June, 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day, and with the growing concern around rising climate change impacts, eco-friendly practices are widespread across industries. In recent years, travel has been rapidly moving towards sustainability from vegan food, conserving resources and water, and eco-friendly materials for construction and interiors. This has given rise to ecotourism right from the mode of transport to the place you’ll be staying, the food you eat, single-use plastics, local seasonal produce and more.
Sustainable travel is a compelling way of shifting perspectives, from nature-positive day trips to home to paradise-island eco-lodges. This World Environment Day, if one of your pledges is to start travelling mindfully, take a look at some of the most eco-friendly resorts in the world to help you plan greener getaways.
Sher Bagh, Ranthambore
A Relais & Châteaux member, Sher Bagh situated in Ranthambore is a luxurious and eco-friendly resort. Owned by the Suján family who has played an active role in the conservation effort at Ranthambhore since 1974, and continue to do so. Sher Bagh is a pioneering camp of 10 luxurious tents, and 2 exceptional tented suites. With a focus on nature and wildlife, indulge in practices that connect you to earth like campfires under starlit skies, and interactions with naturalists who share the facts of the forest. It’s a place where comfort, style and conservation meet. SUJÁN Sher Bagh transports you to the glamorous 1920s, evoking the romance of living under canvas whilst on safari Desa Potato Head, Bali
Located in Bali's famous district, Seminyak Desa Potato Head, stay by the ocean where music, art, food and wellness play together at Desa Potato Head. However, what makes it one of the most seco-friendly resorts is the waste lad: a research and development design workshop pulses with creative energy.
This is a space to help the resort meet its zero-waste operation and use surplus materials from daily operations alongside waste collected from Bali to fashion and fabricate design objects and decor. Additionally, its 'Makes a change world', nonprofit focuses on inspirational storytelling around global changemakers led by three environmental warrior siblings and Sungai Watch, a river pollution activism project that is cleaning Bali’s rivers to restore natural ecosystems.
Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands
Known to be one of the most luxurious eco-friendly, this Relais & Châteaux in the Galapagos Islands is a new step in the evolution of luxury ecotourism. It is the most advanced green lodge built in the world and operates with alternative energy resources. The property has engaged in a reforesting program with native and endemic species to set favourable conditions for the wild tortoises and birds to return.
But what is more impressive is that not a single native or endemic tree has been cut down in the construction phase, and they have already successfully replanted more than 10,000 endemic trees. The wild tortoises have already returned in large and increasing numbers; birds are also now nesting and feeding on the seeds of the new trees again. This reforestation program will vastly offset any carbon emissions we might have. At Pikaia Lodge everything is connected... planting trees created habitats for animal species to thrive, and guests can see them.
Spice Village, Thekkady
A reimagined tribal village set in a spice garden in Thekkady in Kerela, it is modelled on the dwellings of the native Mannan tribe with elephant grass thatched cottages. The eco-friendly resort is a lovely hilly destination to escape the summer heat, Periyar Forest with its rolling hills, elephant herds, walking trails, ziplining and bamboo rafting is a bounty of exquisite excursions.
Adding a natural touch is the delight of a plantation with orchards, birds to spot, and the consciously created heritage and popular cuisines to be devoured. The CGH property, Spice Village is a role model for sustainable hotels - over 70% of their electricity consumption comes from renewables, the Restaurant only sources ingredients from a 50-mile radius or inhouse gardens, and local architecture elements of elephant grass thatched roofs are annually redone and maintained by the women of the local Mana tribe upon who the entire resort is modelled. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Spice Village is modelled on the dwellings of the native Manan tribe of this region and exudes the raw spirit of unblemished nature. It is a Lofty Retreat Eco Living Close To The Wild.
Spice Village adapts to many self-sustaining systems. The roof of our cottages is thatched using elephant grass, in a unique way of the Mannan tribes of Periyar. The resort and the Periyar area in general, offer an amazing diversity of flora, and the Periyar Tiger Reserve boasts a variety of forests, marshes and aquatic habitats spread over 925 Km. Together they constitute the abode of a great variety of wildlife that include 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 27 species of amphibians, 45 species of reptiles and 38 species of fish.
Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sri Lanka Zip off to Colombo and enjoy a picturesque 3-hour drive to reach this rewilded wetland in Sigiriya. Jetwing Vil Uyana is an experience in itself, the property villas are themed to suit the various habitats found in the wetland. There's the open-living room concept forest-dwelling, as well as garden, marsh, water, and paddy dwellings.
Designed with eco-friendly, sustainable modern design, Jetwing Vil Uyana has five main ecological zones from forests to marshes. It is a retreat perfect for tranquillity seekers or for those who wish to be close to the island’s rich array of flora and fauna. The challenge of introducing a wetland system on reclaimed agricultural lands provides the unique backdrop for this exciting property. A strong ‘back to nature’ theme pervades your every moment at Jetwing Vil Uyana and the uniqueness of the experience is unforgettable. Listed as the top 15 eco-lodges in the world, the conservation initiatives of the man-made water bodies that have revived and enhanced the ecosystem in the region to the night trails in the Loris conservation park, a Vil Uyana experience earns a well-deserved place in the must-do list for all wilderness and nature lovers.
The Kumaon, Uttarakhand
When it comes to sustainability in the hills, The Kumaon has championed the art with its sustainable architecture and ethos. An experience of discovering and preserving nature, traditions and local cuisine, the property is surrounded by spectacular undulating hills and the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
The spaces have a constant reference to the outdoors, while a minimalist palette is retained to emphasize the picturesque backdrop. Low-intensity development at The Kumaon encourages privacy and quietude and lets one discover their own definitions of the stunning landscape. With efforts to restore the balance over the years, The Kumaon team has also integrated a few indigenous species of trees into the landscape including cedar, oak, rhododendron, and also encourages the cultivation of local pulses, fruits and more in the area.
Clayoquote Wilderness Resort, Canada
If you are looking for an international sustainable escape, Clayoquote Wilderness Resort, Canada has a unique experience. Set among magnificent conifer forests, the lodge offers guests an unforgettable experience of the landscape and its wildlife. Adventure-filled days are and its wildlife. Adventure-filled days are bolstered by local produce-driven, sustainable dining, fine wines and the chance to unwind in generously appointed guest quarters. Twenty-five canvas tents designed with contemporary interiors complement local artisan-designed pieces to offer a decadent retreat. The resort focuses on its wild salmon fishing programme. This controversial choice is a testament to their commitment to biodiversity conservation. Travellers go to British Columbia to fish for wild salmon, but instead of doing that, they can help set up spawning grounds in nearby river inlets to help foster breeding areas for the salmon. Here, guests can learn how salmon breed alongside experts and help create habitats for them (which is one of the reasons why they are disappearing).
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge has pledged to scale down its salmon fishing program in an effort to reduce its environmental impact and raise awareness about the diminishing wild salmon populations in Clayoquot Sound.