The Best Luxury Eco-Resorts Around the World

Photo courtesy of Longitude 131°, Voyages Hotels & Resorts

Eco-resorts are popping all across the globe — some more laid-back and rustic; others embracing high-end luxury. Many notable eco-resorts have made their home around some of the most raw, undisturbed places on Earth. You may think that building a resort in a pristine setting is an oxymoron, but it could actually benefit the surrounding local communities and wildlife when money is used to provide economic opportunities and protection for endangered habitats. As climate change and an exploding population continue to reek havoc on the planet, more and more hospitality companies are adopting socially responsible business plans. These six luxury resorts have begun doing their part and let’s hope others will follow suit.


Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia –Gayana Eco Resort

Why we love it:

-The only property to feature its own on-site Marine Ecology Research Center propagating endangered Giant Clams and restoring natural coral reefs

-Over-water bungalows that sit at the edge of a rainforest and look out to lucid waters thriving with coral reefs

-Organic bath amenities

Photo property of Six Senses Hideaway

Hua Hin, Thailand — Six Senses Hideaway

Why we love it:

-The hotel has an organic vegetable garden and orchard (using permaculture principals); a  hydroponic garden; a mushroom cultivation hut where they grow oyster and woodear mushrooms on sawdust; and “green” waste management, chemical and energy programs

-The ultra-private poolside villas

-Quintessential Thai hospitality


Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — Gaia Hotel & Nature Reserve

Why we love it:

– The hotel has received four out of five “leaves” by the country’s Sustainability Certification program for tourist enterprises

-It sponsors programs for intelligent consumption of energy, water, reutilization of waste, compost production from waste, the rescue of endemic species, the regeneration of forest zones, and the protection of national parks and maritime zones.

-The hotel is situated in a lush nature reserve, away from the touristy center of Manuel Antonio.


 Photo courtesy of  Longitude 131°, Voyages Hotels & Resorts

Northern Territory, Australia — Longitude 131°

Why we love it:

-15 individual “tents” sit atop of steel stilts so as not to disturb the desert sands beneath it

-The resort runs on solar power

-It’s a World Heritage site

-There is nothing to do here but relax and enjoy the transcendental landscapes

 Photo property of URBN Hotel Shanghai

Shanghai, China — The URBN Hotel Shanghai

Why we love it:

-It’s Asia’s first carbon-neutral hotel

-The hotel’s restaurant, Downstairs with David Laris (also carbon-neutral), buys a majority of its ingredients from local farmers and uses free-range meats

-Rooms were created using recycled, raw and local materials

-Gorgeous rooftop gardens


KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa — Phinda Forest Lodge

Why we love it:

-Guests stay in sustainably built glass houses situated in the middle of a rare sand forest

-Safari through seven incredible ecosystems of  the Phinda Game Reserve is included in the price of the stay

-The lodge’s parent company, &Beyond, sponsored a land claim agreement that restored 9, 000 acres of land to ancestral owners.

-Supports several programs for the protection and reintroduction of animal species living in Phinda Game Reserve

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The Culture-ist