Hotels with Big Hearts
When our planet is as beautiful as it is, we rely on the hotels we visit to protect it
Choose where we stay wisely and we all become part of a brighter, greener future, where communities, environments and wildlife are safeguarded for the next generation. And if we can do this while holidaying in some of the most gorgeous corners of our earth, then all the better.
The Brando - French Polynesia
Regularly seen in the Conde Nast Traveller Hot List, The Brando walks the talk on all things sustainable, and has a heart of true eco-gold. Set on a dazzling tropical island, The Brando shows that both sustainability and luxury can be natural bedfellows. Take a Green Tour to learn how the resort harnesses deep-sea water to make an alternative to air-conditioning, and see how natural resources such as coconut oil, alongside solar, power the island.
At the research station, witness visiting conservationists and scientists from around the world study the hotel’s model of eco-tourism. Then head out to sea to swim among the turtles and tropical fish from the hotel’s fish replenishment programme. Truly inspirational.
“Tetiaroa is beautiful beyond my capacity to describe. One could say that Tetiaroa is the tincture of the South Seas.” MARLON BRANDO
Need To Know
You won’t find over-water villas here. The beach houses mould harmoniously into the natural vegetation and are made from local materials. Each one opens out onto a gorgeous swathe of pristine beach.
Caiman Ecological Refuge – Brazil
A longstanding model for eco-tourism and conservation work, Caiman Ecological Refuge sits on a 53,000-hectare cattle ranch deep within Brazil’s Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world. Its 11 rooms and suites are divided between two comfortable lodges, 22 kilometres apart, each with its own restaurant, swimming pool and lounge area. Full-board accommodation includes gourmet Pantanal BBQs, where beef is cooked over fire pits, and daily small-group excursions range from wildlife walks and 4×4 safaris to canoe trips and night safaris.
What really sets the refuge apart, however, is the conservation work carried out on the ranch, including internationally recognised projects with both hyacinth macaws and the Americas’ biggest predator, the elusive jaguar.
“The jaguar habituation project Onçafari is unique in South America and offers you the rare opportunity to track and spot jaguars on an Africa-style jeep safari.”
Need To Know
Aside from its work with jaguars and macaws, the ranch is also a pioneer in sustainable farming, successfully integrating its 35,000 head of cattle with the local wildlife, which includes caiman, capybara, tapir and giant anteater.
Environment in Mind
Huka Lodge - New Zealand
Originally a simple fishing lodge, Huka has evolved into a supremely comfortable residence, with large bedrooms, cashmere-covered sofas and an extensive wine cellar. What has stayed the same is its beautiful setting: verdant, deep green forests, cascading waterfalls and towering mountains, and right in front of the lodge, a turquoise ribbon of fast-flowing river.
Huka is well aware of its precious beauty and recently announced some additional eco-initiatives, including a new plant-based, compostable water bottle. The lodge keeps the environment in mind in everything it does, including its use of organic produce, planting of native trees, and a successful bee breeding programme.
"Get up close to the mighty Huka Falls on foot from the lodge, then relax by one of the three inviting swimming pools. "
Need To Know
If you like your privacy, opt for the four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. It sits on a pretty promontory overlooking the mighty Huka Falls, yet hidden from sight.
Electric Game Vehicles
Cheetah Plains - Sabi Sands
In a continent of harsh climates, conservation is vital to the existence of communities and wildlife. Thankfully, many of the best lodges in Africa are extremely mindful of this. At Cheetah Plains safari lodge, located in the private Sabi Sand concession, monitoring wildlife and anti-poaching is as important as first-class service.
The lodge’s use of electric game vehicles – Telsa battery-powered Land Cruisers – is pioneering but also offers an enhanced safari with zero emissions. And with aims to be fully off-grid soon, this is a luxury lodge for the future.
"Each Plains House has a dedicated team of staff including host, wellness therapist, ranger and tracker, elevating your safari experience to a very high standard."
Need To Know
This pioneering eco-lodge is also a good choice for design-lovers. Its sleek and contemporary bomas come with heated pools and wine cellars and are filled with modern South African art.
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