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Accommodation named in the Green Travel List 2011

Posted by Tom Watts at 09:58 on Saturday 05 November 2011

Here are the top six green accommodations, as featured in the Guardian Green Travel List 2011. From luxury group self-catering accommodation in the heart of the Cornish countryside to a collection of cosy eco-pods suspended high in the treetops on Vancouver Island...

>> For more information on the kinds of projects that made it onto the list, see: Richard Hammond's introduction to this year's annual Green Travel List. 

The stunning natural swimming pool at Little White Alice, Cornwall. Photo: Tom WattsThe stunning natural swimming pool at Little White Alice, Cornwall. Photo: Tom Watts

Little White Alice's beautiful stone cottages. Photo: Tom WattsLittle White Alice's beautiful stone cottages. Photo: Tom WattsLittle White Alice, Cornwall
Little White Alice is a seriously gorgeous collection of six new self-catering holiday cottages in Carnmenellis, Cornwall. Most impressive is the stunning natural chemical-free swimming pool, emerald green and surrounded by huge lumps of local granite, with a reed bed filtration system. Beyond lie 25 acres of the property’s own land, left wild, for fun rambling and nature-spotting, helped by the addition of a barn owl house and bat loft.

The houses are a mix of wood and stone, sleeping 2-8; some have wood-burners, private decks, wet rooms and bespoke willow work, plus there’s an art studio offering lessons. With a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, the owners invested in a wind turbine that produces most of the cottages’ electricity, ground source heat pumps that use boreholes drilled 90m down into the granite bedrock to provide underfloor heating and solar thermal panels for hot water. They have a licence to host civil ceremonies in their green-oak arbour by the pool. From £220 per week for two.

Fattoria San Martino, Italy
If this Tuscan B&B, set on an organic farm, seems a little more stylish than your average agriturismo, there’s good reason – Dutch-Italian owners Karin Lijftogt and Antonio Giorgini gave up their jobs in the fashion industry in Milan to go into farming. That was 20 years ago, and since then, they’ve come a long way. The farm now covers five hectares and produces olives, saffron, wheat (they make their own organic pasta) and honey. Having restored the 18th-century farmhouse at the property’s heart using only natural and organic building materials, the couple now run it as a four-room guesthouse. Breakfasts and dinners are organic, locally sourced and vegetarian; heating and hot water are solar-powered; and, in summer, guests can relax in the property’s natural pool. From €130 per double, B&B.

The Green House is a refurbished seaside hotel in Bournemouth that boldly claims to be “the greenest hotel in the UK” while maintaining contemporary style. Rooms are decorated in mauve and cream, have flat screen TVs and Bose sound docks, and yet its eco credentials are impressive. Solid wood furniture has been made using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, there’s rain water harvesting for irrigation, and the restaurant has local, seasonal, organic food, and only organic and biodynamic wines – there’s a vegetarian tasting menu too (£45), featuring dishes such as roast pumpkin with curry oil, or mushrooms on toast. It has a rating of “excellent” from the environmental assessment system for buildings, Breeam, solar panels help heat the water and much of the electricity and heating is generated on site using a combined heat and power unit. Doubles from £140, B&B.

The Green House, Dorset
The Green House is a refurbished seaside hotel in Bournemouth that boldly claims to be “the greenest hotel in the UK” while maintaining contemporary style. Rooms are decorated in mauve and cream, have flat screen TVs and Bose sound docks, and yet its eco credentials are impressive. Solid wood furniture has been made using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, there’s rain water harvesting for irrigation, and the restaurant has local, seasonal, organic food, and only organic and biodynamic wines – there’s a vegetarian tasting menu too (£45), featuring dishes such as roast pumpkin with curry oil, or mushrooms on toast. It has a rating of “excellent” from the environmental assessment system for buildings, Breeam, solar panels help heat the water and much of the electricity and heating is generated on site using a combined heat and power unit. Doubles from £140, B&B.

Circus Hotel, Berlin
A 230-bed hostel and hotel located across the Rosenthaler Platz in Berlin’s Mitte district that has few of the energy intensive trappings associated with large city-centre hotels, such as wellness areas and mammoth breakfast buffets; instead you’re encouraged to arrive by public transport (there’s no car park), rent bikes and see the city like a local by using nearby facilities, such as local gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and cafes. Rooms are subsequently much cheaper and range from dorm style beds to private apartments with kitchen, bathrooms and terrace with roof-top views of the city. It runs free off-the-beaten-track tours of Berlin, rents out bikes, segways and smart cars, plus you can download a free self-guided city tour from its website. From €19 per night for a dorm bed.

Free Spirit Spheres, Canada
Nest-like spherical wooden capsules suspended from the forest canopy of giant Douglas firs, cedar and maples trees near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Inventor Tom Chudleigh drew his inspiration for the design of the pods from the principles of bio-mimicry, treehouse architecture and sail boat rigging. Each has a hard, nut-like outer shell that’s hung by a web of ropes so that it gently sways with the movement of the trees. Inside these cocoons of comfort, there’s a double bed and table and more mod cons than you might expect given their minimalist exterior, including an electric heater, sink, microwave and built-in speakers. Back on terra firma, a short walk from the pods are washrooms, showers, a sauna, kitchen and a covered deck for barbecues. From $135 per night for one or two people.

Read about the other initiatives that made it onto the Guardian Green Travel List in these categories:

>> Transport Initiatives
>> Sustainable Holidays
>> Visitor Attractions
>> Community Initiatives

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