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Prefer an environmentally-conscious approach to vacationing? Join the ever-growing club. “We’re seeing a shift in travelers—and the industry as a whole—to advance sustainable practices,” says Jessica Blotter, CEO and co-founder of Kind Traveler. “In order to preserve our planet for future generations, tourism needs to play a role.” Perhaps that’s why more properties are making the push towards sustainability than ever before. These days, a green getaway doesn’t have to mean sacrificing luxury. From Banyan Tree Mayakoba to Six Senses Laamu, these eco-resorts marry an earth-friendly ethos and pampering perks.
Best Splurge: Trisara (Phuket, Thailand)
Rising above a private spit of sand on Phuket’s quiet northwest coast, Trisara (a Sanskrit name translating to '”third garden in heaven”) is an utterly divine, tropical oasis that draws an upwardly mobile crowd of honeymooners and high-profile visitors. At first glance, this exclusive oceanfront resort impresses with its verdant grounds, world-class service, five-star facilities, jaw-dropping accommodations, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Beneath its flawless surface sits something deeper: a vision for a more sustainable future. Besides knee-weakening views of the Andaman Sea, villas flaunt salt-chlorinated infinity pools and energy saving sensors to shut off the A/C when the doors are open. A combination of collected rainwater and waste-system grey water irrigates the property’s gorgeous gardens. Instead of potentially harmful fogging techniques, Trisara produces its own chemical-free repellent for mosquitoes. Plus, guests get to cruise around in electric buggies.
Best Beachfront: Turtle Bay Resort (Oahu, Hawaii)
Hawaii ranks among the top honeymoon destinations. Turtle Bay Resort on North Shore of Oahu offers newlyweds the quintessential Aloha State experience—full of spellbinding beaches, waterfall treks, mountain biking, kayaking, snorkeling with sea turtles, horseback riding, golf, surfing, helicopter tours, outrigger canoeing, shaved ice, and Mai Tais—with the added bonus of a sustainable philosophy. Blessed with breathtaking surroundings, this living movie set puts a major focus on safeguarding the pristine natural landscape it calls home. Since 2012, the Turtle Bay Foundation has donated hours and money ($630,000) to benefit the entire community, from precious marine habitats to local farmers. The on-site restaurants and bars showcase organic, seasonal ingredients. Healing herbs and sea salt also take center stage at the spa. While the tropical-chic rooms are fitted with artisan-made furnishings and clean toiletries.
Best for Aquatic Adventures: Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort (Savusavu, Fji)
Conservation may be a sexy term in 2020, though a few decades ago that wasn’t really the case. A pioneer in responsible tourism, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort blazed the earth-friendly trail long before it was considered cool. Not only should this green OG be applauded as the first property in Fiji to recycle paper and plastic, but also for its achievements in low-impact agriculture and eco-luxury accommodations. Nothing obscures the majesty of the surrounding environment. Built with respect to Mother Nature, dreamy bures gaze upon Savusavu Bay. There’s incredible scuba diving and snorkeling as well as glass-bottomed boat tours. For travelers looking to dive deeper into the ecological side of things, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort has a host of educational activities such as reef walks and mangrove planting led by the resident marine biologist.
Best SoCal Escape: Terranea Resort (Rancho Palos Verdes, California)
Spread across 102 oceanfront acres on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea Resort is a Mediterranean-style estate that’s within driving distance of downtown Los Angeles. Despite its proximity to the urban grind, traffic and smog don’t have a place at this card carrying member of Kind Traveler. It feels very wellness-y in a way that extends beyond the requisite yoga classes, fresh-squeezed juice, in-room massages, organic food, hiking trails, and a 50,000-square-foot spa—don’t get us wrong, all that exists here. Terranea Resort goes a step further, factoring what’s best for people and the planet in all its decisions. The property fosters programs dedicated to composting, planting trees, recycling, reusing towels, falconry bird control, and improving local water quality. Want to get involved in do-gooding? Volunteer to do a coastal cleanup outing or peep whales through a coin-operated telescopes that funds non-profits in the area.
Best for Celeb Spotting: El Ganzo (San José del Cabo, Mexico)
Maybe you’ve heard of El Ganzo in San José del Cabo? It was, afterall, the destination for Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo’s wedding. Straddling the line between hotel and resort, this forward-thinking property in San José del Cabo dares to be ahead of the curve. It’s design-centric and trendy without trying too hard—one of the many aspects that seems to attract famous guests. Further setting this A-list magnet apart from its contemporaries? Environmentally conscious practices. Rooms are equipped with locally-sourced toiletries and reusable canteens. El Ganzo also uses recyclable straws and special nopal-based laundry soap that reduces water consumption by a whopping 80 percent. A solar-heated rooftop infinity pool, underground recording studio that’s accessible through a trapdoor, concierge squad billed as “personal entertainment gurus,” and swimmable beach also earn a spot on the list of unique traits.
