Posts Tagged ‘eco-hotel’

Honduras: An Eco-Resort’s Latest Organic Offering

The Lodge at Pico Bonito’s New Organic Spa and More…

Honduras Eco Hotel

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

We’re back from the holidays and we’re already ready to plan our next vacation. You too? If getting back to the grind is inspiring daydreams of ditching it all for a trip away from it all, we have a great suggestion for you…

The majestic jungles of Honduras!

Because really… there’s nothing like being in the middle of the glorious jungle filled with over 40 different types of tropical butterflies, toucans, motmots, and miles of private trails through canyons, waterfalls, and swimming holes. If that’s not reason enough, how about a mystical Temazcal (Mayan sauna) in the center of the jungle to get your trip – and your soul – steered in the right direction?

The Pool at Pico Bonito

The Pool at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Temazcal, which comes from the Nahuatl Word temacalli, means ‘house of heat.’ Originating in the pre-Hispanic indigenous culture in Mesoamerica, legend has it that the dome shape of the steam house represents Mother Earth’s womb, and those taking part in a Temazcal are said to experience a rebirth.

Honduras’ top eco-resort, The Lodge at Pico Bonito, is inviting travelers to abandon the stresses of home, ignite a new outlook on life, and increase circulation of the senses with their new organic spa offerings and we think it sounds like an excellent idea. It’s also been named one of the top 50 eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveler.

Honduras Eco Resort Lodge Pico Bonito

The Lodge at Pico Bonita’s Standard Room in the Center of the Jungle

The new outdoor spa, set to debut on January 15th, will have three circular cabins on stilts to maintain balance and harmony with the natural energies of the environment (one cabin for individual massage, one cabin for couples massage, one cabin with a Vichy shower, one Temazcal, and a nearby plunge pool).

Here some just a few deliciously organic spa offerings:

Revitalizing Cotinga, in the Temazcal, begins with an aromatic steam therapy to oxygenate the pores of your skin. The treatment continues in their Vichy shower with a pineapple exfoliation and a therapeutic anti-inflammatory chamomile mud wrap. (Note: Temazcal rituals need two people per session so bring along your partner for a truly liberating couples experience)

Aromatherapy, or Essential Oil therapy, is also on offer. Taking a holistic approach of using extracts from plants to balance, harmonize and improve the mind, body and soul by using essential oils such as spruce, rosewood spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy. Detox relaxes muscles, improves circulation and relieves joint pain by using essential oils such basil, grapefruit, cypress, marjoram, mint, and lavender to drain and remove toxins.

Organic spa treatment

Organic Ingredients Good Enough to Eat!

Organic Fruit Facials incorporate seasonal fruits like cucumber, melon, banana, lychee, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit, along with cacao and honey, to refreshen your face. The best part? Their 50-minute facial only costs US $45. For those feeling even more romantic, there’s the Romantic Rio Coloradito Treatment, a lavender-fused massage to delete back and neck tensions from all those days sitting at the computer. It’s followed with a warm foot purification scrub (using honey and flowers for her and herbs for him) while sipping on a delicious tea from local fruits and aphrodisiac spices.

Honduran Rafting Excursion!

Honduran Rafting Excursion! (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The eco-lodge is worth the escape alone. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, its five-star amenities are set on the edge of Honduras’ second largest National Park, ten miles from La Ceiba. There’s a trio of four-story observation decks overlooking the jungle canopy and adventures like white water rafting and jungle safaris through protected mangroves make it an unforgettable experience. Plus, with only 22 private cabins, it’s the perfect place to escape city life, in eco-chic style.

www.picobonito.com 

Belize’s Exotic Eco-Adventures

Belize's Xunantunich Ruins

There are many exotic sights and extraordinary wonders to be witnessed across the far flung destinations on the planet, but people rarely have the time to travel to the remote reaches of the world.  It’s hard enough to find a long weekend, let alone the trips that take to you to beaches unexplored or ruins buried in the jungle. So, with that in mind, when we heard about Absolute Belize we wanted to hear more. Absolute Belize specializes in crafting spectacular and unique travel itineraries and creating authentic Belizean experiences for travelers who are seeking something out of the ordinary. Another great selling point…  for Americans, Belize is a much shorter flight and an English speaking destination.

Whale Sharks in Belize

For those who are searching for the best diving in the world and have always wanted to witness the Great Barrier Reef, Absolute Belize also offers itineraries to experience the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and three of the four major atolls in the Caribbean, including the famous Blue Hole. During the full moons between March and June, Whale Sharks, usually seen in South Africa or Indonesia, migrate off the coast of Belize. Whale Sharks are the world’s largest fish, growing to an enormous 50 feet in length. Witnessing these magnificent creatures is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The Belizean waters are teeming with marine life in all sizes and shapes, including 70 types of hard corals and nearly 500 species of fish – truly a diver’s paradise.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek

People talk about the 100-year anniversary of the rediscover of Machu Picchu and the fascinating Incan culture, but December 2012 is also the end of the Mayan calendar so it would also be an amazing time to see the Mayan sites in Belize. The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500BC and 200AD and flourished until about 1200AD. Several major archeological sites—notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich—reflect the advanced civilization.

