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  • Writer's pictureBen & Ciara

Top 15 Eco-Stays Around the World

Updated: Feb 12

From the jungles of Costa Rica to the sun-soaked hills of Mykonos, here are 15 of our top eco-stays from around the world (in no particular order!) that you must visit, pioneering sustainable hotel business practices and leading by example for a more conscious travel experience.

Three photos side-by-side of a man and woman in front of a hotel, a wooden cabin with a bed in the middle of the room, and a ski chalet with mountains behind.

We are strongly against greenwashing of any kind, and are highly selective in which hotels and stays we choose to stay with. Learn more here about what we feel makes an eco-stay, and how our Anti-Greenwashing Policy plays into our decision-making process.


In the heart of Copenhagen lies the urban jungle of Manon Les Suites, a Bali-inspired oasis where sustainability is at the forefront of hospitality. A five-star hotel, guests of Manon Les Suites can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury hotel, while also being shown just how easy it can be to have a smaller environmental impact when traveling. Some of Manon Les Suites' sustainability initiatives include:

  • It was granted the coveted Golden Ø by the Danish Ministry of Food & Agriculture for ensuring that over 90% of all food served in the hotel is organic. All Guldsmeden Hotels also source as much produce as possible locally.

  • All toiletries and supplied products in rooms are single-use plastic-free and are Ecocert certified.

  • Plant-based options are available at breakfast upon request, as well as in the hotel's offered room service.

  • The hotel supports DIF get2sport, a charity providing economically-disadvantaged kids the opportunity to get involved with sports.

Just because you're visiting a big, bustling city doesn't mean that you can't do so sustainably! Thanks to Conscious Hotels' four locations around Amsterdam, visiting this vibrant city comfortably and in a more conscious way is easier than ever.


Close to most main attractions, and offering amenities like bike rental, an eco-shop, and plant-based restaurant, we know where we'll be staying in Amsterdam from now on! Some of Conscious Hotels' sustainability initiatives include:

  • All materials used in the hotels are certified cradle-to-cradle, recycled, or secondhand.

  • The hotel's locations were chosen to repurpose historic buildings around Amsterdam.

  • All four locations are certified Green Key Gold, the highest certification for sustainable tourism in the Netherlands.

  • Energy is only supplied via renewables, like Dutch windmills, with two locations using Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage and rooftop solar panels.

Staying on a Wikkelboat is a unique experience for nature-loving guests and city-dwellers alike. The boats, manufactured from 24 layers of corrugated, compressed, and coated cardboard form lightweight, yet comfortable accommodations, that are perfect for families and couples alike.


With fully functional kitchens, hammocks, bike storage, hot tubs, and more, the possibilities for Wikkelboat construction are endless! Some of the Wikkelboats' sustainability initiatives include:

  • The layered-cardboard construction insulates against sound and prevents heat-loss.

  • Roofs are covered in solar panels.

  • All taps are fitted with water-saving fixtures to conserve water.

  • All waste is hand-separated to ensure proper recycling and collection; compost bins are also fitted within each.

  • Provided coffees, teas, toiletries and more are all from local, sustainable brands.

First opened to the public in 2020, but initially designed as a garden shed for his mother, Cabin ANNA founder Caspar Schols is creating dynamic homes and stays that allow you to live in nature. Designed for occupants to easily shift the layers of the house based on season, mood, and preference, Cabin ANNA offers true off-grid integration with nature, without compromising comfort. Some of Cabin ANNA's sustainability initiatives include:

  • The cabin is entirely off-grid, relying on rooftop solar panels for electricity and hot water.

  • Tap water is sourced in small quantities from the surrounding Biesbosch wetlands, and is filtered for use in the shower and in sinks.

  • All provided paper products and toiletries are nature-friendly, and allow for easy breakdown in the cabin's personal septic tank.

  • Despite the park having excellent 5G throughout, the cabin itself does not have Wifi, which is perfect for truly switching off, unplugging, and relaxing.

