According to Booking.com, 69 percent of U.S. travelers identified sustainable travel as being important to them, while 53 percent said they were more determined to make sustainable choices when looking to travel again in the future.
As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day (April 22), we’ve rounded up 10+ hotels that go the extra mile to care for the planet and give back to their local communities. These properties, including some of the world’s most luxurious 5-star hotels, are spotlighting sustainability with eco-friendly adventures and cool conservation-focused initiatives – from recycling paper workshops to low-waste vegetable menu offerings and complimentary reef-safe sunscreen.
Banyan Tree (Properties include: Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay)
Rooted in their corporate ethos of “Embracing the Environment, Empowering People,” Banyan Tree’s sustainability approach emphasizes on building in harmony with nature and contributing to the growth and development of the community where each of their hotels are planted. Banyan Tree prioritizes sustainability every single day and has continued to enhance an array of social giveback programs at their resorts including recycling paper workshops at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Meatless Mondays at Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués and tree-planting events at Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay. Banyan Tree Spas at each property also prove that sustainability is engrained in the brand’s DNA; a few of the practices put in place include using handmade ceramic containers for treatment products instead of single-use plastic and the implementation of biodegradable massage oils. This Earth Day, Banyan Tree Group is launching an extensive “Restore our Earth” campaign aligned with Earthday.org’s theme, which includes:
- “Stay for Good” program in partnership with The Canopy Project, where Banyan Tree will donate one sustainably planted tree for every one night booked throughout the campaign
- A voluntary pledge centered around energy conservation for visitors and future guests to take part in
- A global cleanup so individuals can experience first-hand the extent of our world’s single-use plastic problem, and begin to recognize how systemic our pollution and waste challenges are
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda – Miches, DR
Opened in November 2019 as the very first operating resort in the emerging region of Miches, a secluded paradise located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, this eco-chic, all-inclusive resort was built and is currently operating with sustainability in mind. Currently performing under the Green Globe certification, meeting the highest standards of sustainability, the resort offers additional eco-friendly initiatives, which include:
- On-site “community” garden, providing guests a hands-on opportunity to learn about planting, recycling and composting local ingredients
- Staff uniforms constructed from recycled plastic, with the manufacturing process using approximately 40 percent less energy consumption than polyester production (and recycles more than 200,000 plastic bottles in the process!)
- To ensure minimal impact of the land’s natural state, Club Med worked with local government agencies to perform an in-depth environmental impact study, enacting a tree replanting program where every tree removed has been replanted on or around the resort area (2,000+ trees, over 93 acres)
- Growing more than 30,000 new plants in a dedicated plant nursery
- Solar panel project – an estimated 45,000 square feet of solar panels are being installed in the resort to generate renewable energy
- Hydration stations throughout the resort for guests to refill reusable water bottles
- Features a natural pool, filtered by plants and without any chemicals
- Enacting company-wide ban of single-use plastics
- While in construction, the infrastructure underwent a series of assessments in order to earn its BREEAM certification
The Westin Cape Coral Resort – Cape Coral, FL
Located in Florida’s scenic Tarpon Point Marina, The Westin Cape Coral is a luxury resort known for its sustainable practices and environmentally friendly curated guest experiences. As an active member of the Florida Green Lodging Program, The Westin Cape Coral vows to conserve water and energy, minimize waste and pollution generation, and improve indoor air quality. Sustainable efforts extend to the resort’s Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro and The Nauti Mermaid Dockside Bar & Grill where the head Chef sources seasonal ingredients from local vendors and cures meat on-site to minimize the need for imported goods while engineering low-waste vegetable and seafood-forward menu offerings. Guests can participate in The Westin Cape Coral’s commitment to sustainability with eco-friendly activities such as exploring the resort’s surrounding navigable canals and waterways (more than 400 miles!), paddle boarding with opportunity to see aquatic creatures in their natural habitats, and hiking Cape Coral’s local trails and parks such as Shell Factory & Nature Park and the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. In line with the resort’s pledge, The Westin Cape Coral recently underwent a $15 million dollar renovation inspired by the concept of biophilia, with room interiors constructed utilizing natural materials locally sourced from Florida such as wood, straw and glass in their true form, to evoke a calming, peaceful ambiance whilst complementing stunning waterfront views from each guestroom.
