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Green Travel List: Small Hotels, Worldwide

Posted by Richard Hammond at 12:43 on Sunday 21 February 2010

Hoopoe Yurt Hotel

The Hoopoe Yurt Hotel, Spain

Off-grid glamping in the wilds of Andalucia. This remote luxury camp beneath the Grazalema Mountains has just five individually designed Mongolian and Afghani yurts each in their own private meadow among shady groves of cork and olive trees. The spacious yurts have large double beds with sheepskin rugs, velvet cushions, outdoor bamboo bathrooms (including solar-powered hot showers) and candlelit dinners are served poolside in a lantern-lit pergola using produce from the owner’s kitchen garden. Read more about The Hoopoe Yurt Hotel on greentraveller.


Can Marti, Spain

An organic farm near Sant Joan in the quieter far north east of the island. Choose between three self-catering studio apartments (themed Spanish rustic, Mexican and Indian) or in an arabesque stone house that overlooks the farm's sloping terraces of almond, olive and walnut trees and other indigenous trees that the owners have planted. Rainwater is harvested, solar panels make the most of the Mediterranean sun, organic breakfasts are brought to your apartment and you can stock up on groceries and wine from the on-site organic shop. The owner donates 7% to African NGOs. www.canmarti.com, +34 971 333 500.

Locanda della Valle Nuova, Italy

Like most agriturismos, food and wine are the focus at Locanda, a renovated 1920s farmhouse run off solar power near the hilltop town of Urbino in the Le Marche region of northeast Italy. The owners grow organically their own wheat, fruit and vegetables, raise cattle, pigs and poultry (using natural feed), make their own bread and pasta, jams and wine. In autumn you can gather truffles from the woods and return to a cosy wood-fired stove fuelled by coppicing from the 185-acre farm. www.vallenuova.it, +39 0722 330303.

Hotel Posada del Valle, Spain

www.posadadelvalle.com, +34 985 84 11 57.

Hôtel Les Orangeries, France

Though it was the first hotel in France to gain the European Ecolabel, the elegant Hôtel Les Orangeries in Lussac-les-Chateaux, half hour from Poitiers, doesn't skimp on creature comforts. The restored eighteenth-century house has four-poster beds, a large games room and smart dining room with antique sideboards where you can expect typically grand French meals, mainly organic with vegetables from the owner's garden. The original building has been renovated with hemp insulation, lime and natural paints, and solar panels provide the heating for the kitchen and rooms. www.lesorangeries.fr, +33 549 840 707.



Canvaschic, France


One of the first multi-yurt camps in France, tucked away in oak woodland in the Ardèche Gorge Nature Reserve. The main clearing is home to nine handcrafted yurts with king-size beds and camp beds for kids, while three additional yurts, designed for couples, are in a more secluded spot further into the forest. The owners prepare Mediterranean vegetarian food four nights a week and don't miss the 30-minute trek down the side of the gorge to the secluded La Chataigneraie beach. There's a 10 percent discount if you arrive on foot or by bike. Read more about Canvaschic in their listing.

A remote lodge by a wide, white sand beach on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape that's fast becoming a mecca for backpackers. It's a partnership between South African Dave Martin and the local Xhosa community where the emphasis is on getting back to basics: there’s no road to the lodge (the staff collect you from Mthatha, three hours drive away), so there's no light pollution or noise; everything is run off-grid - even the bread is baked on a solar oven - you shower with a bucket, and local fishermen will show you how to catch fish with throw nets, and land crayfish and octopus by hand. www.bulungula.com, +27 47 577 8900.

Wilderness Lodges of New Zealand

Two pioneering luxury wilderness lodges in the South Island run by the former director of New Zealand's Royal Forest and Bird Society that have played a central role in safeguarding thousands of hectares of ancient natural forests, shrub lands, natural grasslands and wetlands. Much of the food provided at the lodges is home reared or grown (herbs, lamb, beef, pork, manuka honey and eggs) and half of the electricity is generated from their own hydro electric power plant.www.wildernesslodge.co.nz, +64 3 318 9246.



