For several years, the luxury hotel industry has been taking up the green wave challenges. The race for eco-labels and certifications is launched, with increasing efforts and multiple innovations. The most beautiful addresses in the world are drawn around responsible programs, which have become the very essence of these exceptional sites. Zoom in on these destinations wherein the demand for luxury and nature’s offer are all in one.
Try out yoga before the rising sun, which illuminates the heights of Bali, slipping into the skin of Robinson Crusoe from the shores of a private Thai bay or still, discover the Senegalese culture from one of the country’s wild coasts; these are some of the unique opportunities for the selection of luxury eco-friendly hotels that is been offered by Little Guest. There are many eco-resorts whose reputation can only foster the needs to believe in the blend between luxury hotels and the preservation of the environment…
Whenever a new luxury hotel is erected somewhere in the world, its first customers, as well as its main competitors cannot help but scrutinize its « ecological charter ». The green wave in the 4-star and 5-star hotel industry has been growing steadily since 2010. Small and large hotel groups are ceaselessly seeking the (Green Key, Green Globe, European Ecolabel, etc.) labels and certifications, which showcase their eco-responsible programs. If ecology is enlisted as a new requirement, it is a major challenge for high-end hotels that want to participate in the change, without sacrificing the comfort of its customers. Among the most coveted ecological services in the sector, we will find organic orchards and vegetable gardens, cooking fresh products from local agriculture, improved waste sorting, removal of in-room televisions, “zero plastic” policies, awakening activities in contact with nature (outdoor yoga, eco-educational children’s club, etc.) or furniture made entirely of recyclable material.
The advanced technology that has excited the world, a few years ago, the architects and decorators of the most beautiful hotel addresses, have today been surpassed by the ecological norms and engagements. Sustainable tourism is obviously the latest trend and it is increasingly partaking in hotel management itself. This is how big names in the hotel industry conceptualize idyllic spots from a strategy and strong environmental values, like the famous Hotel Brando, property of the British actor and director, Marlon Brando, located in French Polynesia. In-house equipment, resources and practices are fundamentally reviewed to reflect the most innovative responsible ideals and thus, outclassing self-proclaimed « green » institutions by the superficial movement of « greenwashing ».
It is simply because she fills us with emotions that we want to travel through our dear blue planet. Unfortunately, sometimes we have no choice to go against it, in order to discover the wonders that it has to offer. For example, when you book a trip to the Maldives or any other exotic destination, the plane is the only way to get there in less than…. say 30 days. Fortunately for our sense of guilt, some airlines, the so-called « conscious » ones, ask their passengers to « pay off » their carbon footprint by paying an additional sum when booking their tickets (Brussels Airlines, etc.). Another popular idea, which seduces the children a lot, would be that each member of the tribe participating in the trip should plant a tree in the country visited, just in a bit to balance things in some way … On our side, at the editorial level, we would advise families to wisely choose their means of transport between the airport and the hotel. If the weight or the number of your luggage permits you, it will be preferable you choose the sea road via a sailboat or to simply take the train. If not, why not rent an electric car for the duration of your stay?
If the parents are the most concerned by the climatic problem, the most affected by this crisis remain the children. The new generations, who are constantly performing street demonstrations in increasing numbers on the streets of Europe and North America, are sending a strong message to governments around the world: they want the protection of the environment to be amongst the most urgent new political programs. And because of this, the millennial generation for example, which are driven by social networks and especially Instagram, dream more than others to « see the world ». Deep down, dear parents, are family trips not an object of transmission and sharing, if not the most beautiful gifts? Following this logic, this is the best opportunity to introduce your little kids to new daily rituals for a better future.
Who said we could not live a daydream without taking responsibility? In 2019, we tend to think that luxury enthusiasts have no ecological conscience … well, think again! As a globetrotter parent, we can pursue our requirements in terms of comfort and service, while preserving the idyllic place that welcomes us from any trace of our passage. Is it not by travelling through the most beautiful landscapes in the world that we realize how important the protection of the environment is for future trips? At the editorial, we are firmly convinced. That’s why the Little Guest’s luxury family hotel collection brings together the best eco-friendly addresses that are spread all over the world.