Sesuit Harbor House – Cape Cod, ME
The 21-room Sesuit Harbor House is a charming respite in the heart of Cape Cod, offering travelers an eco-friendly escape from metropolitan life with impactful green initiatives dedicated to mitigating the prevalent effects of climate change on the Cape. Sesuit Harbor House makes it easy for guests to participate in the inn’s sustainable initiatives by implementing a property-wide ban on Styrofoam, offering filtered tap water instead of bottled water to reduce plastic waste, composting organic waste for re-use in gardening projects, and incorporating eco-friendly landscaping to reduce nitrogen run off into the local waterways. Additional thoughtfully curated programming includes three onsite beehives to promote local honeybee conservation (which were recently in a drastic state of decline in Cape Cod!), as well as five resident goats whose feed is the excess grass trimmings from the inn’s garden projects. Providing experiences that weave modernly sustainable amenities with nostalgia-inducing accommodations, Sesuit Harbor House is also set on a 2.5 acre lawn, supplying travelers with ample space to gather and safely engage with fellow guests while stargazing, picnicking, playing outdoor games or flipping burgers at the property’s soon-to-debut outdoor grilling area.
The Spectator Hotel + French Quarter Inn – Charleston, SC
The Spectator Hotel has made eco-friendly programming a priority through their Food Waste Diversion Program, where half-eaten food items such as fruit and pastries are put into a food digester, which turns them into reusable water that goes back in the sewer system. Since August 2018, the hotel has diverted over 35,000 pounds of food waste from landfill while creating 2,960 gallons of water (equivalent to planting 320+ trees!). Additionally, within the next 12 months, the hotel will divert 100,000 plastic water bottles from landfills by partnering with Proud Source to supply the hotel with a sustainable aluminum alternative. Sister property French Quarter Inn, just footsteps away, is also making the same pledge.
Altamer Resort – Anguilla
Anguilla’s hidden gem, Altamer Resort is located on the pristine beaches of Shoal Bay West, and currently has two private villas available for long-term stays, with two more coming soon. The Antilles Pearl villa spans 10,800 square-feet, 1 master suite, 4 additional bedrooms, and 6 bathrooms, fitting a total of 10 guests and giving travelers plenty of room to enjoy their private and secluded vacation. The luxury resort consists of plenty of indoor and outdoor space and gives guests private beachfront access to Anguilla’s pristine beaches, a heated swimming pool, spacious pool deck with chaise lounges, umbrellas and a hammock, an outdoor covered terrace with living and dining space, a 50-foot skywalk and rooftop terrace with stunning 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and St. Martin.
- In an effort to support Anguilla’s natural environment and ecosystems, Altamer Resort has committed to offset carbon emissions from all guests traveling to and from Altamer as part of the inclusion in all future bookings. As Altamer Resort continues to be a home away from home for travelers visiting the island, the resort is dedicating its’ time and resources to explore energy efficiency, water efficiency, natural and organic bath amenities, eco-friendly cleaning services, and contribute to zero waste efforts.
Zemi Beach House – Anguilla
Nestled on Shoal Bay East, Zemi Beach House is a luxury, boutique hotel welcoming travelers to experience all the island has to offer, from rich, Caribbean cuisine, to relaxing wellness experiences and handpicked rum, all while committing to sustainability. Through Zemi’s initiatives such as using natural materials and sustainable woods, smart technology, and eco-friendly practices, and conservation efforts such as sourcing local foods, preserving native plants and more, Zemi’s long-term goal is green. Additionally, Zemi Beach House’s crowned jewel is undoubtedly its award-winning Zemi Thai House Spa. Nestled inside an authentic Thai House that was transported from Thailand to Anguilla in the 1980s and carefully restored on-island spanning 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space – making Zemi the perfect wellness escape.
Urashima Village – Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
Newly opened in January 2021, Urashima Village is a remote luxury ryokan perched along the Seto Peninsula that seamlessly combines beachside living and mountain forestry. Each of Urashima’s three, 2-floor buildings were designed to blend in with the environment with locally sourced materials, local amenities, and minimalistic interiors. Each building accommodates groups of 2-11 people and come with a kitchen and dining area, a living space large enough for yoga and meditation, and a balcony. Travelers will experience renowned omotenashi (hospitality) and immerse themselves in Japanese countryside while getting lost when visiting Maruyama, an uninhabited island directly across from Urashima and only accessible twice a day during low time.
- 100% renewable energy throughout the facility: 90% of electricity is supplied by solar panels in the facility; the rest is purchased with a certificate of renewable energy.
- All the wood furniture is sourced locally from the prefecture.
- Onsite plants are native to the area.
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club – Waikiki, Hawaii
Travelers can get inspired and immerse themselves in local life and eco-friendly initiatives at Waikiki’s most popular and artistic hotel, the retro inspired Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. Located only moments away from the iconic Waikiki beach, The Surfjack is the premier choice for families seeking a local experience with true Hawaii hospitality.