Best for Privacy: Six Senses Laamu (Laamu Atoll, Maldives)
Six Senses Laamu bills itself as an “atoll utopia where sumptuous meets sustainable.” Rarely have we heard a more on point illustration. Another accurate statement might be to call it a posh and private paradise with a philanthropic side. Readless of your preferred description, the fact remains that very few properties rival the exclusivity or elegance of this island idyll. Secluded on Laamu Atoll, it’s a 40-minute flight from Male Airport. Once guests arrive at the resort, the VIP treatment kicks into high gear with eco-luxe villas, sunrise breakfasts on untouched sandbanks, and romantic stargazing. Given that sustainability is a driving force, it stands to reason that Six Senses Laamu, with the help of a dedicated marine team, puts equal importance on preserving fragile underwater ecosystems. Land-based initiatives include bottling purified drinking water in glass and converting organic waste into fertilizer.
Best Lakefront: The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe (Stateline, Nevada)
Ideal for outdoorsy types, The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe invites guests to spend time golfing, hiking, and swimming in the year-round heated pool. Simply put: the 154-key legend has everything you’d envision of an epic Lake Tahoe vacation—and more. Falling into the latter category? An emphasis on ecological stewardship. Since just about everything ties back to the great outdoors, the instinct to preserve the environment rings true. The Clean the World partner endeavours to protect Gaia through energy-efficient lake-source cooling and wetlands filtration. Pedestrian pathways mitigate vehicle traffic, while also providing guests with a great venue for walking, running, and cycling. Fresh mountain air and call of the wild are undeniably intoxicating, but we caution you not to overlook the indoor spaces. Each unit is appointed with sumptuous linens, a gas fireplace, and a terrace or balcony.
Best for Wellness: Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (Miami, Florida)
The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is quite literally the living, breathing embodiment of a spa getaway. This bastion of wellbeing spoils guests: mind, body, and soul. The experience encompasses every facet of a healthy lifestyle—combining holistic treatments, hydrotherapy circuits, meditation, upwards of 200 weekly exercise classes, a rock climbing gym, organic cuisine, and access to 750 foot of private beachfront real estate. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, KitchenAide appliances, plush robes, and freestanding tubs, modern suites act like personal sanctuaries. It’s worth noting that canine companions are welcome, too. It’s not a stretch to imagine a place that cares for people and pups in such a comprehensive way would do the same for the planet. Recycling programs, A\C units with energy saver switches, and electric vehicle-charging stations reflect that eco-oriented spirit.
Best for Instagram: Alila Seminyak (Bali, Indonesia)
Alila Seminyak hypnotizes travelers with its spectacular beachfront setting, sophisticated interiors, stiff cocktails, #nofilter sunsets, and lush landscaping. Of course, this green aesthetic was no accident. Environmentally sensitive site planning, reclaimed building materials, and sustainable construction techniques laid the foundation before the Alila Seminyak opened. Most of the fun-seeking guests who check in never thought about the property’s continued efforts to minimize its greenhouse gas emissions—and that’s totally fine. Sure, Alila Seminyak adheres to EarthCheck operating standards, supports two local elementary schools in Kerobokan, and utilizes all-natural products for spa therapies, however, it’s not one of those places that hits you over the head with its good deeds. Now that you’re aware, doesn’t it make you feel even better about vacationing at this swoon-worthy retreat near the many lively clubs and bars on Legian Road?
Best for Relaxation: Banyan Tree Mayakoba (Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Nestled within a gated development, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a sanctuary of unspoiled natural splendor and serenity that feels vastly different than the party scene raging in Playa del Carmen. Couples are certainly drawn to the relaxing atmosphere, exemplary service, bucolic backdrop, and organic spa rituals at this EarthCheck Gold-certified beachfront resort. Conceptualized with the intention of enhancing the landscape, design inspiration comes from the inherent beauty of the Riviera Maya. True to its roots, Banyan Tree Mayakoba continues to advance its green ambitions—including eliminating single-use plastics, implementing a towel reuse system, and working with a company that converts used vegetable oil into biodiesel—while delivering an utterly restful sojourn. Opportunities for leisure and rejuvenation are endless. Let stress melt away with every downward facing dog, spend a few quiet hours birdwatching, or embark on an amour-inducing canal cruise.