From a California resort that turns glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers, to private islands using deep seawater to power air conditioning, these planet-friendly hotels leverage innovative practices to create wish list-worthy getaways while protecting the planet.
1) Eco-Friendly Road Trip Getaway - The Ranch at Laguna Beach (California)
The Ranch at Laguna Beach is a coastal ranch resort set on 87 acres in the iconic town of Laguna Beach. Sustainability sets the foundation for the 97-room resort, which features a half-acre organic farm, two Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurants, a 3,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor spa, and the only golf course in Laguna Beach. The RanchLB leverages a range of innovative and practical measures to reduce its carbon footprint, protect the natural environment, and eliminate plastic waste. The property recycles glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers, swapped plastic key cards with biodegradable bamboo room keys, operates a half-acre organic farm and compost program, and irrigates with reclaimed water - saving 20 million gallons annually. The RanchLB is also a founding member of Beyond Green, a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges exemplifying sustainability leadership. Guests can participate in organic farm tours with the Ranch’s Farmer Leo, embark on Whale Watching & Dolphin Safaris from nearby Dana Point Harbor (America’s first Whale Heritage Site), grill grass fed burgers on the beach at Lost Pier Café, and hike miles of canyon trails. This Earth Day, guests can book the property’s Springtime Coastal Getaway package including 20% off room rates and a $50 resort credit toward food, beverage, and spa treatments.
Earth Day rates from $279 per night. https://www.theranchlb.com/offers/
2) Preserving Montana’s Majesty – The Ranch at Rock Creek
Situated on 10 square miles of Montana wilderness, The Ranch at Rock Creek is the United States’ premier luxury guest ranch and the only Forbes Five Star Guest Ranch in Montana. The property features an array of rustic yet elegant accommodations, farm-to-table ranch-style gourmet dining, a full-service spa, event barn, and limitless outdoor activities from fly fishing to horseback riding and sporting clays. The property embraces sustainability that honors the spirit and practices of the American West. Visitors come to Montana because they share a passion that the environment is beautiful and should be treasured. The Ranch’s history as a working cattle ranch creates natural partnerships among neighbors and nearby ranches, which provide meat, dairy and produce, and allow the property to work toward its goal of creating a closed-loop sustainability system. The Ranch at Rock Creek eliminated single-use plastics in 2019, works in partnership with Trout Unlimited to improve fish habitats, and operates a Master Naturalist program to support environmental conservation while creating engaging nature hikes for guests. The property makes numerous philanthropic donations to support the local frontier community, shares its event barn for local Senior Proms, and launched a CSA program to provide fresh produce to vulnerable seniors during the height of the pandemic.
All-inclusive rates from $850 per night plus 20% ranch fee. www.theranchatrockcreek.com
3) Honoring the Past, Embracing the Present and Shaping the Future – Chablé Hotels (Mexico) (pictured)
Chablé is founded on living in harmony with nature, respecting the rhythms of life, and honoring timeless cultures and traditions. The restorative wellness brand features three holistic retreats offering a range of sustainability measures to achieve carbon neutrality, self-sustainability, and coexist with nature. Each property was built with renewable building materials and thoughtfully oriented to create a direct connection to nature. At Chablé Yucatan, onsite gardens called K’anche’s provide herbs and seasonal vegetables for the resort's kitchens and spas, with honey derived from the property’s Melipona bee farm. Chablé sources additional products from local farmers with like-minded values, providing a profitable enterprise that provides financial stability and invests in sustainable agriculture. Rooted in the riches of the natural landscapes and Mayan culture, Chablé strives to nurture the needs of the present, while maintaining the protection of the planet for future generations to come. The brand conducts vegetation preservation, beach and sargassum cleaning, reef care, mangrove reforestation, waste reduction, recycling, and recycles organic waste into compost to support its orchards and surrounding farms. From eco-sleek designs, to the elimination of single-use plastics, Chablé Hotels are committed to reducing their environmental impact without compromising quality, guest experiences and the highest levels of service. Rates from $896 per night. www.chablehotels.com
4) Ultimate Sustainable Island Getaway – The Brando (French Polynesia)
The Brando is an exquisite luxury resort on French Polynesia’s remote private atoll of Tetiaroa and a benchmark for sustainable tourism. A founding member of Beyond Green (a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges exemplifying sustainability leadership) this South Pacific paradise is comprised of a dozen small islands surrounding a sparkling lagoon 30 miles north of Tahiti. The Brando was inspired by Marlon Brando’s vision to create a sustainable development that resonates with visitors and creates opportunities to get to know the place and people of French Polynesia. A pioneer in the hospitality industry since opening in 2014, The Brando is the first property in French Polynesia to obtain LEED Platinum Certification, the highest U.S. Green Building Council environmental certification for sustainable building design and operations. An on-site Ecostation operated by the Tetiaroa Society provides education and research, along with valuable data and insight for other hotels to follow in its footsteps. In celebration of Earth Day, The Brando will partner with local nonprofits Tetiaroa Society and Te mana o te moana for a 3-day clean-up of the Tetiaroa atoll. From April 19-22, a team of local volunteers will embark on a mission to clear and collect all marine debris brought in by the currents, which will then be studied in hopes of stopping future threats at the source.
