Eco-luxury resorts around the world

Siobháin Spear
Apr 22, 2020

You do not have to sacrifice comfort to make sustainable travel choices; we’ve found eco-luxury resorts to inspire your next getaway.

Sitting at the intersection of luxury lifestyle and social sustainability, these five eco-luxury resorts around the world know exactly how to offer a once-in-a-lifetime getaway with the feel-good factor of eco-conscious travel choices.

1. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Aerial shot of Emirates One&Only hotel in Wolong Valley
Aerial view over Wolgan Valley

Sitting in the world heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains of Australia, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley offers a luxe escape like no other. Offering its guests the opportunity to explore 2,800 hectares of untamed landscapes where kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and birdlife roam free, the resort is a top choice for those who seek to blend outdoor adventure with luxury villas that boast private pools. Yes, you can have both.

Conservation, sustainability and nature are at the heart of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, and the certified carbon-neutral hideaway has made these pillars even more of a focus since the late 2019 bushfires when it embarked up on the journey to renewal in the valley. If you’re looking for an exhilarating expedition that puts nature first and provides environmental learnings, you’ve just found it.

2. Soneva Kiri, Thailand

Soneva Kiri hotel balcony overlooking the ocean in Thailand
Ocean views from a bamboo terrace at Soneva Kiri

Nestled within a lush tropical rainforest on an unspoiled island, Soneva Kiri is an exotic beach escape that knows how to blend unparalleled luxury with sustainable design. Offering you the opportunity for SLOW travel (sustainable, local, organic, wellness), this eco-chic resort is located on Koh Kood, Thailand’s least populated island. Guests can expect open-air screenings at a jungle cinema, dine in a bamboo treepod over a rainforest and children can retreat to the eco-den.

Fringed with palm trees and lined with white beaches, the jungle hideaway offers villas and private residences that have been built with sustainable materials, including local timbers. Whether it’s recycling waste materials, conserving water or preserving ecosystems, Soneva takes responsible tourism very seriously.

3. Banyan Tree Samui, Thailand

Pool balcony surrounded by palm trees in Banyan Tree Samui
A private pool villa at Banyan Tree Samui, Thailand

Banyan Tree Samui is a tropical sanctuary that overlooks the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Offering only villas with private pools, guests can choose from a plethora of options that range from a Deluxe Pool Villa right through to the Presidential Villa, which boasts two infinity pools of its own.

Bayan Tree Samui is a plastic-free resort that has won a number of awards for its efforts towards eco-tourism. Not only does it run a coral rejuvenation project and hold tree-planting events, but it also works closely with the community to provide locally-infused experiences for its guests.

4. Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, Costa Rica

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel at night when the pool is lit and the dinner area is prepared
Pool views and the farm-to-table restaurant at Cala Luna in Costa Rica

If you have done your research, you will already know that Costa Rica is one of the planet’s prime eco-tourism destinations, and there are several eco-resorts dotted around the country. However, Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, in Tamarindo Beach, stands out from the crowd when it comes to eco-luxury resorts. Sitting among old-growth trees and native tropical vegetation, the beach resort is not only celebrated its world-class service, but also for its mission to celebrate and protect the beauty of Costa Rica.

While it offers open-air yoga, surf instruction, spa treatments and a wide array of activities, it is also known for the surrounding protected nature reserve for sea turtles, and it has one of the largest solar energy installations in Central America. Not only will you be impressed by its Getaway Suites and pool villas, but you will also be well nourished thanks to its organic garden, which supplies its farm-to-table restaurant where you can enjoy organic wine, fresh-fruit cocktails with homemade bamboo straws and sustainably sourced supplies from locals.

5. MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge, Indonesia

Aerial shot of the MajaRaja Eco Dive Lodge in the middle of the ocean
An aerial shot of the MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge in Indonesia

If you fuse a dreamy island escape with an adventurous diving trip and unobstructed views from overwater bungalows, you’ll find yourself booking into the world’s only eco-friendly dive resort in Indonesia. The MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge places the preservation of nature at its core, making it one of the best places to experience aquatic life. Preventing noise and fuel emissions, it uses boats with electric motors and has been able to ban fishing in order to allow coral to heal as it actually owns the surrounding reef.

This private-island escape is home to only five bungalows, all which sit over the ocean to offer you unparalleled views. Aiming to immerse guests into the eco-lifestyle, you can expect fresh bio-vegan meals, organic hygiene and care products, diverse eco-activities and an opportunity to realign with your own natural rhythm through a rejuvenating experience. Expect to live alongside sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, octopus, sea stars and more at one of the world’s most alluring eco-luxury resorts.

6. The Brando, French Polynesia

The Polynesian spa hideaway at The Brando Resort | Via Instagram: @thebrandoresort

If it was good enough for President Obama’s honeymoon, then it is certainly good enough for us. Sitting on French Polynesia’s private island of Tetiaroa, The Brando is an ultra-luxe resort that offers travellers a carefree escape in a secluded hideaway. Just one glance at its chic, castaway villas or its dreamy spa and you’ll be planning your private plane escape.

Setting the standard for eco-luxury hotels, the resort uses a pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system to reduce energy demands and relies entirely on renewable energy sources. Carbon neutral and almost 100% self-sustainable, The Brando offers an immersive Polynesian experience and island activities that will bring you a little closer to the importance of preserving marine life.

Making sustainable travel decisions isn’t just about choosing an eco-luxury hotel, it’s also about making everyday lifestyle choices that help the planet. Why not take time out to watch travel documentaries such as ‘Our Planet’ or explore top national parks to align with nature? Whatever you do, stay inspired and think about the travel choices you’ll make tomorrow.