A Full Moon under Belize Skies

Despite being an endangered species, Manatees are also widely present in the waters of Belize. Swallow Caye has been declared a wildlife sanctuary and serves to protect the manatees and other marine life that call this habitat home.

An Aerial View of Ambergris Caye, Belize

Is seeing the Aurora Borealis a dream?  What about an equally spectacular light show? A nighttime snorkel off the island of Ambergris Caye is not to be missed – view the nocturnal creatures of the underwater world and witness them flashing their bioluminescence, where hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates use chemicals within their bodies to produce light.

All of these amazing adventures in one nearby destination! And great resorts to stay at as well.

Black Jaguars of Belize

Widely reputed as one of the Caribbean region’s best examples of sustainable, ecotourism, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a pristine eco-lodge located in heart of the lush Belizean rain forest. The private 365 acre nature reserve is set along the banks of the Macal River in the foothills of the Maya Mountains and is home to a number of exotic jungle dwellers including peccaries, jaguars, monkeys as well as over 300 species of tropical and migratory birds. Guests are literally surrounded by one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. The reserve features miles of well-maintained trails for guided horseback riding, mountain biking and nature walks. You can canoe down the Macal River, go birding, discover the rainforest and nearby Maya archaeological sites, relax with a luxurious spa treatment, kick back in a hammock or indulge in the fabulous cuisine at the award winning restaurant. From US $105 per person per night plus 9% hotel tax and 10% service charge.

Ka'ana Boutique Luxury Hotel

Conveniently located near all major touring attractions in the Cayo District of Belize, Ka’ ana Boutique Luxury Resort is another premier choice for discerning travelers. With nearby cultural, historical and eco-adventure attractions, Ka’ana is a luxurious adventure outpost. In addition to fine dining, spa services, and an infinity swimming pool, they have some amazing touring options (and an abundant array of wines from around the globe). From US $250 per night plus 9% tax and 10% service charge.

Sweet: Lesbian Travel with a Twist

What if going to a beautiful resort, giving back to a community in need, and partying your butt off were all possible in the same week – and what if the whole trip was carbon neutral? This is exactly the kind of trip customers of Sweet embark upon – an adventure filled with do-goodery… and debauchery.

Sweet is the latest in lesbian travel… with a twist. Merging the best of lesbian travel with social and environmental awareness, Sweet aims to make the world a better place while having a blast in it. All of Sweet’s vacations are carbon neutral, meaning they offset the pollution created by their air, land and sea travel. They traveling to amazing places (Belize, Mexico, Italy) with the very best lesbian entertainers and extravagant parties, while also supporting their guests’ personal enrichment, raising money for worthwhile causes and doing meaningful projects all over the world. How sweet is that?

Sweet's Founder, Shannon Wentworth

This niche travel company has set out to change the world – one bite-sized chunk at a time. The founder of Sweet, Shannon Wentworth, believes that if we break down this huge social issues (poverty, pollution, human rights, education in developing nations) that we can make a difference. We agree, Shannon, and we commend you!

Sweet has given back in many ways – from filling over 200 giant bags of garbage from Uvero Beach in Mexico and painting bright cartoon characters on the walls of a children’s hospital ward to donating two new computers to a children’s e-learning center in Honduras – Sweet is dedicated to enriching the lives of not only their guests but also enriching the communities that they visit. PBS also just did a feature on Sweet’s  ‘In the Life’ program, calling Sweet customers ‘voluntouristas’. Pretty fun so check it out here:  Sweet Lesbian Eco-Travel or, better yet, discover sweet for yourself!

www.discoversweet.com

The New Shore Hotel Santa Monica

Shore Hotel - Santa Monica

A day doesn’t go by when we don’t miss the sunny days we spent in Cali. So, always on the hunt for new hotels and openings in the beloved stomping grounds of our 20s, we tracked down this sweet opening. This October in Santa Monica, just steps from the Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade, and the city’s popular beaches and shopping, Shore Hotel is the newest addition to the coastline. It’s also, incidentally, a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered property that offers eco-friendly accommodations with stunning views of the Pacific.  The open-air, U-shaped design of the main hotel building has a stainless steel-clad trellis over the street-side of the courtyard, which unifies the two wings of the main building creating an outdoor “living room,” with an outdoor pool, a water feature, and patio dining at Blue Plate Taco. In addition to rooms with crisp turquoise and vibrant orange accents, the hotel also has a unique public-use space that blurs the line between the sidewalk and hotel entrance and includes park benches for pedestrians looking to chillax.

