Discover a world where sustainability meets luxury at some of the globe’s most extraordinary luxury eco-lodges, writes Helen Hayes.
Lead image: Topas Ecolodge, Islas Secas and Cap Karoso
Klahoose Wilderness Resort
The off-the-grid Klahoose Wilderness Resort is in a pristine environment that is home to grizzly bears, black bears, and an array of marine life. Guests arrive by seaplane from Campbell River or Vancouver, and it won’t take long to be swept up in the magic that is Klahoose. The resort is owned and run by the Klahoose First Nation. The luxury eco-lodge leads the way in Indigenous tourism in Canada through its commitment to stewardship and community. Klahoose guides conduct wilderness tours and entwine cultural knowledge along with the thrill of wildlife spotting. It was Silver Certified by GreenStep Sustainable Tourism in July 2023.
Mashpi Lodge is nestled in the lush cloud forest of the Mashpi Rainforest Reserve in the Andean Choco bioregion of Ecuador. The reserve is at the forefront of rainforest protection, with a biologist carrying out a thorough study of the diverse and unique ecosystems of the area before the lodge was built. The study was then used to put a conservation and resource management strategy in place. Guests can learn about the ecology and conservation of the Choco region, walk to waterfalls, sit in the treetops and marvel at the 500 species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world.
Tucked away in the Daintree Rainforest, Daintree Ecolodge has long been a bastion for responsible tourism. The lodge seamlessly integrates with the natural landscape, utilising recycled and locally sourced materials for construction. Rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment systems ensure minimal impact on the ecosystem. Eco-conscious excursions, led by Indigenous guides, foster a deep appreciation for the Daintree’s delicate biodiversity and ancient culture. With reforestation initiatives and community engagement projects, Daintree Eco Lodge is Eco-Certified for advanced tourism and is a Climate Action-certified business.
The spectacular Islas Secas is located on an idyllic island that is part of a group of 14 islands in an archipelago off the Pacific coast of Panama. An environmentally protected area, Islas Secas holds sustainability and stewardship at its core. Its vision is totally focused on conservation, community, and culture. All of the property’s energy is solar generated, all wastewater is reused for irrigation, and all food waste is composted. A luxury experience with an environment-first ethos, the eco-resort is the perfect base from which to explore one of the greatest marine zones on the planet, as well as the five-star splendours of the property.
Feynan Ecolodge is the first environmentally sustainable accommodation in Jordan. The eco-lodge is located in the otherworldly Wadi Feynan which sits within the Dana Biosphere Reserve. It is solar-powered and offers the most developed eco-experience in Jordan, ensured through its partnership between EcoHotels – owners of the property – and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. The 26-room lodge is overshadowed by the magnificent desert landscape, with guests able to visit local archaeological sites, sip tea with native Bedouin, or just relax in the calming spaces of the candle-lit lodge.
Imagine waking up with the wonders of the monumental Torres del Paine National Park out your dome door. That will be the reality on a visit to EcoCamp Patagonia. The property was the first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon, the world’s first geodesic hotel room and one of the first with a certified Environmental Management System. The award-winning camp offers four types of domes from standard to suite lofts, as well as domes for yoga, wellness and community, all created utilising eco-friendly practices and the innovative use of green technology. Hike the famous W trail, go on a wildlife safari, track pumas, and explore this spectacular park on foot, bike, kayak, or horseback.
Topas Ecolodge is perched on a hilltop in Hoang Lien National Park, near Sapa in northern Vietnam. Topas Ecolodge is a boutique resort that has community at its heart. All the staff are hired from local tribes. More Scandi in design than five-star glamour, the luxury here is the jaw-dropping views, mountainside infinity pools, spa, activities, and cultural experiences with the Red Dzao and Tay tribes. Working with DANIDA (Denmark’s development cooperation, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the lodge is a showcase of sustainable tourism in remote areas. It has its own glass recycling plant, a wastewater wetland system, and food waste is given to local farmers to feed their animals.
Cap Karoso is a stunning luxury eco-lodge with uma mbatangu houses, bridging the past, present, and future in a sustainable way. Its 47 rooms and 20 villas showcase Sumbanese heritage. Age-old craft and contemporary art and design tells the story of the island. The heart of Cap Karoso is its biological farm that produces nearly all the fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant and bar. Local farmers come to learn about biological farming and permaculture, with guests also able to take part. You can also experience pieces of the long-preserved Marapu culture, including traditional fishing, ikat weaving, and Sumbanese sandalwood horse riding.