World's Sexiest Ecolodges
Condé Nast Traveller India|October - November 2019
World's Sexiest Ecolodges
At last, aesthetes can enjoy escapes that are as easy on the eyes as they are the environment, writes Juliet Kinsman
Juliet Kinsman

‘Sustainable’ is a label we see splashed everywhere, from denim jeans and organic cosmetics to investments and software. Once a buzzkill of a buzzword to luxury travelers, hearing that a hotel was “eco” suggested there might be some scrimping on style and comfort. Thankfully, a new generation of switched-on hoteliers and inspired hospitality brands are making it sexy to be more responsible. It’s time to reclassify what luxury means when it comes to where we rest our heads on a feel-good holiday...

THREE CAMEL LODGE

DALANZADGAD, MONGOLIA

Opulent and over-the-top are old hat when it comes to adventuring. Better to splash out on once-in-a-lifetime vacations that have a positive social and environmental impact. All the better if it’s a ger in the Gobi Desert—that’s the name for these traditional round yurts covered with felt. This lodge is one for true nomads, not those of the digital variety, as it’s totally off-grid. It has special practices in place to make the most of the little water it has. It’s also in cahoots with scientific research and wildlife monitoring programs to give back to the Gobi. (threecamellodge.com; doubles from MNT21,50,000 or 58,200)

THE BRANDO

FRENCH POLYNESIA

Its rare desert island retreats manage to be so ridiculously spoiling and sybaritic and yet so sensitive to sustainability. No wonder the A-listers love it. It may be the panoramas of the lagoon here, northeast of Tahiti, that are likely to have you swooning, but the scientific smarts of the hotel’s air-conditioning system are also seductive. At this paradise private-island resort, the 35 carbon-neutral beachfront villas flaunt The Brando’s own seawater-cooled invention—powered by sun rays and coconut oil, SWAC is their cunning AC system. (thebrando.com; doubles from XPF4,42,000 or 2,93,970 for two nights)

GROOTBOS PRIVATE NATURE

RESERVE GANSBAAI, SOUTH AFRICA

Biodiversity is the siren call of this remarkable ecolodge. Not just a pretty 500-hectare property, its looks, and cuisine entice Cape Town’s cognoscenti to dine here—though we must underline that the sustainability dashboard of this Long Run member matches function to form and flavor in a truly ingenious way. Its supply chain is carefully monitored and kept to a 50-km radius; free-range piggies on its farm snaffle up organic kitchen waste; and under the lodge’s ‘Growing the Future’ programme, fruit and veggies are bought directly from local women. (grootbos.com; doubles from ZAR11,500 or 55,000)

SONEVA JANI

MEDHUFARU ISLAND, MALDIVES

Smell fragrances free of chemicals; taste organic flavors lovingly cultivated by hand; touch furnishings crafted by artisans, not from a factory. Admire the star-filled skies above from bed through retractable roofs or from your over-the-water swing seat. Then salute the waste and water-filtration initiatives behind the scenes that ensure this is pure guilt-free luxury. Sonu Shivdasani’s three barefoot-luxury resorts win awards for their architecture and design, unrivaled guest experiences as well as all that they do to preserve their Maldivian and Thai environments. (soneva.com; doubles from MVR52,500 or 2,46,000)

HECKFIELD PLACE

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October - November 2019