‘Eco-friendly’ may have always been a term synonymous with a back-to-basics lifestyle, especially as far as travel is concerned, but a whole host of industry pioneers are proving that this is no longer the case. In fact, with more and more travellers across the globe becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, the world’s leading hoteliers and architects have had to rethink design and innovate traditional luxury travel experiences to reflect the growing demand for sustainable solutions. No longer a buzzword, but a necessity, sustainability is now at the heart of luxury travel – meaning guilt-free stays in some of the world’s most coveted hotels.
To celebrate sustainable standards becoming the norm in the luxury travel sphere, we’ve identified a selection of standout properties paving the way to a greener future.
Wild by name and wild by nature, the Shinta Mani Wild is the brainchild of the architectural experimentalist and ferociously creative Bill Bensley. Falling under the umbrella of Cambodia’s Shinta Manti collection, this unique property sits pride of place at the forefront of sustainable travel, which is no surprise given that it is part-owned by Bensley.
Mother Nature is the designer at Shinta Mani Wild. Located in a forest where humans once did more harm than good by logging and poaching, Bensley has sought to rectify this; encouraging flora to flourish and fauna to return by rewilding the forest that now homes the sustainable camp. After arriving via zipline – a very Bensley-like welcome – visitors can spend their days touring the jungle with their own personal adventure butler, before relaxing in a secluded riverside tent where al fresco baths can be enjoyed to the sound of pretty cascades. Not a retreat to scrimp on style, each tent is thoughtfully themed with locally handcrafted furniture and lavish finishing touches. Conservation is a given here and single-use plastics aren’t something to be entertained.
In January 2020, Bensley launched Sensible Sustainability Solutions, a white paper aimed at the hospitality industry, which incorporates all that he has learnt about eco-friendly design during his 30 plus years of experience. He believes that by issuing his high standards to hoteliers the world over, he’ll put a stop to ‘greenwashing’ and help the industry to make a real, impactful difference at a time when change is so crucially needed – we can only hope that they take heed.
Aman is a world-renowned brand that exudes luxury. Timeless design and incredible locations may make for its trademark, but this ultra-high-end chain of properties doesn’t just sit pretty – much of its ethos is based upon caring for local communities and being conscious about its carbon footprint, and Amankila is the epitome of just that.
Perched on a densely jungled hillside and backdropped by the drama of Mount Agung, Amankila’s free-standing villas offer enchanting views of the Lombok Strait and an almost seductive serenity. When not cocooned in the privacy of their own treetop Suite, visitors can enjoy a swim in the hotel’s striking infinity pool, or head down to the seashore to soak up Bali’s beautiful weather from a private beach.
Standing on stilts and topped in typically Balinese thatch, Amankila does a good job of not imposing upon its natural surrounds, but it’s not its locally inspired exterior that make this eco-luxe hideaway stand out from the crowds. Its energy-saving and recycling programmes have been hugely effective in reducing the hotel’s impact on the environment and by contributing to the ROLE Foundation’s “Waster to Wonder” programme they have been able to help introduce waste management services and infrastructure development planning at a community level. Their commitment to conversation is also key; having joined the Begawan foundation to actively participate in the Bali Starling breeding and release programme they are actively helping to save this rare bird from extinction.
Marrying conscious concepts with impeccable style, Amankila is a must-stay for any discerning traveller.
Much like Aman, One & Only is a leader in the luxury travel sphere. Offering 5-star experiences in some of the world’s most sought-after spots, this is a brand that knows how to treat its guests.
Located in the vast expanse of the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains World, One & Only Wolgan Valley prides itself on being Australia’s very first conservation led luxury resort. In this rural retreat, visitors can soak up the stillness of pristine wilderness without compromising on luxury – think sundowners on the intimate bar terrace, elegant farm-to-table food and flawlessly designed private villas boasting their own in-room swimming pools.
When not lapping up the spa treatments, horse riding, stargazing, or out on a guided wilderness tour, guests can while away many an hour just reading up on One & Only Wolgan Valley’s sustainability practises. From water and energy conservation to wombat preservation and cultural heritage celebrations, this is a resort that hits every mark. Its CarboNZero accreditation from certification provider EarthCheck proving just that.