they have a stringent waste-management program which includes recycling and grey-water systems. volunteers monitor the beach daily to collect any debris that comes close to the beach and protect nesting turtles. Over the past two decades they have safeguarded nesting Hawksbills and Green Turtles, increasing these endangered species’ populations. 

 

Image credits: Soneva Fushi, Turtle Island, Mumbo Island, Song Saa Private Island, North Island.  

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