Located on the Southwest coast of Bali, in the traditional village of Cepaka, surrounded by rice paddies and rainforest, the exclusive Villa Sungai welcomes globe-trotting families who seek relaxation and privacy. The property, which is not like a hotel or complex, combines two luxury villas decorated in the most authentic Balinese style, retouched by the artistic eye of the French designer, Philippe Starck. Villa Sungai comprises of two 18-meter private infinity pools, a treatment room which is appealing to children and a relaxation area dedicated to yoga.
The property is appreciated by children because of all the attention being attributed to them during their stay; from the making of fresh homemade mashed potatoes to the nurses for babysitting service, to their own spa treatment card. Parents, on the other hand, love the high-end local cuisine, the Balinese massages and the connecting room.
As from 640€/night
The prestigious Soneva Kiri eco-resort is located on the shores of the Tha island of Koh Kood, in the heart of a private bay where 36 fully decorated and responsibly built villas have been erected. Bordered by a lush jungle and a white sand beach, the site can be referred to as a family and intimate tropical paradise, preserved from the bustle of the usual touristic routes. This haven of peace applies a strict ecological charter, including a plastic product ban on the hotel grounds and telephones beyond the reception lobby. Soneva Kiri also funds several associations working for the protection of local communities and the cleanup of the oceans.
Parents staying at Soneva Kiri love the gourmet dinner suspended in a palm-lined bamboo mezzanine, an unusual activity during which the service is provided by an aerial acrobat. The little ones will go crazy for the mini jungle hikes that are organised by the experienced animators of the eco-educational kids’ clubs, a new trend for 4- and 5-star hotels.
As from 904€/night
Visit the west coast of Senegal, on the road to Palmarin, a 1h30 drive from Dakar, at the gateway to the beautiful Patrick’s Lodge! Ensued from a family project in honour of the Senegalese lands that punctuated the early childhood of its owners, the estate covers 11 hectares of untamed nature, on the edge of the ocean and a wild beach of unparalleled beauty. What’s the asset of this exceptional address? All decorations on the site were made by local craftsmen from recyclable products: from the outdoor playground for children to the furniture of the family houses. The hotel staff is made up entirely of people from neighbouring villages, people who are tender and passionate about welcoming what they call « happy smalas ».
Cultural immersion is inevitable at Patrick’s Lodge. It is also the desire of its creator, Coralie, who along with his team, organises a series of singular activities to share with the family: trips by canoe, fishing alongside a local expert and visits to neighbouring villages where smaller guests mingle with local children for an improvised hide and seek and dance around a bonfire and djembe players.
As from 490€/night
Irrespective of the places you visit, be it a beach, an archaeological site or a rainforest, always remember to pick up all the trash you find on your way. Of course, you should also hold onto your small detritus / rubbish until you come across a trash. A last piece of advice on this point: avoid bringing plastic packaging to the site of your choice, at all cost. As a reminder, a plastic bottle takes over 1,000 years to disintegrate. What a mess!
When planning a mountain hike, diving excursion or safari with your tribe, avoid approaching animal species too closely and do not pick up any plant species. Do you know that simple contact with a branch of coral can destroy decade-long work efforts? The fauna must remain wild; by so saying, we mean it should not be fed, touched or pursued. Keep a reasonable distance to the animals and strictly follow the safety instructions given by your guide to ensure the safety of your most curious children.
The chefs of our eco-friendly hotels do not lack imagination in creating tailor-made vegetarian menus. Follow your desires, be appetite-filled and let nature inspire you! Take advantage of this biological setting to accompany the brigades in picking vegetables from the garden and ripe fruit from the orchard. The hotel of your choice probably offers a culinary activity dedicated to the preparation of local and seasonal products. Ask for more information from your Little Guest Concierge!
Everyone loves to have a hot bath or take several showers a day during their holidays. Though, however, this is the worst thing to do, especially in the most remote areas of the globe. It is extremely important to shorten everyone’s daily shower, just as it is required to preserve your bath towels. Ask for advice from the concierge at your hotel and collect a series of tips and tricks that promote energy savings.
Respecting the use of marked paths is the best way to avoid the erosion and trampling over preserved and untamed nature. While it may be tempting to venture off the built path, respect for nature will always prevail over your so-called exploratory talents. You will have all the time and space to discover the most beautiful spots of your destination from the existing hiking trails. If you like night walks, remember to bring a solar-powered lamp to light your way in the dark.
Sources : Le Routard, Cairn.info, La Libre.be, Nomade Magazine.
Sarah, 26 years old, Italian food and travel addict, from Brussels