Get back to Nature with the best eco holidays in the world's remotest beauty spots
Enjoy guilt-free luxury at Azura at Quilalea, an intimate Indian Ocean island escape in northern Mozambique. While it piles on the pampering – seven, sea-facing African-chic villas all have private butlers – the power you use is all wind and sun-generated. And the whole resort sits in a marine sanctuary where you can snorkel happily among turtles and dolphins.
By Jane Hayward, Travel Writer
More comfortable than a tent and cooler than a yurt, geodomes are creating quite a stir in the world of glamping. Loveland, which sleeps two, is one of the best. Its back-to-nature setting on a Bude farm is a delight while the owners? design background means its interior has more than a hint of Hoxton. There’s even a projector so you can watch movies under the stars!
Grootbos, a five-star, family-run nature reserve two hours from Cape Town, is one of the best spots in the world to watch sea life. You’ve every chance of seeing whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins – the marine Big Five! Its USP is a tranquil, wilderness-like atmosphere. Just 11 harmoniously-decorated suites flow out private decks overlooking Walker Bay – wonderful for early morning coffees. And two ‘garden’ restaurants serve imaginative versions of ‘old-school’ favourites.
What says summer fun better than a houseboat bobbing near the chic South Hams town of Dartmouth? Perfect for couples, Faithful, a stylishly ‘recycled’ fishing boat, has a double cabin, shower and galley kitchen (stocked with utensils from HMS Ark Royal), plus welcome extras like fresh flowers on arrival and use of the Dart Marina Hotel’s spa.
A big trend in eco tourism is hotels that seem to ‘flow’ into their surroundings. Europe’s most compelling is Juvet, a modernist retreat set by a fast-flowing forest river in west Norway. Though it was originally designed for outdoorsy hiking holidays, many visitors stay simply to unwind in front of awesome views. Flights touch down in nearby Alesund, see Norwegian.com.
Sheepskin has impressed since launch with its portfolio of stylish rustic properties. Their latest, Ty Mamgu, is an engaging, vintage-styled cabin set on an organic farm near Cardigan Bay. Highlights include a sumptuous double bed made from a solid oak gate and traditional welsh blankets that are perfect to snuggle under while star gazing from the deck.
Now even French châteaux are getting in on the glamping craze! Château de Labro, a splendid 16th century manor near Rodez in the Midi-Pyrénées, has built a romantic oak treehouse for two in its leafy grounds. It’s hard to resist its shabby-chic styling: a vintage chandelier dangles above the bed; chilled champagne sits next to it. Clamber down to indulge in the château’s restaurant and spa with hot tub.
The beauty of the Sani Resort, a collection of four five-star hotels set on the Kassandra Peninsula?s golden beaches, is that it feels just a regular Greek holiday. You?ll enjoy watersports on the Aegean, pampering spa treatments and smart restaurants. But behind the scenes, an impressive green programme is in operation, including longstanding work to preserve the hotels? sheltering pine forests and their birdlife.
The glorious Whitsunday Islands, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, are Queensland?s most luxurious getaway. Paradise Bay resort lives up to its name with just 10 eco-bungalows, each with its own hammock where you can swing gently, gazing out to lapping waves. A team of can-do staff will arrange perfect days exploring the islands by private catamaran. Or just laze by the infinity pool, waiting for sunset when cocktails pave the way for gourmet dinners under the Milky Way. To tailor-make an Australian holiday see trailfinders.com.
An essential stop-off on a Cambodian odyssey, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a tranquil chain of 12 buoyant tented villas on the Tatai River (which is easily reached from the border town of Koh Kong). The villas are surprisingly well-appointed with flat screen TVs, and a restaurant serves good Cambodian-with-a-twist cuisine. But it?s simple pleasures that are the most memorable, like sipping sundowners on your deck and swimming at a nearby waterfall as monkeys chatter overhead.