6 International Resorts Dishing Pampered Eco Luxury

Rooms at Bardessono are designed to be indoor/outdoor. Photo Sam Todd Dyess flickr.

4. Bardessono Napa Valley, California.

When a hotel or resort actually has the audacity to call itself the "greenest luxury hotel in America" it is hard not to really take notice, as most bury the relevant eco-details deep within their Web sites. Bardessono, which opened in February 2009, was designed to win LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council as well as fit in to the community of Yountville in which it is nestled. "Green and glitzy" is how one writer described Bardessono in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. There's a geothermal heating system for the spa and geothermal wells to regulate room temperature; photovoltaic panels; and a gargantuan "Earth Tub" to compost food scraps from the garden and kitchen. The lobby of the hotel even has a vertical garden growing up the walls.

Graphic via Star Island Bahamas.

5. Star Island Bahamas Resort, Eleuthera.

You won't be able to get away to the 68-room Star Island Bahamas resort this year--only the first building on this off-the-grid island powered by renewable energy will be complete in 2009. But bookmark this baby for your big lifetime trip splurge, as Star Island will soon get green and luxury together in a delicious blend. A photovoltaic roof and wind turbine will soon serve each building. In addition, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water heaters, bamboo shading louvers, insulated concrete forms and geothermal are all expected to play a role in the buildings on the island. A 10-minute boat ride from Harbour Island (Eleuthera) the pinky-white beach sands, big sky, and swaying palms are all the elements needed to truly get away from it all. We can't all be Leonardo DiCaprio, who owns Blackadore Caye island in the Caribbean and is turning it into a green oasis. But we each deserve our few days of island paradise. And, lest you think of all those boats burning fuel zipping back and forth, rest easy--a "no fuel" marina is planned.

Photo of the balcony at the lodge via Campi Ya Kanzi.

6. Campi Ya Kanzi (Camp of the Hidden Treasure), Kenya. A Maasai-Led Walking Safari.

If your idea of ultimate luxury is never lifting a finger (or foot), then this vacation and luxury tent experience at Campi Ya Kanzi is probably not for you. But if beach just isn't your thing, and luxury is defined as sensory pleasure amid eco-splendor, then take a look at this Kenyan private reserve just 35 kilometers from Mt. Kiliminjaro. You'll spend a lot of CO2 getting here if you live in the U.S., but once you arrive in this vast wildlife area, you'll appreciate that the lodge was built using local materials (and not a single tree was cut). Solar collectors provide all the electricity, solar heaters the warm water, and eco-friendly charcoal made from coffee husks is used for cooking. Water is a precious resource at the camp and is collected from rooftops--gray water is recycled. Plus, a portion of proceeds is directed towards programs preserving local lions by compensating the Maasai for lost livestock. Other safari destinations such as Sabi Sabi may pay more attention to luxe, but less to the multiple eco-details.

Find dozens of other eco-lodges--including small gems close to home--at Eco Hotels of the World.

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Tags: Africa | Australia | Beaches | California | Caribbean | Central America | Conservation | Endangered Species | Holidays | Latin America | Leonardo Dicaprio | Oceans | Tourism | Waste


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