Just in Time for Earth Day: 7 New Sustainable (and Stylish) Hotels

There’s a stigma that anything “eco” or “sustainable” must be low-budget, when in fact it’s just the opposite. Prior to the pandemic, the travel industry was one of the few that had been moving toward a more sustainable future. Hotel developers began looking at the extra costs of creating a sustainable luxury property as an investment, going beyond simple initiatives like prohibiting single-use plastic. Instead, they’ve focused on ways they could implement sustainability from inception. The past year of shutdowns and travel bans revealed the impact that the travel industry has on the environment, with carbon emissions dropping 7% globally in 2020. According to recent data from Booking.com, 70% of consumers are likely to book an accommodation that they know is implementing sustainable practices. And with the alchemy of sustainable hotels in the luxury space, travelers are quickly realizing that you don’t need to sacrifice luxury for sustainability. In many ways, sustainable hotels go hand in hand with high design. From hotels that are powered entirely by solar energy, to others that are built using vernacular architecture, luxury design hotels are paving the way to a more sustainable future in hospitality from the ground up, without skimping on all the comforts a luxury experience typically provides.

Below are the seven best openings this year.

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Courtesy Sussurro

Sussurro, Mozambique: Opened January 2021

Situated on a secluded beach on a saltwater lagoon in Southern Mozambique and run by Sarah Birkett, Sussurro features various beachfront bungalows with indoor and outdoor bathing areas, as well as a library and gallery space, a lap pool, a yoga deck, and a bar and restaurant. Every aspect of the architecture, design, and experience has sustainability on the forefront. “Solar-generated power wasn’t an afterthought, like so many African safari lodges and hotels,” says Birkett. “More than 90% of the residence was built utilizing renewable energy. We began with the sustainable systems at inception.” Vernacular architecture is another way in which Sussurro is fundamentally sustainable. Using only natural and endemic materials native to their ecosystem is a means to preserve heritage craft skills as well. In this spirit, 100% of the materials are sourced and made in Africa. Sussurro’s commitment to protecting the environment is further emphasized through its efforts in their regenerative mangrove reforestation plan, where they plant carbon-rich mangrove seeds in their nursery in order to re-afforest an old salt pan that has been heavily eroded with native mangroves.

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