Upon completion of construction, if awarded LEED Gold Certification, Shore Hotel will be the only property in the city of Santa Monica with this elite status.  In June, the Shore Hotel was recognized at the 41st annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, recognizing the project teams responsible for the City’s very best architecture. So, check it out next month, and let us know what you think!

www.shorehotel.com

www.facebook.com/ShoreHotel

Eco Luxury in France

Hotel Sezz Pool

We love to hear that luxury hotels like the Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez are taking environmentalism seriously. Thanks to the resort’s attention to water conservation, recycling, and energy-saving initiatives, guests can relax in guilt-free bliss in the knowledge that their ecological footprint is kept to a minimum. At the same time they can enjoy all the services and amenities of a luxury resort.

The passion for environmentalism is shown in the planning process. Interior designer Christophe Pillet, landscape architect Christophe Ponceau and hotelier Shahé Kalaidjian harmoniously integrated the hotel into the lush surrounding nature and preserved nearly all existing trees on the site. “The luxury at Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez is not about the usual bling bling you might expect at the Côte d’Azur. It’s about the unique natural settings of this resort. From the start our goal was to respect and preserve the surrounding nature, and to create a hotel that fits perfectly with it,” says Kalaidjian.

In order to optimize air circulation, the bungalows and cocoons were built with extra thick walls and the windows with integrated filters that absorb ultraviolet rays. Numerous CO2 absorbing eucalyptus trees in the parking lot ensure the air is fresh and clean. The entire resort is equipped with energy saving lamps and the rooms with flat screen LED TVs. Moreover, all employees were trained in environmental matters. The products at Spa Sezz by Payot are made with primarily natural ingredients like plants and minerals. In cooperation with the Lycée Technique Don Bosco in Nice, Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez is currently developing a program for soap recycling. All used soaps from the hotel will be collected and regularly sent to the school where students learn how to recycle them.

Hotel Sezz Saint Tropez

A bit about the hotel
Located a few minutes outside Saint-Tropez, the hotel is not only a hideaway for nature lovers but also a place for peace seekers. With laurels, pines, palms and eucalyptus trees Ponceau has created the epitome of a Mediterranean garden. Like in a small Provencal village, the 37 ground-floor rooms, suites and villas are grouped around the heart of the hotel: the azure pool. Here, guests can relax and unwind on the lounge chairs and sunbeds that Christophe Pillet created. The nearest beach and the center of Saint-Tropez can easily be reached with the bikes that the hotel offers. Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez also features a gourmet restaurant Colette headed by Pierre Gagnaire, the recently completed Spa Sezz by Payot as well as a Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar.

I’m in!

Rates from EUR 400.

Sicily’s Eco Steal

Relais Torre Marabino - Sicily, Italy

This just in! Essential Italy is offering reduced rates in May at this fantastic eco-hotel in Sicily. For stays from May 15th -31st. If you  stay 5 nights and pay 4 nights on all types of rooms.

£135.00/night for 4 nights and £110.00/night for 5 nights B&B

(FYI – Usual price is £145/night)

Relais Torre Marabino

This small hotel is just a short distance from the sandy beach at Pozallo. The building dates back to the 1500’s and is now home to an eco-friendly and intimate hotel where all 7 rooms have been furnished and decorated originally; with each one given a different name of a wine produced in the cantina at Torre Marabino. The views across the Sicilian landscape from all rooms are, in one word, enchanting, and produce from the hotel’s farm is used in the kitchen. Did we also mention that they make their own fabulous organic wine – yep, the label is Torre Marabino.

Location: Ispica 3km, Siracusa 60km, Catania 110km, Palermo 302km, Modica 18km, Taormina 165km, Noto 22km, Pachino 20km

www.essentialitaly.co.uk

Hotel Andaluz – LEED Certified

LEED(c) Gold Certified Hotel Andaluz

We’re all about LEED so, when a new swanky hotel gets certified, we like to let our peoples know. To that end, The Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque, New Mexico announced last week that it has been awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

As you probably already know, LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. What makes Hotel Andaluz so unique is that it’s the only historic property to be certified LEED® Gold in the Southwest and the second in the United States. In short, they don’t just hand out LEED certifications. It takes quite a bit of work to get one for your very own.

“The Hotel underwent a $30 million dollar renovation in 2009 with an eye on sustainability,” explained Gary Goodman, Hotel Andaluz owner. “At the top of our priority list was long-term sustainability and good environmental stewardship.  We are proud to have achieved this prestigious distinction.”

The Hotel Andaluz’ LEED certification was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. For instance, the hotel uses less energy than traditional buildings by using solar heated water, high performance windows, fluorescent and LED lighting and a state of the art energy management system.  The hotel also has reduced its water usage over 45%.  In addition, the hotel has a comprehensive recycling program that recycles cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and all food waste is composted.

Hotel Andaluz King

As buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity means greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 32,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

Doesn’t that make you feel good? We think so too.

Hotel Andaluz, managed by Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, joins the Mosaic Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Carlton Hotel in New York City as swanky sister properties.

http://www.hotelandaluz.com/

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