As promised, we remain dedicated to inspiring you through this uncertain time with our 'World's Best.' series, guaranteed to reignite your passion for travel.
This week we've curated a collection of hotels and resorts at the forefront of sustainability, to celebrate those who are making a difference.
SABI SAND, MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA
Nestled within South Africa's renowned Sabi Sand Reserve, Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve offers an exceptional eco-safari experience. The camp is entirely off grid, using solar panels to generate power, whilst the grey-water recycling system ensures water consumption remains as frugal as possible. Game drives are taken in customised Land Cruiser Electric safari vehicles, so there are no CO2 emissions. The vehicles are also extremely quiet, making them less intrusive to the animals in the surrounding natural environment. Cheetah Plains is also creating local employment and supporting early childhood development in the neighbouring community.
This 18th century villa has recently been renovated and redecorated using environmentally friendly products and materials and offers Farm-to-Fork Cuisine set amid 750 acres of organic farmland. The on-site working farm uses both innovative and traditional farming techniques to harvest fresh produce, used for the farm-to-fork menus, as well as organic soaps and spa products. The heating and water systems are fuelled by solar panels whilst chipfired boilers are heated by wood harvested from the estate's forest. The gardens are fed with filtered, harvested rainwater and natural and manmade lakes supply irrigation for the farmland.
Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu offers stunning accommodation that combines elegant, organic design with eco-awareness, to great effect. The on-site marine team strives to inspire guests by promoting education and awareness of the environment. The team also work in partnership with specialist organisations to research turtle hatching habits, whilst marine biologists embark on dolphin cruises to share information and develop a Dolphin Code of Conduct. Six Senses Laamu tries to avoid creating waste by reducing printing, packaging, banning plastics and recycling organic waste for mulching. The resort also donates 50% of the revenue from water sales to a fund which provides clean water to local communities in need.
OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA
Situated on one of Jamaica's premier private beaches, Jamaica Inn offers an intimate and elegant hideaway, with all suites overlooking the beach or sea. The property receives high praise for its commitment to creating eco-friendly and eco-aware programs, which engage both staff and guests. Each year, the resort's crescent of beach and nearby Oracabessa Beach are the sites of the Sea Turtle Recovery Programme, which protects hundreds of nesting sites and releases thousands of Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings into the sea. On the conservation front, Jamaica Inn recently added solar panels, a recycling initiative and an on-site composting system that repurposes food scraps to the garden, while flowers used throughout the hotel are grown at the on-site greenhouse.
Petit St Vincent
St VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
As part of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World collection, Petit St. Vincent is dedicated to sustainability, enacting measures such as eliminating plastic water bottles on the island (glass bottles are filled via an on-site desalination plant), as well as working on coral restoration and reef monitoring projects around the island. The resort also has an ever-expanding organic garden, which supplies a large portion of the produce prepared in the resort's kitchen. In addition to all of this, the island owners have also set up a Children's Scholarship Fund to assist the children of the employees with financial support for education.
Song Saa Private Island lies in the Koh Rong Archipelago in Cambodia. Tropical reefs, deserted stretches of beach and lush rainforest are all on the doorstep, offering guests a true escapist experience. This unique destination spans two islands, connected by a footbridge over a protected marine reserve, and is as sustainable as possible. Most of the materials used to build the resort are recycled, or locally and responsibly sourced. Song Saa also has its own purpose-built sewage and irrigation system, ensuring that no waste enters seawaters, whilst 100% of waste is recycled. Most of the food is also locally sourced, with the herbs and vegetables used in the restaurants supplied from the in-house garden.
Six Senses Samui
Located on a softly rolling headland on the Northeast coast of Koh Samui, Six Senses Samui is completely integrated into its green surroundings and is nearly impossible to see from the outside. Sustainability is nothing new here, with the resort first winning a Green Globe 21 Benchmark back in 2006. Since then, the team have continuously developed new initiatives and procedures to minimise environmental impact, including creating their own biodiesel fuel and filtering and recycling wastewater. One of the latest sustainability initiatives is "Farm on the Hill", which produces organic eggs, goats milk and an abundance of fresh vegetables, as well as using a natural reed bed system to filter and remineralise grey water, which is then used for irrigation. This provides guests with fresh produce via an authentic Thai farm experience, as well as benefitting the local community.
Mashpi Lodge is a contemporary eco lodge that sits on a plateau 900 metres above sea level in the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. This unique position offers nature lovers the opportunity to discover the plethora of plants, birds and mammals that have made the rainforest their home. Mashpi Lodge is as environmentally friendly as possible and has been built using sustainable techniques and materials, whilst water comes from the local rivers and is biologically filtered before it returns to the forest. The bathroom soaps and shampoos provided for guests are all biodegradable too. Mashpi Lodge is also a research station at the forefront of rainforest protection, where biologists have set out to discover as much as possible about the diverse local ecosystem. The research station has been involved in different projects with several universities and has also discovered new species. Guests are welcome to volunteer their time to help the research, donate equipment or provide funding.