Luxury travel is no longer synonymous with the extravagance and self-indulgence of times gone by. A fresh wave of forward-thinking travellers is driving the demand for luxurious eco-friendly holidays, who are planning trips with more care for the planet and the communities they are visiting. To make the search for sustainable luxury hotels easier for the considerate traveller, we’ve carefully curated the Considerate Collection which spotlights boutique hotels exemplary in their eco efforts.
These pioneering properties have been handpicked in line with the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as well as Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) across three key pillars, ensuring all hotels are community minded, cultural custodians, and environmentally conscious. By applauding the small hotels making a big difference and sharing their social and environmental impact we are striving to actively effect change.
Launching with 26 hotels in 16 countries, we are sowing the seed for the Considerate Collection to grow with new additions over time, alongside providing ongoing support to our wider portfolio of over 500 hotels with bespoke toolkits developed by leading sustainability consultants. Here, we unearth some of the smaller details which make the Considerate Collection hotels green on the inside and out.
Passionately committed to making their communities a better place for both locals and visitors to enjoy alike, each Considerate Collection hotel is both people powered and community centric – from ensuring equal employment opportunities to local residents to championing local products at every turn. Many of the hotels are locally owned, and have been in the same family for several generations like Susafa, a 200-year-old Sicilian masseria in the cultivating hands of the Saeli-Rizzuto family, fifth generation agricultural entrepreneurs who have a deep rooted, personal connection to the land and neighbouring hamlets.
Become ‘modern farmers’ like Manfredi Rizzuto (pictured above) through Susafa’s ‘Let’s Sow the Future’ initiative by adopting a field or plant on the estate, observing crops in-person or via webcam before receiving the fruits of your harvest as flour, tomato purée, pasta, cherry jam or olive oil.
From one farming family to the next, in the small Norwegian village of Glomset, fjord farmers Inger Anne and Bjørn Tolaas deliver homemade pastries to Storfjord, a secluded ‘slow life’ retreat overlooking the Sunnmøre Alps, in addition to hosting hotel guests for farm tours, baking classes, and a local food safari with meals of up to 20 home-cooked courses accompanied by Norse sagas.
Alongside organising visits to the Tolaases’ farm, Storfjord supports Storfjordens Venner, an organisation which protects the remote farms along the fjords from Ålesund to Geiranger, preserving the old buildings and keeping their Viking history alive.
Nordic neighbours Hotel Rangá in southern Iceland, run by Icelandic fisherman turned hotelier Friðrik Pálsson, have collected over 200 original pieces from local painters and craftsmen for over a decade in an attempt to make the island’s art scene more accessible to guests. Almost every room is decorated with saga-inspired murals, from galloping horses and sleepy sheep to purple lupins, while the bed in the Icelandic Master Suite features wood carvings by local artist Sigríður Jóna Kristjánsdóttir and is dressed in what is probably the largest hand knitted Icelandic wool sweater, Lopapeysa, ever made.
Originally intended as a rural resort for horse lovers, Hotel Rangá was founded on the banks of the Rangá River, from which it takes its name, by Sigurbjörn Bárðason – one of Iceland’s best known horsemen. The luxury log cabin still offers horse-back tours to see volcanoes, glaciers, and even the Northern Lights, with local equestrians.
Taking its name from the Chorotegan word for ‘blue’, Hotel Nantipa pays tribute to the native tribe who have lived in harmony with the Nicoya Peninsula since ancient times. Nicoya is one of the world’s five Blue Zones, as recognised by UNESCO and protected by the Catuza Chamber of Tourism – of which the Costa Rican hotel is a founding affiliate.
Meanwhile, in the last remaining Himalayan kingdom, guests of all-suite outpost Gangtey Lodge can connect on a deeper level with the Bhutanese community through a series of spiritual experiences, including blessing and breakfast ceremonies at the Gangteng Monastery, meditation sessions with the monks, butter lamp rituals and player flag hoisting behind the local Shedra. From tea and cinnamon plantation tours with Sri Lankan spice experts at The Fortress Hotel & Spa, to hand-line fishing with Thai fishermen at The Racha, these meaningful interactions take travellers into the heart of a community while making a positive socio-economic impact on the people who make a place unique.
