Being aware of the impact we have on our beautiful planet, especially when travelling, is becoming more important than ever. The environmental concerns the earth is facing are staggering and between global warming, pollution, natural resource depletion and loss of biodiversity, some of the most beautiful places we can visit on earth are in danger.
Because of this on-going threat, more and more resorts around the world are becoming environmentally-conscious and have taken huge leaps and bounds in creating sustainable practices to be friendlier to Mother Earth. With the creation of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and EarthCheck certification paired with awareness growing around alternative energy sources, reclaimed water and organic products, we are seeing some amazing innovative resorts working to ensure the beauty of our planet is around for years to come.
Here are 3 eco-friendly destination spa resorts that take being environmentally-sustainable to the next level.
#1) The Racha, Thailand
Copyright The Racha
From the architecture and villa features to the water and land use initiatives, The Racha puts the environment first in everything they do. This award-winning luxury resort ensures it’s pristine island allows guests to “get-away-from-it-all” without taking away from the environment.
The on-site Anumba Spa pampers with a host of mind and body relaxation treatments in an amazing tropical setting. They use the highest-grade essential oils and organic products to ensure only the best quality, locally sourced products are used whenever possible.
Innovatively designed gutter drains and underground sump tanks allow rainwater run-off to be pumped back to the center of the island, which allows it to flow freely into the ground, replenishing the earth’s water bank. Rainwater is also collected, recycled and treated for use throughout the resort.
Villas were constructed around the native coconut trees and for those that were cut, two were planted to replace it. Special heat exchanges are used to provide an ample supply of zero-energy hot water for bathrooms from the air conditioning system. There are also no fabric curtains in the villas to reduce laundry services.
The lush greenery of the resort grounds provide a stable ecosystem for many rare animal inhabitants such as many species of butterflies and the Green Tea Frog. The Racha also has their own Hydroponic Farm that provides guests the freshest, pesticide-free produce. Their half acre Solar-Diesel Hybrid Station produces up to 50% of the resorts daily electricity requirements and their Bio-Fuel station converts food waste into Bio-Gas used for cooking in the Staff Canteen.
In addition, The Racha utilizes a floating pontoon instead of a concrete pier, to avoid extensive damage to the marine ecology of the island. In combination with the Racha Dive Center, they have supported The Reef Ball Foundation – a non-profit charity that protects and restores the world’s ocean eco-systems.
As a guest, you can also get involved by joining the resort staff for a Daily Beach Clean at 9am (weather permitting) or take a self-guided “back-of-grounds” tour where you can explore the Hydroponic Farm, Drinking Water Bottling plant, and various stations.
For more information, visit the Racha’s website here.
#2) Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji
Copyright Jean-Michel Cousteau Resorts Fiji
This five-star eco resort, bearing the name of the world-famous explorer showcases his love for preserving and protecting the ocean’s waters. The World Travel Awards awarded the resort with Australasia’s Leading Green Hotel award 3 consecutive years in a row as it aims to be a leader in sustainable tourism.
The on-site spa uses chemical-free products made from natural, locally sourced ingredients like the “Nui Health Fiji” pure virgin coconut oil, harvested by the people of Wailevu Village just a few kilometers across the bay from the resort.
The resort’s luxury bures (bungalows) feature naturally harvested materials and high roofs to allow for maximum air circulation to eliminate the need for air conditioning. They also have an organic onsite garden to provide guests with a delicious range of fruits and vegetables.
In 2013, the resort founded a coral farm in a bid to restore the reef. This program helps to grow broken coral fragments into larger, healthier groups and the resident marine biologist is proud to host an array of educational activities around the resort for guests to learn more. The resort also features Fiji’s first ever water reclamation plant which utilizes treated wastewater from the resort that is then pumped to nearby ponds and wetlands.
Jean-Michel Cousteau and his team believe the modern world can learn a lot from the Fijian people who have flourished in their natural environment for centuries and through the resorts sustainability programs and education, hope to inspire their guests to continue these preservation efforts at home.
For more information, please visit the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji site here.
#3 Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Copyright Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
This stunning Relais & Châteaux all-inclusive eco-safari resort destination located near Tofino on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is accessible only by seaplane, helicopter or boat. The resort offers guests a truly remote, refined and remarkable wilderness retreat amidst one of the last remaining ancient temperate rainforests in the world.
Having a sustainable development was a top priority for the resort in addition to allowing their guests to have an authentic wilderness experience while also protecting the delicate surrounding ecosystem. The resort’s Environmental Legacy Program focuses on protecting the salmon, the restoration and creation of the wildlife habitat and guest education and activities. Launched in 2018, the Coastal Ambassador Program allows guests to get involved by travelling to remote islands within Clayoquot Sound to remove marine debris to help preserve these special areas for breeding and nesting of the variety of species in the area.
In 2001, the resort also embarked on a 20-year plan in consultation with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and First Nation of Ahousaht, to repair historic environmental damage and habitat depletion on and around resort property to support the juvenile salmon project and overall habitat restoration.
There is also resort-wide green initiatives to reduce energy demand, ban single-use plastics and styrofoam, recycling of all non-organic materials and partnering with local artisans, retailers and food producers to source locally made foods, gifts and spa products.
The spa’s cedar hot tubs, bath tubs and saunas are also built from forged cedar, another way they use naturally available resources and introduce elements of the surrounding nature to their spa. You can also enjoy your spa treatments from the waterfront tent, so you can take in the sights, sounds and smells of the natural and diverse environment around the resort.
Two small mill operations on site utilize naturally fallen trees for furniture, firewood and boardwalks and a Biovator composter manages 100% of the resort’s organic waste, designed to eliminate leaching and ground contamination.
They also have a vegetable herb/garden and greenhouse on property that provides organic greens, vegetables, herbs and garnishes.
The resort even committed to having an eco-village created for the resort’s staff that was built with local materials. It provides a home for the people who work on premises, eliminating the need for a daily commute. They prioritized the recruitment of members of the indigenous native population and their craftwork is showcased in the property’s shops.
For more information on the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, you can visit their site here.
-Liz, WSR Editor
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