If you've ever wanted to spend the night in a UFO, a private jet, a witch's hut, a Pac-Man-themed geodesic dome or even a submarine, Apple Camping is the place to be! With each creative and quirky stay up-cycled from decommissioned or scrap parts, Apple Camping's accommodation offers 'glamping' experiences unlike any other. Some of Apple Camping's sustainability initiatives include:

  • The ultimate 'glamping' experience, all accommodation options are made from up-cycled parts, vehicles, and interiors, and have been built by a small team of locals to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to guests.

  • Over 1000 trees have been planted on the property, restoring it from a former cattle field, to a lush oasis that allows for biodiversity to thrive.

Located near the beautiful towns of Totnes and Dartmouth in Devon, Kushti Camping offers two off-grid guest experiences for those looking to disconnect from the day-to-day. With an Airstream Safari caravan, and Mercedes Eagle Truck---a former news van---these stays on wheels offer the perfect getaway for couples and up to four-person families alike. Bespoke, up-cycled 'holiday wagons' also available for purchase. Some of Kushti Camping's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Both the Airstream and Mercedes Eagle Truck had former lives, and were rescued from scrap yards around the UK.

  • The double-hob cooker, mini fridge, tap and sink, lights, wood burner, stereo, and plug points are all powered via the rooftop solar panels.

  • Water comes from a local well, and is held in a large tank in the truck. It can also easily be refilled by any hose or pump around the UK if you choose to rent the vehicles and hit the road!

The lush cluster of Atlantic islands known as the Azores are home to dream-like views, rich biodiversity, and a fascinating history dating back to 700 AD. Near the capital city of Ponta Delgada lies Solar Branco Eco-Estate, a restored homestead with history dating back 150 years, with a modern mission. Some of Solar Branco's sustainability initiatives include:

  • It's the first Azorean hotel committed to producing zero food waste.

  • Single-use plastics and pesticide use on grounds are banned across the estate.

  • Adaptive reuse of building materials from the former estate, integrated during the restoration.

  • The founders of Solar Branco are also founders of the Ocean Azores Foundation, making the Azores a certified Whale Heritage Site, as well as supporting diverse marine conservation initiatives across the islands.

  • On-site wildlife ponds, gardens, and the Azores' only certified hedgehog rescue and rehabilitation centre.

Nestled in the jungle of Costa Rica's northernmost Alajuela Province lies Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, a tropical paradise for those looking for ultimate relaxation and adventure in nature. Close to the Miravalles Volcano and next to the Tenorio Volcano National Park, offers fast-paced adventures, as well as wellness options for when you want to slow down. Some of Rio Celeste Hideaway's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Situated on 12 hectares of primary and secondary forest, the hotel plants more native trees each year, in association with the ACCT, to mitigate its carbon footprint.

  • Wastewater is treated in a biocatalyst-fuelled bio-digester.

  • 95% of suppliers, collaborators, and staff are from local communities or producers.

  • Support the local La Paz School, to teach young children the importance of taking care of the planet.

Situated high in the mountains in what is known as the Cloud Forest, Senda Monteverde is a sustainable haven for those seeking adventure and more of a village feel in this beautiful part of the country. Some of Senda Monteverde's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Each individual cabin has solar panels on top to power the lights and heat showers.

  • A strict no-single-use-plastic policy is in place for both staff and guests.

  • A fully vegetarian and vegan menu is available for guests, and many herbs and vegetables are grown on-site in greenhouses and plant beds.

  • All artwork around the hotel comes from a local, non-profit women's cooperative.

  • The hotel only employs native Costa Ricans, supporting local communities and families.

Home to approximately 2.5% of the world's biodiversity, the Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica's south-westernmost coast is one of the most vital ecosystems in the world. With most of the peninsula protected by Corcovado National Park, hotels like Kunken Lodge are only permitted in certain areas, as well as must adhere to distinct sustainability standards. Some of Kunken's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Directly supports conservation through its on-site frog sanctuary, butterfly garden, and the Kunken Nature Reserve Wildcat Monitoring Program.

  • Plant-based options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Used only locally-sourced building materials in the construction of the six cabins and main buildings, as well as made sure to integrate the outdoors within each room.

