(Image via Uga Jungle Beach)
By Marina Starkey
With the brunt of winter upon us, we’re all plotting our next escape. Whether your desired adventures include exploring rainforests, mingling with desert wildlife, living in a luxury treehouse, or just lounging on a tropical beach, we’ve got you covered. What is truly amazing is that you can enjoy your stay guilt-free, as all these locations are environmentally friendly and proudly engage in sustainable practices. Here are several hotels and resorts that are guaranteed to ignite all of the wanderlust within you.
Kasbah Du Toubkal, Morocco
(Image via Kasbah du Toubkal)
This hotel, situated in a valley in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, prides itself on traditional Berber hospitality. The Kasbah has been transformed using traditional methods, from the home of a feudal caïd (local baron), into an unprecedented haven with accommodations to suit all budgets. Resting below the towering mountain, Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, the property offers unparalleled views of the mountains and valleys in the area. Complimentary walks, day treks, overnight treks, and a hike up Jbel Toubkal (4167m) are offered if you wish to explore further.
Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
(Image via Tswalu Kalahari)
Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve. Managed by the Oppenheimer family, the area makes conservation its absolute priority, allowing only thirty guests in the area at one time. One of National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World,” field guides and butlers help you choose how you’d like to spend your day in this lush desert. Take a leisurely game drive, or indulge in a gourmet picnic that features the flavors of Africa. You might just stay forever.
Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
(Image via Three Camel Lodge)
This Mongolian hotel in the Gobi desert also doubles as a base for scientific research and wildlife monitoring, actively fighting against animal poaching and unauthorized removal of fossils. They even recycle their organic waste to local farms to use as fertilizer, among other sustainable practices. The property itself is stunning — designed in accordance with the canons of Mongolian Buddhist architecture, without using a single nail.
Zhiwa Ling, Bhutan
(Image via Zhiwa Ling)
If you’re into impressive architecture (and really, who isn’t?), the Zhiwa Lang Hotel is designed with all of the sensibilities of a Bhutanese guesthouse, with hand-carved wooden cornices and stonework. It’s still equipped with all the 21st century technology you could dream up, however, so you don’t have to let your Instagram followers miss out on this inspiring locale. Spend a day in the spa or enjoy a traditional Bhutanese outdoor hot-stone bath. Find your “Om” in the Meditation House or dine in delectable restaurants with all the comforts of Bhutan.
Lapa Rios, Costa Rica
(Image via Lapa Rios)
Costa Rica’s Lapa Rios, located in the Osa Peninsula, is one of the few resorts in the world that is located in a rainforest and has access to pristine Pacific beaches. Stay in one of their bungalows for a truly unique experience that puts you right in the middle of one of nature’s most beautiful natural environments. You can take many guided tours of the area, including a “Starfish Walk” and even a “Night Walk” to discover unusual nocturnal creatures.
Tierra Atacama, Chile
(Image via Tierra Atacama)
The fact that Tierra Atacama has an “adventure spa philosophy” should be enough to sell you. This boutique hotel, on the edge of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, is famous for its ability to combine outdoor adventure with the comforts and hospitality of the indoors. Rates include excursions to local villages, tours of lagoons, volcanos, and even hot springs. After your day of exploring, you can find your inner peace in one of their spas, or lounge by the terrace fire pits.
Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
(Image via Spice Island Beach Resort)
This family-run boutique hotel is everything you imagine paradise to be. Situated on the world-famous Grand Anse beach in Grenada, this eight-acre property includes golfing, tennis, non-motorized water sports such as Hobie-cats, visits to the rainforest and sailing charters. Spice Island is proudly involved in sustainable environmental practices, such as energy efficiency, solar heating, and composting. It’s also entirely smoke-free, so you can definitely breathe easy during your stay.
Uga Jungle Beach, Sri Lanka
(Image via Uga Jungle Beach)
The name says it all — this beach resort offers the best of land and sea. Located in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, this place incorporates existing trees and plant life into the hotel’s design, making it feel like you’re staying in the coolest tree house ever. You can decide to have your room facing the beach, the lagoon, or fully immersed in the jungle. Besides being breathtaking to look at, Uga Jungle Beach also offers a plethora of excursions, snorkeling, and hot springs, with every activity being steeped in the rich history of Sri Lankan culture.
About the Writer
Marina is a student who finds most of her comfort in food and in cooking. She runs her own adventurous food blog, fondly called “Marinated” which you can explore at www.marinatedblog.com. While studying abroad in London, she realized that all she wants from life is to eat through all of the cities in the world and write about it. In between meals, Marina enjoys reading and writing poetry, playing her ukulele, and dreaming up the places she wants to travel to next. She’s currently finishing her degree in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College and is pretending the future isn’t happening yet.