5 Independent Hotels with a Conscience

Credit: Fogo Island


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There is an increasing number of gorgeous independently owned hotels leading the way when it comes to sustainability for both people and planet that sustainable travellers will love. Here are just five of those trying harder than most, all of them run with real integrity, committed to making the world a greener place and to helping local communities.


REMOTE HAVEN - Fogo Island Inn, Canada

At this astonishing 29 suite hotel set in the wild, salty narnia of the Iceberg Alley there is no private gain, for all profit is reinvested in the small, remote local community through a registered Canadian charity called Shorefast. Fogo Island Inn has also implemented everything it can to reduce its environmental footprint, from collecting and reusing rain water, using solar panels and not using plastic water bottles to sourcing everything as close to home as possible, and exceptional meals focus on wild ingredients and small-scale agricultural products. Come to watch the ocean, track caribou, pick wild berries, explore nature trails and watch sea life – it has everything you need as an antidote to the stresses of modern life. Read more.


COASTAL HOTEL - Merchants Manor, Cornwall, England

At this delightful 39-bedroom, 100 year old country house hotel in the coastal town of Falmouth over 90% of the restaurant menu is sourced from the county with the help of a local forager, butcher, fisherman and market gardener. They bottle their own water in glass bottles, have got rid of the plastic straws in their bar and are moving to large dispenser toiletries in their bedrooms to rid of all plastic bottles. Everything is recycled, rooms feature local artworks, and in The Linen Rooms spa they specialise in holistic therapies. Come to relax, walk the coast or catch a play in town. Read more.

Merchants Manor recently joined the NOW Force for Good Alliance. They are raising the bar on accountability and transparency around sustainability with no greenwash allowed and will soon be listed in the NOW Sustainability tool.


WELLNESS RETREAT - Tri Hotel, Sri Lanka

At this hotel the 11 suites spiral down a 6-acre island hill on the banks of Lake Koggala – a design inspired by nature’s ubiquitous Fibonacci Sequence. The resort has living walls, green roofs, edible gardens and rainwater capture technology, and the décor is accented by recycled Jak-wood and local granite. The local area is renowned for its cinnamon cultivation, so you’ll also find cinnamon bark-clad walls and an infusion of cinnamon in the pampering spa treatments and your organic, seasonal meals. Do Quantum yoga in an open air shala, get active on a holistic Parkour circuit around Sri Lanka’s largest lake or have personalised Ayurveda treatments. Read more.


RELAXING ISLAND - Song Saa, Cambodia

On this serene island in the Koh Rong Archipelago the crockery, furniture and shelters are made from fishing boat timber, recycled oil drums, bamboo, local leaves and driftwood, all energy is renewable, and the fusion menu features local fruits, vegetables and sustainably caught fish. Most impressively of all profits are given to The Song Saa Foundation, which runs a marine reserve, works hard to improve the livelihoods of local communities and takes medical help to the most remote islands where no government or NGO support has so far reached. Stay in one of just 27 gorgeously designed villas to explore the archipelago by boat, do oceanside yoga, have holistic treatments in outdoor salas or learn about the Buddhist principle of loving kindness from a local monk. Read more.


LUXURY HOTEL - The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland

This superlative luxury hotel in the chic ski resort of Gstaad is certified Silver by EarthCheck. Mainly built by local tradesmen using local wood and hand chiselled local Ringgenberg limestone, it’s energy efficient, uses renewable energy from hydro and solar, central heating fuelled by wood chips, and reclaimed energy from freezers and refrigerators to heat its pools. Stay in one of 56 individually designed rooms and alpine suites and enjoy locally sourced and seasonal meals and the warm welcome of local staff. Come to ski, walk and reconnect with nature, do a spot of local shopping and indulge in yoga, forest bathing and holistic rituals using natural and local Swiss products at the glorious Six Senses spa. Read more.

The Alpina Gstaad is a member of the NOW Force for Good Alliance. View their listing in the NOW Sustainability tool …  they are creating joy around being healthy and sustaining the planet, giving back and being part of a community that care about each other.