Earth Wise: Six Sustainable Hotels That Are Worth the Trip

Good stays that prioritize protection of people and the planet.

The 51st anniversary of Earth Day serves as a timely reminder that saving our planet so often comes down to choices. Not only in our daily lives (think skipping single-use plastics and selecting sustainable seafood), but also in our travels. When it comes to choosing hotels, one of the most powerful things we can do is choose wisely, opting for those that work to protect our planet while supporting local cultures and economies. Here are six sustainable hotels you can feel good about – and where you can do good.

Costa Rica | Build a Stronger Community

Beach or rainforest? There are no bad choices at Arenas Del Mar. Seaside and set on an 11-acre private reserve that functions as a critical wildlife corridor, the eco-resort is also just a short stroll from Manuel Antonio National Park. Count on being equally impressed with the choices the resort makes to serve its surrounding community. This starts with its decision to employ an entirely Costa Rican staff and serve fish caught by locals and extends to its work at a neighboring school, where it provides essential classroom supplies and sponsors eco-education programs. The best part: Guest donations have funded both efforts and also buoy the Titi Conservation Alliance, which works to protect the region's squirrel monkeys.

Arenas Del Mar

Rainforest meets the ocean at Arenas del Mar, which helps to protect both ecosystems

Italy | Get Back to Nature

Sustainability comes full circle at Borgo Pignano, where efforts to maintain Tuscan culture and ecology are evident in every centimeter of its 750-acre estate. Reed fields purify grey water that nurtures on-site vineyards. Sustainably harvested woodchips power a biomass generator for hot water and heating. Sulla plants provide hay for horses that in turn create natural fertilizer for organic gardens. And resident honeybees pollinate wildflowers and herbs used in the kitchen. “Everything we produce is then processed and cooked maintaining traditions, respecting the value of the food,” says chef Stefano Cavallini. Cooking and herbalist classes highlight cultural experiences and carbon-free explorations include biking and horseback riding through the estate’s tranquil forests and fields.

Borgo Pignano Property View

Borgo Pignano’s carefully restored estate celebrates Tuscan heritage

French Polynesia | Save Our Seas

It’s no stretch to call The Brando the godfather of sustainable hotels. The vision of Marlon Brando, the resort looks to leave the lightest possible footprint on Motu Onetahi, beginning with its use of renewable energy and natural building materials. At the island’s Ecostation, created by the resort for the nonprofit Tetiaroa Society, guests can meet with visiting scientists to learn about critical marine initiatives and partake in hands-on experiences like releasing fish larvae and baby turtles. Cultural preservation is also key. The Brando, for instance, recently helped form a cultural center on Motu Onetahi that serves as a local ceremonial site.

The Brando, and its beautiful beaches.

The Brando helps monitor and conserve the surrounding lagoon of Tetiaroa Atoll


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