Rates from $3,500 per night all-inclusive. www.thebrando.com
Note: The Brando reopens May 1, 2021.
5) Overwater Villas, Organic Gardens, an End to Plastic - InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (French Polynesia)
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa was the first property in the world to successfully implement a private air conditioning system using cold deep-sea water. The revolutionary Sea Water Air Conditioning - or SWAC – uses sustainable technology free from harmful hydrofluorocarbons that have been linked to global warming, and reducing energy use by 90%. The spectacular island resort is powered by solar panels, irrigates with reclaimed rainwater, and follows strict recycling policies ensuring all waste is responsibly processed or composted. The resort also boasts French Polynesia’s first Thalasso Spa, which integrates deep-sea water nutrients into healing treatments. On Earth Day 2021, the property will launch a new in-house water bottling plant which will eradicate 30,000 plastic bottles per year by producing premium filtered still and sparkling water for guests in reusable glass bottles. The resort will also debut an onsite organic garden which will grow herbs and produce to support the resort’s restaurant Le Corail in its goal to become the first zero-waste restaurant in French Polynesia. Rates from $950 per night. https://thalasso.intercontinental.com/
Note: The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa reopens May 1, 2021.
6) Luxury Eco-Wilderness Retreat – Kasiiya Papagayo (Costa Rica)
Kasiiya is one of Costa Rica’s most sustainable eco lodges. Located on the lush Papagayo Peninsula amidst a 123-acre tropical dry rainforest, the 7-tent retreat is designed specifically to adapt and evolve seamlessly with nature. Intentionally built to become a zero-impact eco-lodge and constructed by renowned architecture firm AW2, the entire structure is environmentally friendly and built solely from natural materials without the use of concrete or nails. Not a single tree was cut down during Kasiiya’s creation. The property is 100% solar powered, rainwater is drawn and treated fresh from an onsite well, and electric vehicles offer low-impact eco-safaris led by naturalist guides. Inclusivity and community are the foundation of Kasiiya. The property invests in the local community, sources goods from local artisans and farmers, and supports local entrepreneurs to build social infrastructure. Kasiiya feels worlds away, but is reachable via 40-minute drive from Liberia International Airport or 20-minute boat ride from Coco beach. Rates from $800 per night (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) www.kasiiya.com
7) Conscious Construction and Anti-Poaching – Zannier Hotels (global)
With five lodges across three continents, Zannier Hotels aims to leave a positive footprint in each destination they occupy, from Omaanda and Sonop in Namibia to Bãi San Hô in Vietnam and Phum Batang in Cambodia. Zannier prioritizes sustainability from construction by using local raw materials and techniques which honor tradition, employ and empower surrounding communities. Zannier relies on renewable energies to power their remote lodges, including solar, low-impact water treatment, double-flow ventilation, and car-free resorts. To reduce unnecessary waste, the lodges are decorated with antiques and locally-made furnishings, avoiding plastics at all cost. Menus feature local, organic produce, like rice cultivated on property at Bai San Ho in Vietnam, and honey from rooftop beehives at Omaanda in Namibia. In Africa, Zannier’s anti-poaching units and nature conservancy helps preserve, protect, and reintroduce local endangered species, and create respectful safaris for eco-conscious travelers. Rates vary. www.zannierhotels.com