World Oceans Day on the 8th of June celebrates our oceans, along with its diverse eco-system, while raising awareness about the need to protect them and their inhabitants. Around 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, which are responsible for most of the oxygen we breathe, providing us with food, regulating our climate and much more.
Smart travellers now expect some elements of sustainability when they travel—and welcome it when it goes beyond picking up towels and reusable soap containers. While numerous properties take part in ocean-cleaning and conservation projects on this day, we have our favourite eco-friendly hotels that strive to do this throughout the year.
At these dreamy destinations, luxury goes hand in hand with sustainability. Here are six hotels and brands doing it right.
THE PACKING EDIT
Jamaica Inn, Jamaica
Jamaica Inn is on a mission to help restore the pristine beauty of the Caribbean reefs and has partnered with the White River Fish Sanctuary. The grassroots effort involves transplanting fast-growing staghorn coral along a fringe reef near the Jamaica Inn. Guests can embark on glass-bottomed boat tours to observe the fresh growth from “plantings” of coral pieces tied to rocks along the reef as well as a plethora of colourful fish.
Local fishermen serve as sanctuary wardens, managing the coral nurseries and reinforcing the fishing ban. With financial support from the Jamaica Inn Foundation, among other groups, the five-year, $1 million sanctuary project is an important step in what will likely be a long-term proposition to reverse damage to area reefs from overfishing, pollution and global warming.
Jamaica Inn facilitates both on and off-site turtle hatching sessions to spread awareness about the endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle. Sea turtles travel to Jamaica Inn’s beach and nearby Oracabessa beach to lay their eggs. Guests can experience the miracle of watching and helping a nest of baby turtles (on average 100 turtles per nest) make their safe passage to sea.
Bequia Beach Hotel, Grenadines
Bequia Beach Hotel is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Family owned and run, it is a contemporary take on colonial Caribbean architecture, combining elegance and charm with a vintage 1950s retro feel, reminiscent of the Caribbean of yesteryear. The property is set amidst nine acres of lush tropical gardens on one of the island’s best beaches, Friendship Bay.
Bequia is just 7mi2, and home to some 5,000 people; it is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean. Bequia Beach Hotel upholds a commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism which benefits not only guests, but also the island and its inhabitants.
Bengt Mortstedt, the hotel owner, puts the property’s role within the island community at the forefront. Sustainable practices in place include solar panels to power the hot water system and filtration systems to turn rainwater into drinking water. With no municipal supply in Bequia, water is a precious resource.
Bequia Beach Hotel also works to support Action Bequia. Action Bequia is a non-profit organisation that puts the wellbeing of the island first. To achieve this, they undertake programmes to improve the amenity, beauty and safety of the island’s environment. Since its establishment seven years ago, Action Bequia has raised more than EC$3 million. This has been used in setting up a recycling scheme on the island as well as the restoration and protection of the harbour and other sea-front structures.
The Brando, Tahiti, French Polynesia
The Brando is one of the most luxurious eco-resorts on the planet, nestling on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s the last place you might think to find pioneering technology. But you’d be surprised. Formerly owned by Hollywood legend Marlon Brando, who was keen that it should become an ecological haven, it has now developed in to a hideaway for the rich and famous seeking conscience-soothing holidays that do less harm to the planet.
Its core mission is sustainable tourism. It is close to self-sustainable, or carbon neutral, and is LEED platinum certified, the highest level of certification. All energy is renewable, generated from solar panels and coconut oil biofuel, while waste water is used for sustainable irrigation. And the resort’s cooling system uses a “closed loop heat exchanger” that takes very cold sea water from 900m (2,950ft) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean to cool the fresh water and air circulating round the complex. As the cooling system is powered largely by water pressure, it uses very little energy.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
Six Senses is devoted to sustainability in its hotels, resorts, and spas. A Sustainability Fund at every resort uses portions of revenue to support local charities and community projects. No plastic bottles are used, and all water is bottled onsite.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam is devoted to their Coral Project, protecting a nearby reef and providing education on marine life, while guests experience fantastic swimming and snorkelling. Employment opportunities are offered first to those living in the area, and several programs provide purified water to the community, with more to come via new stainless steel water tanks.
Alphonse Island, Seychelles
This private island resort in the Seychelles’ Outer Islands has long been high on the eco-stays list thanks to its strict catch-and-return fly fishing policy, sustainable line fishing methods for guest meals, on-site arm of the Island Development Company which works to preserve the oceans and wildlife of the Seychelles and the fact 50% of the island is left untouched to support indigenous species.
In Autumn 2018, however, Alphonse took things one step further by announcing it had installed 2,200 solar panels on which it would be completely reliant for power thus eliminating the use of 268,000 litres of diesel usage per annum and reducing the island’s emissions by 718.24 tonnes each year.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
After an initial partnership with Ethic Ocean to mark World Oceans Day 2018, the Eden Roc at Cap Cana has now rolled out many measures to help make it a truly ocean-friendly hotel, including the removal of all plastic straws throughout the resort, the implementation of Slow Food Monday featuring a variety of sustainable dishes, introducing ‘head to tail’ zero-waste menus and using only locally-sourced sustainable fish. In addition to this all the hotel’s staff will receive monthly updates on how to improve sustainability, plastic bottles will be replaced with glass for turndown, the hotel will work with the local government to ensure it recycles as many materials as possible and a reforestation programme will being in the hotel’s La Furnia grotto.