L'Ayalga Posada Ecológica, Spain

An organic farm in La Pandiella, a small hamlet in the Redes nature reserve between the Picos de Europa and the beaches on the rural north coast. The restored farmhouse is one of 18 accommodations in Asturias that are part of The European Centre of Eco-Tourism whose members have committed to running their properties sustainably. L'Ayalga has been restored using lime and insulated with hemp and uses solar power to heat its water. Owners collect guests arriving by train at Infiesto on the scenic coastal line from Santander, by arrangement. www.terrae.net/layalga/index.htm, +34 616 897 638

Aurum Lodge, Canada

Even the Canadians say this place is remote. A true wilderness retreat, 40km from Banff National Park, in a natural clearing in the forest, overlooking the beautiful Abraham lake on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. The emphasis is on low-impact living and enjoying the natural adventure playground on your doorstep – snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter, hiking, cycling and canoeing in summer. Most of the power for the lodge is provided by renewable energy. www.aurumlodge.com, +1 403 721 2117.

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania

Home to one of the world's richest coral gardens, six kilometres off the west coast of Zanzibar, Chumbe Island is a bit special. Part luxury retreat, part educational centre for marine biology and environmental protection, the turquoise waters around the island are home to four hundred species of fish and two hundred species of stone coral. Fishing and scuba diving is banned in the reserve, but you can follow snorkelling trails along the island’s shallow reef. Accommodation is in beautifully designed bandas (two-tiered bungalows), rainwater is harvested and solar energy powers the showers and basins. www.chumbeisland.com, +255 24 2231040.

Le Camp, France

Take the train to Lexos (via Toulouse) and the owners will pick up and take you to their plush safari-style yurt camp in oak woodland overlooking the green Averyon valley. The huge solar-lit yurts, raised on wooden platforms, have handmade double beds with cotton sheets and feather pillows, and there's an open-air kitchen where you can help yourself to fresh herbs from the owner's garden then cool off in the camp's 20m-long natural swimming pool. www.lecamp.co.uk, +33 (0) 563 654 834.

The Orri de Planès, France

A family run eco lodge for hikers exploring the lush Planès valley on the GR10 Trans-Pyrenees trail, close to the Spanish border. The main lodge is a 10-room guesthouse in an old stone and wood farmhouse, but there's also a self-catering lodge and a small campground with 4 mini-yurts. Solar energy heats the water in the eco lodge, which has been certified by Green Key eco label. www.orrideplanes.com, +33 4 68 04 29 47.

Auberge Les Liards, France

Renovated farm ruins in the Livradois Forez natural regional park where there's cycling and horse-riding, though the owners can provide electric bikes if the hills look too much like hard work. The solar-powered guesthouse serves mainly organic food with fruit and veg from the owner's kitchen garden, and evenings are spent sipping homemade elderberry-flower syrup or bramble syrup on the terrace watching the sun set behind the Auvergne volcano range. www.lesliards.com, +33 476 968 944.

Orion B&B, France

Four luxury treehouses a whisper away from the French Riviera. These wonderful aboreal abodes are stand-alone, solid structures, made of red cedar and built between the trees rather than perched on their trunks, each with an ensuite double room (the family one has a footbridge over to the kid’s bunkbed hideaway). Back on terra firma, you can soak up the Mediterranean sun by a 15m natural pool and it's a short stroll to the medieval fortified village of Saint-Paul de Vence. www.orionbb.com [reservations web only].

E'Terra, Canada

At the edge of the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron's Georgian Bay, E'Terra is a luxurious private estate and wellness centre with a green underbelly. Extravagant suites with four poster beds provide views of the bay near the Tobermory harbour, yet the building has been awarded gold in the US and Canadian Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design programme (LEED) for a string of environmental achievements, including rainwater harvesting, energy conservation and waste management. www.eterra.ca, + 519 596 8300.

Sandele Eco-Retreat, Gambia

Winner of the 2009 Guardian and Observer Ethical Travel Award, Sandele is the vision of two Brits, Maurice Phillips and Geri Mitchell, whose upmarket hotel and learning centre has bought income, jobs and training to a poor rural area in southern Gambia. They have built four eco-friendly forest cabanas in the village of Kartong next to a 3-mile sandy beach as well as 5 guestrooms for the use of a charity that runs environmental courses. Renewable energy is used to pump a water well, over 20,000 trees and shrubs have been planted, and the long term plan is that after 25 years, the land and whatever is built on it will revert to the village. www.sandele.com, +220 4495887.

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