Ecoliving

Whether in the bustling heart of Manhattan or on a tranquil Alpine slope, these hotels focus on sustainability and the environment.

Text: Pontus Dahlman    
The UFO

1. Treehotel Sweden

Don’t just imagine drifting off to sleep high above the ground: that experience can be had in countless hotels around the world. Instead, imagine resting amidst sun-flecked branches, with birdsong all around. This, of course, is a tree house: the pinnacle of relaxing in the fresh air. A daydream, to be sure, but in some places it can actually come true.

In a pine forest next to a river in Sweden’s northernmost landscape Norrbotten, you can choose from seven different “tree hotels” to check into. Each is equipped for comfortable living and designed by a different architect. Just take The Mirrorcube, whose walls are made from reflective mirror materials – talk about melting into the greenery! The Bird’s Nest also does this in its own way, with its “wall” of sprawling branches.

The Treehotel, which is the name of this resort, is part of Britta’s Guesthouse. Here, wild game and other local ingredients are often on the menu as an extra ecological bonus.

Where: Treehotel is part of Britta’s Guesthouse, situated in the village of Harads, between Luleå and Jokkmokk in north Sweden.

Eco profile: Treehotel has been built so that the living trees are not damaged where the huts are attached. All seven rooms are ecologically conscious in terms of sanitation and building materials.

Website: treehotel.se and brittaspensionat.se

2. Crosby Street Hotel USA

A taste of the country in the middle of New York, Crosby Street Hotel has a lush vegetable garden on its roof. It was the first hotel in town to receive gold certification for its environmental performance.

Where: On Crosby Street in the neighbourhood of SoHo, New York.

Eco profile: The first hotel in the city to be awarded the LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. The rooftop garden supplies the hotel restaurant with tomatoes and other products, and also houses its own small henhouse.

Website: firmdalehotels.com

 

3. Whitepod Switzerland

Whitepod’s rooms resemble modern hermit’s huts, spread across a steep hillside with breath-taking views of the Swiss Alps. Whitepod offers an original resort for the eco-conscious mountain tourist.

Where: In the village of Les Cerniers in ­Switzerland. Nearest airport: Geneva.

Eco profile: The huts’ energy consumption for heating and cooling is 30 per cent less than that of traditional buildings. The design saves building materials. Limited motor transport.

Website: whitepod.com

 

Seaside. Atlantic views on Fogo Island. Photo: Alex Fradkin

4. Fogo Island Inn Canada

Resting on stilts on the weather-beaten rocks of the Canadian east coast, a few steps from the angry North Atlantic, Fogo Island Inn has made a virtue of isolation.

Where: On Fogo Island, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Eco profile: The inn is run along thorough ecological principles, from the prioritisation of local suppliers, to the recycling of rainwater. Design: All 29 rooms offer “floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and sky”. The hotel’s architect, Todd Saunders, is local but has offices in Norway.

Website: fogoislandinn.ca

5. Soneva Kiri Thailand

By the beach and at the edge of the rainforest on the vast but sparsely populated island of Koh Kood, Soneva Kiri awaits. It is a luxurious resort for the eco-conscious tourist looking to unwind according to the resort’s motto: “No news, no shoes.” Where: On the Thai island of Koh Kood. Eco profile: Soneva Kiri uses an advanced, organic wastewater treatment method. The resort has its own biologist. Website: soneva.com