Green getaways

Increased attention on our environmental footprint has led to an influx in sustainable resorts where green living reigns king, from geodesic pods in the Swiss mountains, to solar powered hotels in the Dubai desert

Climate change has become a growing concern over the last decade and tourism has taken this on board, with a myriad of sustainable eco resorts cropping up across the world. 

Dubai in particular is working to incorporate sustainability into its hotels, one recent example being The Sustainable City (TSC) development. Due to open in 2017 it will be the first community in the region to meet its energy needs entirely by solar power.

Comprising of luxury residences, a green school, community centre as well as an eco-hotel, the development will rely on only renewable energies and will try to be as self-sufficient as possible. An organic farm will supply herbs for the community, while the hotel will recycle all the wastewater it uses.

Baharash Bagherian, Founder of Baharash Architecture, who has been chosen to design the eco-hotel describes the key benefits as more than just economic; but an educational experience to the traveller, that will offer “an insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster greater appreciation of our natural habitats.”

He believes the focus of sustainability in the city will encourage Dubai residents to be eco-friendly and will inspire many other similar developments in the future.“The Sustainable City in Dubai will be the first zero net energy community in Dubai, and we will be helping to bring many more of these developments in the next few years to help achieve Dubai’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable city.”

Sustainable City development
The development will rely on renewable energy and will try to be as self-sufficient as possible

Meanwhile, the Whitepod resort in the Swiss Alps offers an eco-friendly vacation in a completely different climate. Accessible only by snowshoe in winter, or hiking in summer, guests stay in dome-shaped tents surrounded by the pristine landscape of the mountains. 

Pitched upon wooden platforms the pods themselves have little impact on the environment; as Laura from Whitepod explains, “The construction has very little impact on nature. We could remove the pods and, within a year, nature will have recovered exactly as it was before.”

The resort prides itself on being self-sufficient, using only local, natural resources to build the pods and utilising renewable energy sources to heat them up. As Laura says, “The dome shaped tents are really energy efficient. The pod is heated by wooden stoves and you have to walk up to your pod on arrival to limit air pollution”. It really is like stepping back in time, but with the modern-day cons of a luxury hotel, such as fully serviced bathrooms, electricity and top-of-the-range fittings.

The Sustainable City in Dubai will be the first zero net energy community in Dubai, and we will be helping to bring many more of these developments in the next few years to help achieve Dubai’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable city

Baharash Bagherian, Founder of Baharash Architecture

Since its inception 12 years ago, the Kenyan Campi ya Kanzi has strived to become a pioneer in eco-tourism. Surrounded by the majestic green hills of Africa, with Kilimanjaro as its backdrop the camp is keen to protect the environment it surrounds and does this by using state-of-the-art technologies and utilising its natural resources.

100 per cent solar powered, the lodge retains its electricity and hot water from 120 photovoltaic panels and fulfills its water needs by cropping the local rainwater.

Meanwhile, the lodges themselves are built using only sustainable materials collected locally such as lava rocks and thatched grass roofs, while the staff cook all of the food on ‘Agha’ stoves, where a UN-approved eco-friendly charcoal made from coffee husks is used.   

With all these ecologically friendly resorts to choose from, the future is certainly set to be green.