- To protect Hawaii’s beaches and coral reefs, the hotel offers complimentary eco-friendly amenities like an onsite reef safe sunscreen dispenser along with a reusable Surfjack tote bag that items like a reusable water bottle.
- Locally sourced designs liked framed vintage beach postcards line the walls while Oahu-based aloha wear company Tori Richards dress the bedroom headboards. Local artists like Honolulu-based design studio The Vanguard Theory were commissioned to design the hotel’s 1960s art-filled, mid-century interiors and spaces. The hotel called over a dozen island artists to help outfit the spaces like the wall mural titled, “Our Treehouse,” painted by local Hawaii artists, The Wooden Wave, a colorful POW! WOW! Hawai’I piece in the café area and the swoon-worthy Wish You Were Here pool which features original typography from Hawaii artist, Matthew Tapia.
- Onsite Surfjack bikes are available for use to encourage guests to lower their carbon footprint.
Satoyama Stay — Gifu Prefecture of Japan
In 2010, the Churab-boshi Company in Hida Japan, set to revitalize the local area through adventure experiences. As they were doing so, the company noticed that an increasing amount of traditional Japanese homes were being abandoned. In response the company now preserves these homes, called kominkas, with the help of local artisans, producers, and guides. Two currently exist, Satoyama Nino-machi and Satoyama Tono-machi.
- All furniture is commissioned by local furniture makers and craftsman to revitalize the local economy.
- 100% of the hotel power is purchased from a natural power company.
- Room amenities and interiors were designed by local artisans to help sustain the craftsmanship.
The Sinclair, Autograph Collection – Fort Worth, TX
The Sinclair is the first hotel in the world to power itself entirely through ethernet cables, reducing the building’s energy consumption by over 30%. For those who want to chip in to further conserve energy, the downtown Fort Worth hotel’s fitness center allows guests to help power the hotel through their cardio workouts on the workout bikes. The sophisticated guest rooms are equipped with Kohler digital showers, electric mirrors, LG OLED TVs, LG wallpaper TVs, and Network Presence Sensing technology, which automatically customizes lighting, shades and locks, while the amenities include a unique podcast recording studio in the lobby. All of these high-tech, eco-friendly features are housed within a beautiful adaptive reuse 1940s Art Deco building in the heart of downtown Fort Worth.
ESPACIO The Jewel of Waikiki – Honolulu, HI
This 9-floor, 9-suite boutique property is the first luxury hotel in Hawaii to offer guests complimentary ocean-friendly sunscreen in partnership with Shiseido. Responding to Hawaii’s ban on sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, the hotel was pleased to introduce guests to Shiseido’s new reef-safe Ultimate Sun Protector SPF 50+ found alongside the property’s host of coveted amenities. The Hawaii-compliant formula is powered by WetForce x HeatForce technology, allowing for longer wear and clear coverage on all skin tones. Hawaii’s most private enclave offers 2,250 square-foot suites that each occupy a full floor and come equipped with a jacuzzi-clad ocean-view balcony, 3.5 spa-like bathrooms, in-suite dry sauna and designer kitchen.
Aqua-Aston Hospitality – Hawaiian Islands
Top Honolulu-based hotel management company Aqua-Aston Hospitality operates 25+ properties in the Islands and played an instrumental role in Hawaii’s new sunscreen law banning oxybenzone and octinoxate, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2021. The company championed for real change through property activations, #ForOurReef public awareness campaign, lobbying and more, which eventually led to Hawaii becoming the first state to ban SPF formulas that harm coral reefs. Aqua-Aston has since distributed nearly 80,000 reef-safe sunscreen samples to the tourism industry and Hawaii community. During the pandemic, Hawaii’s marine ecosystem thrived due to low tourism numbers. As travel to Hawaii resumes, Aqua-Aston is committed to doing its part to preserve the state’s marine life by continuing reef-safe sunscreen efforts and educating guests on eco-friendly travel.
Another World Bed and Breakfast – Finger Lakes Region, NY
Nestled away in the countryside of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Another World Bed and Breakfast offers travelers an eco-friendly escape surrounded by nature. Ideal for an Earth Day getaway, the modern B&B is equipped with an energy-efficient, geo-thermal system to sustainably power the property’s heating and cooling. After enjoying a home-cooked breakfast in the morning (options available for vegans, vegetarians, etc.), visitors can reconnect with the outdoors by exploring the nearby lakes, hiking the region’s best trails, and sampling local wineries and breweries minutes away from the B&B.