Ecocirer Healthy Stay is haven of relaxation, nourishment, and reconnection with slow living. Located in the heart of Sóller's old town, owners Barbara and Martin have created an oasis for those looking to unplug, stroll the cobblestone streets in the sun, and marvel at the surrounding Tramuntana Mountains. Some of Ecocirer's sustainability initiatives include:

  • 100% upcycled and secondhand furniture, with local art by Francesca Martí.

  • Fully vegetarian-vegan breakfasts, prepared with local ingredients in-house.

  • No single-use plastic available on-site, all toiletries are refillable and are homemade products.

  • 100% cotton bed linens and towels, with changes done every three days to conserve energy and water use, unless otherwise requested.

  • Partners with local businesses for spa treatments, yoga classes, bike rental and more.

Located near the central Myconian town of Ano Mera, Koukoumi Vegan Hotel embodies the rich culture and history of Greek, Cycladic culture, while also offering guests a fully plant-based, ethical, and cruelty-free dining, relaxing, and stay experience.


From the delicious food, to the wonderful staff, organic Greek toiletries, and luxurious rooms, Koukoumi is Mykonos' best-kept secret! Some of Koukoumi's sustainability initiatives include:

  • All food served in the hotel is 100% plant-based and locally sourced wherever possible.

  • Solar-powered water heaters heat the pool, showers, taps, and more around the hotel.

  • A biological wastewater treatment system purifies or recycles water on-site - more here

  • The kitchen works to be as zero-waste as possible; whatever can't be reused or is not eaten by guests is composted.

Located on the small island of Vis, off Croatia's Dalmatian coast, WearActive owners Craig and Xania (and dog Zora) have created an active retreat that allows guests to experience the best of what both the island itself and the surrounding sea have to offer. From cycling to kayaking, to slack-lining, hiking, and cliff-jumping, there's something for all ages to enjoy. And the best part? It's entirely plant-based! Some of WearActive's sustainability initiatives include:

  • The retreat is located within a refurbished meeting house and wine press from the early 1900s.

  • Three vegan meals are prepared for guests each day, as well as snacks and dessert, made using local ingredients from Vis and mainland Croatia.

  • Solar panels cover the roof for electricity, and a rainwater collection system assists the on-site well for water use.

Situated in Europe's highest alpine meadow, Paradiso Pure Living offers views of some of the Dolomites' most breathtaking scenery, e-mountain biking, and vegan-vegetarian cuisine galore. This haven high in the mountains is truly a must-visit for both summer and winter adventure-lovers. Some of Paradiso's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Italy's first vegetarian hotel, and the only vegetarian-vegan hotel in Seiser Alm.

  • Situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, no new hotels are allowed to be built in the area; the hotel underwent an in-depth renovation in 2019, but had to adhere to strict sustainability standards, ensuring the surrounding environment was their #1 priority.

  • Encourages reconnection with nature, with no charging plugs next to beds, panoramic views, and the option of physical activities like e-biking and swimming in the saltwater pool.

  • Created the Pure.Art Circle, highlighting artists, encouraging them to come seek inspiration at the hotel, and offering residencies for exhibitions and events.

Situated on the Austrian-Italian border, La Vimea is Italy's first 100% vegan hotel, serving up delicious plant-based meals for guests and locals alike, as well as offering unmatched amenities, treatments, and experiences in nature. Our only warning: you may never want to leave. Some of La Vimea's sustainability initiatives include:

  • La Vimea's 'biotique' promise requires that everything in the hotel be vegan, organic, sustainable, seasonal, and handmade.

  • Dinner involves a five-course vegan menu, made using only the finest and often locally sourced products, with gardens that provide herbs, spices, and edible flowers for dishes.

  • Offers experiences like forest-bathing or shinrinyoku to reconnect with nature, heal the body, and practice being present.

  • No expensive wines or liquors are served at the bar, instead, natural herbal infusions and locally sourced wines are offered to minimise impact, and maximise health.

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What makes a top eco-stay?

