The best eco hotels in the world

From energy-positive Scandi escapes to well-planned Pacific paradises, these hotel are changing the way we travel.
svart hotel with th enorthern lights

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Let’s make it clear straight from the off. Sustainability isn’t a trend.

If we’re going to travel, we have to do it with one eye on the planet and the courage of our convictions to make the right choices as we make our way across the world.

Historically, hotels haven’t been the most eco-conscious places. Mini toiletries, single-use plastics, brutal electricity use, and astronomical water wastage are all hallmarks of an industry hellbent on making money first and dealing with the ramifications later. And no, adding “eco” to the name and recycling two bottles doesn’t fix that. 

But there are some beacons of hope in the travel world—eco hotels where the environment comes first, utilizing ingenious methods to reduce their footprints and still delivering an astounding experience in the process.

We should all take a leaf out of their books. Just don’t touch the leaves on their trees.

These are the best eco hotels in the world.

Zuri Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zuri Zanzibar, Tanzania
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Tanzania
Price: $441+
Vibe: Over-the-top luxury African-chic
The rundown: Resorts in places like Tulum have developed a bad reputation for tearing down the greenery in favor of their new hotels. Not Zuri Zanzibar.

Instead of a single large hotel, the gorgeous beach resort is set up as individual villas and bungalows. Nestled amongst the trees and plants, each building is built raised above the ground allowing the natural flowers to grow unimpeded. Its laid-back atmosphere is matched only by the sophistication of its food, drinks, and service—an outstanding hotel in a sublime part of the world.

Svart, Norway

svart hotel with th enorthern lights
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Norway
Price: TBD
Vibe: Game-changing sustainability
The rundown: Svart hasn’t opened yet. But not including it would be a disservice to this article’s theme.

Set at the foot of the dramatic Svartisen glacier, Svart is hoping to be the first fully off-grid energy-positive hotel. If you need that in simpler terms, it’s going to be so self-sustaining it produces more energy than it uses. Food will be locally sourced farm-to-table cuisine, all transport will be self-sustaining using electricity or water, waste management will be self-controlled, and the entire hotel should be off-grid within five years.

All while maintaining the typical luxury standards held by so many Scandinavian properties. If it works out the way they hope, it’s going to be stunning. It’s also a great place to check out the Northern Lights.

Six Senses Fiji

six senses fiji
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Fiji
Price: $750+
Vibe: Pacific decadence 
The rundown: If there’s anyone among us not interested in luxury resorts in the middle of the Pacific, I’d be concerned. Places like Fiji, French Polynesia, and further afield in the Maldives are renowned for their idyllic settings and the high-end hotels making them home. But it’s often tough to tell if their presence benefits the surroundings.

Six Senses Fiji, one of the best properties on the planet, ensured that it met every possible standard when developing the hotel. Every one of its villas and private residences is solar powered using a Tesla battery mega grid, automatic sensors that turn the AC on and off accordingly, and, interestingly, uses tiger worms to turn its waste into sustainable fertilizer that’s used to grow food for its restaurants. 

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York

one new york in brooklyn
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: New York City
Price: $399+
Vibe: Reclamation relaxation
The rundown: The concrete sprawl of New York City is the last place you’d expect high-functioning eco-hotels to be, but the minds behind 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge have done it.

Championing hyper-efficient energy systems within their lights, air conditioning, and pretty much everywhere else in the hotel, they’ve already been classified as carbon-neutral and LEED Gold. Half of the property is constructed using reclaimed materials from old buildings around the city, there are no single-use plastics, and they have their own electric Audi to transport you around the city.

And, if you overpack, you can leave your preloved clothes with them, and they’ll donate them to homeless charities. Amazing!

The Torridon, Scottish Highlands

the torridon in the scottish highlands
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: The Scottish Highlands
Price: $340+
Vibe: Historic castle; futuristic sustainability
The rundown: It’s fine and well building a brand new hotel to match the world’s new sustainable demands. But how do older properties take outdated concepts and bring them up to speed? The Torridon, set in the romantic Scottish Highlands, shows us how it’s done.

Despite being almost 140 years old, the boutique resort has become something of a trailblazer in the environmental world. Its on-site 46-point eco-plan is impressive, including eco-friendly tactics like using local biomass fuel and heavy use of their private garden and Torridon farm for the restaurant, all the way down to smaller efforts like requiring suppliers to turn their vehicle engines off during drop-offs.

Cabin Anna, The Netherlands

cabin anna in the netherlands
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Holenberg
Price: $250+
Vibe: At one with nature
The rundown: Simple is best sometimes. Cabin ANNA started life as a personal project for the designer’s mother. Now, the beautiful cabins, all of which feature mesmerizing sliding walls, are set up for visitors to enjoy.

Designed to fully break the boundaries between hotel and nature itself, there’s nowhere quite like it. All the materials used in construction were locally and sustainably sourced. If you need a reminder of why the planet is so wonderful, stay here. Cabins don’t get much cooler.

Bardessono Eco Resort and Spa

Bardessono Eco Resort and Spa
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Napa Valley
Price: $780+
Vibe: Sustainability masterclass
The rundown: The Bardessono Eco Resort and Spa is beautiful. It’s so well designed that its cutting-edge eco-tech is barely noticeable—not just because you’ll be two bottles into some local organic wine.

An underground geothermal system is the star of the show, heating and cooling the rooms as well as the spa and the general hot water supply. Over 900 solar panels help keep electricity firmly on-site, while the timber used in construction was taken from salvaged trees. In a self-aware stance, the hotel acknowledges that budget constraints mean its efforts aren’t perfect, but it does strive for it. 

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