Forget hippie hideaways, outdoor toilets and tie-dye clad guests – today eco-hotels tend to be even more modern than their non-“green” peers. Design Hotels™ presents four member hotels offering eco-luxurious experiences at their best. Travellers are invited to head to Nordic Light Hotel, one of Stockholm’s hippest hangouts, hide out in a traffic-free alpine zone at the vigilius mountain resort in South Tyrol or escape to a private villa in the Indian Ocean at Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali or at Alila Villas Hadahaa in the southern Maldives. No matter which they choose, guests can enjoy their holidays in guiltless bliss knowing that their ecological footprint is kept to a minimum.
vigilius mountain resort
No roads, no traffic, no noise. Located at 1,500 metres altitude, in pure alpine air, the vigilius mountain resort in South Tyrol is only accessible by cable car and is almost invisible in its surroundings. Like a tree that has fallen in the forest, the resort combines old substance with fresh growth, generating new internal life and a commitment to renewal. Architect Matteo Thun has created an eco-luxury mountain hideaway where awareness co-exists with aesthetics, and everything revolves around nature and landscape. The principle of “organic architecture” is expressed in elements such as a grass-covered roof and the use of natural larch wood throughout. Wood is also key for the biomass heating system, which is not only clean burning but also gives local farmers a second income and ensures that the forests are cultivated. The water that flows throughout the hotel – whether for drinking or swimming – is fed from a natural spring. Clean lines and spacious ambience characterise the resort’s 35 rooms and 6 suites, each boasting spectacular mountain views. For relaxation, guests can head to the mountain spa with an indoor pool, a whirlpool which extends into the open air, a sauna, steam room and the “Paradise Garden.” vigilius mountain resort has received several awards for its green architecture and was Italy’s first hotel to be classified “Climate House, category A”.
Nordic Light Hotel
The Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm proves that it is possible to be an urban design hotel and an eco-labelled one at the same time. It was created with the guiding principle that thoughtful design can minimise the ecological footprint on the environment and even contribute towards improving it. In 2007, the hotel was awarded the official Nordic Ecolabel, otherwise known as “The Swan”. To receive this label, a hotel must meet numerous requirements – such as reducing the hotel’s energy consumption and using renewable energy sources. Nordic Light takes its environmental responsibility seriously throughout the hotel: Fair trade coffee and organic food is served in the restaurant and the housekeeping team uses chemical-free cleaning products. The 175 guest rooms are outfitted with Nordic Ecolabelled beds, which are manufactured from recycled metal and wood from environmentally approved forests. What’s more, Nordic Light Hotel started a project this year together with the Malmö Design Group to invent a stylish bin for the hotel rooms made of waste from the hotel. Showing its strong local roots, the hotel also promotes upcoming local artists who present changing art installations in the lobby. The combination of art, culture and conscientious design has made the Nordic Light Hotel a happening spot for both locals and out-of-town guests.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Perched on limestone cliffs on the southern coast of Bali, Alila Villas Uluwatu showcases beautifully designed green villas. Created by award-winning Singaporean architects WOHA, it is the first resort in Bali built from the ground up to achieve the “Green Globe Building, Planning and Design” certification, which stands for the highest levels of environmentally sustainable design. The resort’s 84 villas range in size from one to three bedrooms and are each open to the outdoors, offering Indian Ocean views from bed to bathtub. All villas showcase contemporary interiors enhanced with touches of nature; traditional Balinese accents are reflected in planes of wood, water, stone and rattan. Only locally sourced building materials were used for the construction. These include bamboo used for the ceilings of its villas, stone from the site itself for the garden walls, as well as volcanic rock used for the roofs. Energy conservation is encouraged by rerouting heat generated by air-conditioning units to heat water in the resort. There is also a recyclable grey water system that directs used water from washing machines and showers to irrigate the property’s gardens.
Alila Villas Hadahaa
Surrounded by turquoise waters and fine white beaches, Alila Villas Hadahaa offers the ultimate Maldivian experience. Guests at this all-villa resort can choose from one of 14 stilted, over-water Aqua Villas or 36 Island Villas. All living spaces feature vast sliding windows that afford stunning ocean views. In-resort facilities include two swimming pools, a fully-equipped gym, a Maldivian speciality restaurant offering a sampling of local and regional cuisine and a main restaurant, a library and a star-gazing deck. Alila Villas Hadahaa is the first property in the Maldives to achieve the prestigious Green Globe “Building, Planning and Design” benchmark and was designed to best adapt to the tropical climate and natural environment of the island. This includes rainwater harvesting, waste treatment, high roofed areas and open ceilings. To confirm their local social responsibility, the resort has just launched a “Gift-to-Share” programme. Guests can also participate by donating to support any of the three community programmes that the resort has initiated. This includes building up a reference and research library in the local schools; re-introducing Maldivian traditional crafts into primary schools; and introducing community farming projects. www.designhotels.com/alila_villas_hadahaa