Green/Eco: Indagare Bests: Eco Lodges
Not too long ago, eco lodges used to be located in ultra-remote jungle settings, requiring a certain amount of intrepidness from their guests. Much as the concept of green cuisine has evolved in recent years, becoming increasingly hip, so have green hotels. The growth of green projects is enjoying a veritable explosion thanks to more sophisticated technologies and more innovative hoteliers and development companies. Not all the hotels, lodges and resorts in this new wave are created equal, however, and for the thoughtful traveler finding and supporting a place that’s actually as green as it claims, can be a headache.
Generally, some good questions to ask to ascertain if a property is eco-sensitive is whether the property belongs to one of the major, acknowledged certification programs; what it does to reduce carbon and energy use; if and how water is conserved; and whether it composts. “It’s also important to know how the hotel contributes to the local community,” says Samantha Denny, of Jackson Hole’s new Terra hotel, a LEED-certified property that has green DNA.
For this week’s Indagare Bests, we have selected five of our favorite eco-conscious hotels, from a diver’s paradise island in Indonesia to a special new tented camp in Tanzania. Pioneering, exemplary and backed by passionate conservationists, these properties showcase that you don’t have to make do with a hammock to stay in an environmentally sensitive setting. Our picks:
- Selous Project, Tanzania
- Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia
- Shompole, Kenya
- Estancia Rincon , Argentina
- Terra, Jackson Hole
In Tanzania, the new Selous Project may be the ultimate experience for modern Indiana Jones explorers and those who want to do conservation patrols on holiday. In Kenya, home to numerous successful eco lodges, we love Shompole, a small property with just eight rooms beautifully designed so that indoor and outdoor merge beneath pale thatch roofing. Filmmaker and activist Céline Cousteau raves about Misool Eco Resort, in a far-flung island setting in Indonesia, whose owners worked tirelessly to positively impact the local communities. Another inspiring project is Estancia Rincon in Argentina, which is owned by the founder of North Face and his wife, a former CEO of Patagonia. Closer to home but with as deep a belief in eco tourism is Terra, Jackson Hole’s newest boutique property, which has a green philosophy that extends to the tiniest details, including room amenities and design touches. Hopefully, these special properties will fuel a movement that takes us to a tipping point when what define as green now will become the norm. Happy Earth Day!
Read a Q&A with Denny about eco-friendly hotels.
Read about other eco retreats on Indagare, including Chaa Creek, in Belize; Campi y Kanzi and Il Ngwesi Lodge, in Kenya; Lapa Rios, in Costa Rica; Tiamo Resorts, in the Bahamas; Phinda Game Reserve, in South Africa; Fregate Island, in the Seychelle; Kangaroo Island and Longitude 131 Voyages, in Australia; Hotelito Desconocido, in Mexico; Inkaterra Reserve, in the Amazon; Danzante Eco Lodge, in Baha; Siwa, in Egypt; Soneva Fushi, in the Maldives; and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort.
Read an interview with eco-architect Hitesh Mehta.
Read about green cuisine served in some of our favorite restaurants around the world.
Read a Q&A with environmental activist and filmmaker Celine Cousteau.
For advice on traveling to any of these special properties or to learn about special offers and rates for our members, contact our booking department by sending an inquiry.— Simone Girner 04/15/2009