The Best Eco-Resorts on the Planet

If you’re planning your next big adventure for 2020, here is our pick of our favourite eco-resorts, hotels and lodges on the planet from Europe to Africa. 

Travelling isn’t always the most environmentally-friendly activity due to its elevated carbon emissions – especially when flying – but there are different ways to minimise your overall impact on the planet when going on an adventure. From reducing your single-use plastic consumption by bringing along containers, to taking the train or bus when possible to offset your carbon emissions and, when you arrive at your destination, staying at a hotel that considers its impact on the planet.

The following hotels, eco-resorts and lodges all value both their guests and the planet – we guarantee you’ll want to visit them all!


QO Amsterdam

This Amsterdam-based hotel has been designed to significantly reduce its environmental impact. The façade of the building is made up of responsive thermal panels that react to the weather to control the temperature inside. Most materials used in construction are recycled, including one third of the concrete which was recovered from an old building. Carpets are made from 100% recycled yarn from fishing nets. Buried beneath the hotel is an underground warm water storage system and all water that is used during showers and in the sink is used again to flush toilets. The rooftop consists of a greenhouse that provides produce for the restaurant. 

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Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall, UK

The Scarlet Hotel is the perfect luxury, eco stay on the edge of the ocean in Cornwall. The hotel uses rainwater to flush toilets, the wood and timber used in the construction and furniture is FSC certified and coated with eco-friendly paints. Additionally a biomass boiler, which is fired by wood chips that are a byproduct from a local company, and solar panels are used for water heating and all towels are made from organic cotton. This is only the start of a long list of sustainability credentials that make this British eco luxury hotel one of our favourites. 

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Hostal Grau, Barcelona

Hostal Grau is an eco-boutique hotel located in the centre of Barcelona that strives to make its customers’ stay as sustainable as possible. The beds are made from 100% natural and organic materials, all wood is FSC-certified and flooring is recycled ceramics, while the soap, shower gel and fragrance in the bathrooms are all completely natural and organic. The hotel also refill all shampoo bottles and soap to minimise packaging waste. Not only does the hotel have a strong environmental focus, but also a social one as they collaborate with different social enterprises that work on everything from giving homeless people an opportunity to selling jewellery made by people with disabilities. 

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Itz’ana Resort, Belize

Itz’ana Resort is located in Belize and operates under the ideal of ‘mission-driven luxury’. The resort houses carbon neutral villas (yes you read that right) that work entirely with solar panels and any additional carbon emission is offset through a local forestry partner. The food served to the guests is organic from their very own organic garden – as local as it gets. 

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Tierra Patagonia, Chile

Tierra Patagonia, located just outside Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, is a thermal efficient, sustainable lodge designed to perfectly merge with nature. The lodge supports reforestation and other social projects that are aimed at helping the local community. 

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Disappearing Retreat, Minnesota USA

The Disappearing Retreat located in the snowy mountains of Minnesota, USA, has a conservation-first approach. The building is designed with reflective glass that seemlessly merges into the environment (transparent ultraviolet colour prevents animal collision) and a spotted pattern of thin PV film generated energy from the sun and therefore requires no active heating (for the -30C nights) or cooling system. 

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The Brando

Situated on the island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, The Brando was founded by Hollywood actor Marlon Brando in 1967 and has since welcomed famous guests including Leonardo Di Caprio, Barack Obama and Beyoncé. The resort has been built with local, reclaimed materials and without beach obstructions in order to preserve the natural state of the island. With the goal of achieving carbon neutrality, the hotel runs mostly on renewable energy sources such as solar power and coconut oil biofuel and guests are provided with bicycles for tours. Other organised activities include talks by onsite scientists on the spectacular birds and marine life that call this corner of heaven their home. 

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Tri Lanka, Sri Lanka

Tri Lanka is an eco-resort, hidden away in the Sri Lankan jungle, made with 100% recycled local wood, living walls and green roofs. The hotel harnesses as much of the natural power surrounding it as possible from solar panels collecting energy; to harvested rainwater and natural fertilisers that keep the grounds healthy and green. 

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Kaya Mawa, Malawi, Africa

Kaya Mawa is an eco lodge situated in the heart of Lake Malawi in Africa. With a big focus on reducing its environmental footprint, the lodge has developed the first electrical game-drive car for silent safaris, operates an eBoat and are powered predominantly by solar panels. The business also supports a variety of conservation organisations dedicated to fighting poaching and actively supports the local community with development projects. 

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SALT of Palmar, Mauritius

Preserving the island of Mauritius and the people within it is important to SALT of Palmar, and they encourage you to connect with its food, people and culture. Everything you will eat at SALT is grown right there in the island of Mauritius; they also have their own on-site pesticide-free farm which supplies them with an array of fresh fruit, salads and particularly good tomatoes. They share part of the farm with the non-profit organisation Island Bio who empower local communities through skill building programmes and training in permaculture and agro-ecology. They’ve even set up a farm school in the neighbouring village where their own farmers share their knowledge. SALT also host an array of sustainability workshops – our pick is the one on Zero Waste Cocktails and Canapes by Eco-Age contributor Alexandra Dudley.


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