Earth Day, April 22, affords an especially meaningful time to reflect on responsible travel. Now more than ever, we seek out ways to travel with intention, and try to help the planet heal as we enjoy its natural splendors. The theme this year is ‘Invest in Our Planet.’
From offering carbon offsets to supporting local conservation efforts, here are four exceptional properties that don’t compromise on luxury or comfort. These eco-friendly lodgings provide high-end amenities and offer green initiatives including solar panels, indoor and outdoor aquariums, interactive nature centers, turtle-tagging and free diving, seawater purification. And of course, they present sustainable food and locally sources products.
‘Alohilani Resort | Oahu, Hawaii
In February 2022, ‘Alohilani Resort, located steps from the beach in the center of Waikiki, announced it’s on track to become the first carbon neutral hotel in Hawaii. The award-winning resort has engaged DEKRA for verification services and has partnered with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) and Legacy Carbon LLC to help offset its carbon footprint.
This builds upon ‘Alohilani Resort’s existing sustainability initiatives, including a commitment to plant 100,000 indigenous trees in its Legacy Forest, use of 100% renewable electricity throughout the hotel, Malama Hawaii initiatives, and credits for beach rentals in its resort amenity fee. In addition, guests can indulge in a new sustainable food and cocktail happy hour series centered around locally sourced products.
Oil Nut Bay | Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Located in the coveted North Sound region of the British Virgin Islands, Oil Nut Bay is exceptionally private and consciously preserved, only accessible by boat or helicopter. Half of the 400 acres at Oil Nut Bay remains designated green space, and solar power generates electricity used for desalination water plants, air conditioning, refrigeration, hot water, community lighting and more. The community structures at Oil Nut Bay are currently being built to LEED energy standards.
Oil Nut Bay will debut a new interactive nature center in late April 2022, encouraging guests to learn about what makes Virgin Gorda and the BVIs so special. In addition, guests can partake in eco-friendly activities including sea turtle tagging, mangrove kayaking in glass-bottom kayaks, coral reef snorkeling and more.
Turtle tagging is when guests partake in free diving to safely catch the turtles along with an on-board researcher. The turtles are measured, tagged and released, and guests can then follow the animals’ adventures even after returning home.
Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto by Danzante Bay | Loreto, Mexico
An award-winning resort set amid the dramatic Sierra de la Giganta mountains, bordering the Sea of Cortez, this is one of Baja’s rising destinations for relaxation, culture and eco-tourism. Loreto, Mexico is best known for its secluded, unspoiled setting on the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Book a scuba diving, snorkeling or kayaking tour with the hotel and enjoy the main draw of the region – the incredible underwater wildlife that live in the “aquarium of the world.” The Loreto Bay National Marine Park is home to 891 species of fish, a third of the world’s whale and dolphin species, and 695 vascular plant species.
The hotel has implemented a number of eco-friendly initiatives, including solar panels, a seawater purification system for all water throughout the resort, greywater recycling program, its own onsite garden for produce, and more.
Ibiza Gran Hotel | Ibiza, Spain
The leading independent luxury hotel in Ibiza, located in the heart of Ibiza’s “golden mile,” across from the island’s glamorous marinas, the five-star all-suite hotel boasts exceptional views of the Bay of Ibiza, Dalt Vila (Ibiza’s old town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Formentera.
The Balearic Islands are known for being a global leader in sustainability. Tourism laws were recently put in place including banning single-use plastics, optimizing electric usage and making locally sourced food and products a top priority. Ibiza Gran Hotel has been committed to caring for the island’s natural surroundings since its inception in 2008.
Private experiences include diving with National Geographic marine expert and photographer Manu San Félix or exploring hidden coves along the coastline on a traditional sailing boat.
Ibiza Gran Hotel recently installed 370 solar panels on the roof, which enabled the hotel to cut CO2 emissions by 106 tons in one year, the equivalent of planting 800 trees.
(To hear more about sustainable travel and eco-friendly lodgings around the world, listen to episode #12 —“Green Travel: Tips and Trips’ — of the award-winning travel podcast Places I Remember with Lea Lane.)