As individuals of all ages act and live more consciously for the planet, booking an eco-stay for a holiday or any kind of trip is one way to truly immerse yourself in local culture, get to know wonderful people, and leave the destination you're visiting better off than you found it.


In our work, we've had the opportunity to visit some of the most incredible eco-stays in the world, but what makes a stay truly "eco"? For us, we reference our six Sustainable Stay Standards before choosing to visit a stay, which must be committed to bettering the lives of its guests and its surrounding environments. The six Sustainable Stay Standards include:


Energy

Did you know that over one-third of the global decarbonisation needed to reach net-zero by 2030 must come from energy efficiency? (IEA) We highly regard stays that use primarily renewable forms of energy, like solar power; but, when relying on local energy suppliers, it is not yet always possible to solely use renewables, so we also take into account how a stay ensures energy efficiency, how it encourages guests to be responsible and turn off lights or other appliances when not in use, and how it eliminates non-essential machines or appliances that require excessive amounts of energy, like mini fridges in hotel rooms!


Water

Water is our planet's most precious and most vital resource. The conscious consumption and usage of fresh water within any business is an essential practice, and one aspect of a sustainable stay that we take seriously. Some incredible ways that we've seen sustainable stays ensure that every last drop of water used doesn't go to waste is by installing solar water heaters, wastewater-purification systems, rainwater collection systems, and water saving taps, as well as using grey water for watering non-edible plants and limiting the amount of linen changes staff will do for a guest during their single stay, unless otherwise requested.


Design

We founded Going Green Media with the goal of seeking out sustainable architecture and design projects around the world. Years on, we still view conscious, sustainable design as an essential aspect of every building, garden, and interior. Repurposing historic buildings, using natural, local building materials, 'upcycling' secondhand furniture, planting native trees and flowers, working with local artisans and artists to supply decor for interiors, and more are just a few of the countless ways conscious design can be simply integrated into any stay!


Food

Did you know that those who follow a plant-based (vegan) diet are responsible for 75% less carbon emissions than meat-eaters? (Study) As long time vegans ourselves, we believe that stays offering menus consisting of 80-100% plant-based meals, or even separate vegan menus, are not only better for the planet, but for human health too! As more and more vegan hotels pop up across the globe, both traditional dishes and modern takes on meals are being created by talented chefs, prioritising local, seasonal ingredients that are impossibly flavourful and jam-packed with nutrients! This is vital for reducing carbon emissions generated by the transport of ingredients, boosts the local economy, and introduces regional dishes and cultures to new audiences through delicious cuisine.


Waste

Material Waste

Waste management varies by local authority, state, county, or country, depending on where a stay is located. The best policy for limiting waste is banning single-use plastic from the property, and offering fully recyclable or refillable containers to guests, and for use by staff on the property. Where this isn't available, it is imperative that stays work with their local authority to see what can be recycled, or find local artisans turning material waste into art.


Food Waste

Minimising food waste, too, is an essential aspect of running a sustainable kitchen. Using food scraps in innovative ways, or ensuring that any unusable bits are composted for use around town or on the stay's grounds is an excellent way to reduce a stay's carbon and methane footprint.


Human Waste

For more remote eco hotels, one excellent way of providing grounds and gardens with essential nutrients is by having on-site composting toilets. They save on water, and can be extremely beneficial for local biodiversity of properly maintained. Self-contained septic tanks are excellent too, for areas where there aren't large networks of pipes.


Community

Last but not least, the importance of community can never be overlooked. One critical aspect of a hotel being truly sustainable is its involvement and support of the local community. Whether that's through hiring only local staff, financially backing local schools, collaborating with other small businesses in the area, or purchasing produce and other goods from neighbouring farms or traders----the possibilities are endless and the positive impacts these choices can have are like a domino-effect.

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For more green projects, be sure to follow along with us @goinggreenmedia on Instagram or Going Green on YouTube

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We're Ben & Ciara

going green media

We film green projects around the world that inspire action. From coral restoration projects, to vertical farms, and more! Join us as we work to amplify the voices, projects, and innovations creating a better, greener world.

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