If you are searching for a resort that embodies the maxim”luxury with a conscience” Angsana Velavaru fits the bill perfectly. A speck of land emerging from the endless cobalt blue of the Indian Ocean, this idyllic hideaway is nestled in a picturesque lagoon of the pristine South Nilandhe Atoll in the Maldives. Chase the adrenaline rush in an array of activities, and indulge in a multi-sensory experience in one of the rooftop pavilions of award-winning Angsana Spa Velavaru. You also have the opportunity of attending the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, located on the other side of the island, where you can learn about marine conservation and hot to plant corals from resident marine biologists before actually doing it yourself. With “Velavaru” meaning “Turtle Island” in Dhivehi, the local language, it is no surprise this resort has heightened environmental sensitivity.
Located just off the northeast tip of Viti Levu, this unique retreat gives new meaning to the word castaway. Dolphin Island encapsulates the essence of Fiji but wraps the natural, tropical lifestyle in a luxurious veil of exclusivity. Blending into the lush natural landscape, the traditional bure main building boasts a palm-thatched roof and the suites feature earthy heart timber floors, wooden shutters, and a private garden courtyard, which includes an outdoor shower and free-standing bathtub. For the ultimate in privacy, romance and communing with the elements, the Hilltop Sleep-out Bure, a thatched, open-air bedroom is the epitome of rustic refinement. Savour freshly caught fish and traditional Fijian cuisine prepared with unique local ingredients. Explore the island’s coral reefs or take personalized cultural visits to nearby local villages. This is one luxurious castaway experience you will never want to end.
Banyan Tree Maldives Madivaru
Set on its own small four-acre tropical island located in the North Ari Atoll, the Banyan Tree Madivaru represents a philosophy that is green to the core. Featuring just six tented poll villas set amind powdery beaches and a stunning shallow lagoon, this heavenly resort was built without removing any large trees, only the exact footprint of each villa was cleared. To minimize its environmental footprint, trees were usually transplanted towards the beach. This also helped reduce the light visible from the ocean thus protecting the island’s status as a natural sea turtle nesting ground. As you explore the rich underwater marine environments, heal your body, mind, and soul with the signature Royal Banyan massages that draw on the traditions used for centuries in the Royal Thai Palaces and discover the secrets of Maldivian cooking at the resort’s own Cooking School. Rest assured that you can combine luxurious pampering with ecological values.
Puntacana Resort & Club
In addition to being one of the Caribbean’s premier beach resort and lifestyle destinations, with celebrities such as Oscar de la Renta and Mikhail Baryshnikov owning property in the Estates attached to the Puntacana Resort, this resort also takes sustainable development very seriously. Winner of the Conde Nast Traveller World Savers Awards in 2009, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation was created in 1994 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Punta Cana region, while contributing to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic. The resort also boasts the Ecological Reserve, a 1.500-acre expanse that provides habitat for an abundance of local flora and fauna. Whether you choose to discover the richness of Dominican Culture, savour delicious creations next to the shimmering sea or relax the days away at the prestigious Six Senses Spa, you Puntacana experience is surely environmental friendly.
Forte Village Sardinia
Forte Village has been ranked the World’s Leading Resort by international travel agencies for 13 consecutive years, it was also voted the World’s Leading Green resort at the World Travel Awards. A village comprised of luxury bungalows, suites, villas, and 21 restaurants, Forte Village puts theory into practice when it comes to protecting the environment. Its eco-friendly policies include projects to economize on natural resources. 470 hectares of garden space and growing organic fruits and vegetables. Transportation in the village only takes place with bicycles and electric vehicles to save energy. Conserving water is also an issue: the resort has a tank that stores rainwater while they built a water recycling system. With the ecological conscience at ease, enjoy invigorating treatments at the award-winning Thaermae del Forte.
Excluding a wide variety of luxury accommodations, delectable gastronomic suggestions, golf courses, and impeccable spa services, Costa Navarino also displays its environmental sensitivities with the Navarino Environmental Observatory. Operated in collaboration with the University of Stockholm and the Academy of Athens, the observatory houses scientists from across the globe dedicated to researching and raising awareness about the climate and environment of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, through the use of contemporary, interactive technologies and film, Navarino Natura Hall is devoted to teaching visitors about local flora and fauna while also highlighting key environmental issues. This green experience is complete with a birdwatching tour by the Geek Ornithological Society in the Gialova Sea-lake, which is visited by over 271 different species of birds every year.
One of Mexico’s most exclusive and coveted destinations boasts a decidedly green spirit. Cost Careyes overlooks the safeguarded emerald waters and pristine white sands of Costa Alegre, an area that features more than 270 different bird species, a variety of 70 mammals and more than 1.000 different plants. In this setting of rich biodiversity, guests are invited to participate in conservation activities, such as collecting sea turtle eggs on Teopa Beach. It is no coincidence this area is called “Turtle Coast”. Moreover, the resort features roads constructed by hand without the use of asphalt, while also limiting the use of night lighting in public places, decreasing light pollution. The ultimate luxury can be found in one of the resort’s famed castles, perched atop dramatic cliffs with panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding mountains. This is where luxury and environmental awareness reach their most eloquent expression.
North Island Resort, Seychelles
At first glance, this may seem like yet another heavenly resort on an idyllic island. However, North Island Resort focuses on its environmental activities, staying true to its core philosophy of respecting the environment and turning back the ecological clock. The period of intense coconut tree farming that ended in the late 1970s left behind unwanted flora and fauna that stifled many native species, eventually leading to the destruction of the local ecosystem. In an attempt to reverse the damage, North Island is spearheading initiatives such as the Noah’s Ark project, which aims to re-introduce tortoises and local species of bird as well as indigenous trees. In addition to enjoying unparalleled privacy n luxurious 450 square meters villas, visitors are encouraged to participate in these ecological activities when they are not busy relaxing on private beaches, diving into horizon pools, hanging out in the main lounge or playing a round of golf.
Milia Mountain Resort
This traditional mountain settlement may have been abandoned in 1948, but was later transformed into a green center of eco-tourism in the heart of Kissamos, Hania. Back to the basics is the core of Milia’s philosophy, in practice, this takes the form of only using wood furnaces and fireplaces to heat the rooms, renewable energy sources such as solar energy throughout the grounds and natural cleaning products that do not contain damaging chemicals. All food is prepared using local, organic ingredients and manure is used as a fertilizing agent instead of harmful chemicals. Even when the settlement was being renovated, only locals materials were used. In fact, some rooms feature natural rock as an extension of the wall. All this in a settling teeming with chestnut, plane and strawberry trees and traditional decorative elements that leave you with the impression you are not staying in a hotel but an old Cretan Village.
Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji
This luxurious resort, located on 17 acres of a former coconut plantation on Vanua Levu, sounds like heaven on Earth. But the Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort has another ace up its sleeve, it is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most eco-friendly destinations. Winner of the Australian Leading Green Hotel Award for the 2011 World Travel Awards, it is the only luxury resort that employs a full-time marine biologist to help visitors appreciate the underwater world of Fiji. The resort’s traditional Fijian Architecture, thatched roofs constructed by locals in order to keep this dying tradition alive in the region, is coupled with an outstanding tree nursery that grows native plants and trees to restore the area back to its natural state. Like his father before him, Jean Michel Cousteau’s dedication to preserving the natural world is awe-inspiring.