The activities on offer at Considerate Collection hotels not only immerse guests in the local way of life, but also showcase the culture and customs of a place and its people. As protectors, preservers, and promoters of cultural heritage, each hotel within the collection is a gateway to experiencing a destination at its most authentic – whether it’s taking a guided garden walk around the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary to learn about the healing powers of over 100 Bhutanese herbs, or learning how to make tortillas from scratch with Mayan women at GAÏA Riverlodge in the depths of the Belizean rainforest. Designed and built with respect to a traditional Cypriot village square, Columbia Beach Resort hosts regular Cypriot Nights, with local musicians, folkloric dancers and traditional foods.
Elements of traditional and contemporary local culture are also woven through the design, decoration and various other details of Considerate Collection hotels, like the traditional long-tail boat which sits within the Rak Talay Restaurant at Pimalai Resort & Spa, giving guests a true taste of Koh Lanta cuisine. In a rustic corner of Spain, Torre del Marques has been thoughtfully decorated with the rural area’s agricultural heritage in mind, such as the circular esparto rugs which resemble the filter bands placed between layers of olives in the traditional pressing process in Spanish stone mills.
Spa treatments at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa centre around the life-giving properties of its natural springs, using raw materials such as coffee, lemon grass, pineapple, cocoa, yucca, and rice to create a true ‘Tico’ wellness experience in the palm-thatched bungalows.
Often repurposed or renovated properties, hotels within the collection take great care to maintain spiritually, historically, and archaeologically significant buildings, monuments, and artefacts while sensitively improving upon objects of cultural interest through ongoing heritage and restoration projects. For example, to honour its heritage as a 17th century theatre, The Dylan Amsterdam organises arts and culture events including plays for both locals and guests to enjoy, as well as maintaining the original building through regular restoration work – including its 18th century bakery turned Michelin-starred restaurant.
Similarly, in the heart of the UNESCO listed medina amidst the souks of Marrakech, La Sultana Marrakech has been refurbished using traditional Moroccan decoration techniques, and regularly maintains the ancient houses in the vicinity to preserve the Red City’s unique architecture.
Decades after the refurbishment, La Sultana Marrakech is keeping these centuries-old techniques alive through an architectural heritage tour of the property led by La Sultana’s Living Architectural & Heritage Curators.
Undergoing a less conventional yet equally creative transformation, the 18th century dairy at Domaine des Etangs is now a contemporary art gallery, where guided tours take place on request with a cultural mediator who are on hand to talk visitors through the numerous exhibitions at La Laiterie and the permanent artworks on display throughout the estate.
These are not simply ‘tread lightly’ properties, these are some of the trailblazers of the sustainable luxury hotel world. Their sustainable strategies go well beyond reducing negative impact on their immediate environment, instead taking a regenerative and restorative approach wherever possible. From certified Passivhaus property Hotel Arima & Spa, a prototype of zero energy buildings whose savings in CO2 emissions are similar to what 15,000 trees would absorb annually, to an eco-responsible golf course in the heart of the Alpilles at Domaine de Manville – the first of its kind in France to hold the ECOCERT label – these ethos driven properties are constantly coming up with creative ways to conserve energy, reduce, reuse, and recycle waste, while taking significant steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Taking inspiration from the tiered lemon houses of Lake Garda, Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda produces electricity, heating and cooling through clean, renewable sources such as biomass, cogeneration and solar panels, while sister property Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti offsets its direct CO2 emissions and those of travelling guests through the purchase of CERs credits.
Many have adopted a zero-waste approach to operations, like summit-level sanctuary FORESTIS, which collects seasonal produce from local farmers in reusable FORESTIS food boxes, while herbs, roots, and edible flowers are picked from the on-site organic garden. Then there are those who are striving to become self-sufficient in various ways, from the two-hectare permaculture farm at Domaine de Manville which exclusively supplies the estate’s kitchens with certain varieties of vegetables, plants and herbs, to the installation of beehives at the Grove of Narberth and Le Domaine d’Ablon for honey production and flower pollination.
Future plans at Norman country retreat Le Domaine d’Ablon include constructing a greenhouse for over 40 citrus varieties, geothermal heating for the outdoor pool, and building a wood-burning oven for baking bread.
From coral reef regeneration and ocean conservation to wildlife rewilding and tree reforestation, our hotels play an active role in restoring the natural beauty of our planet. Rainforest retreat Keemala is a long-standing supporter of the Royal Thai Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation project, while the private island of Petit St. Vincent has worked tirelessly to develop marine protected areas around its Caribbean waters along with establishing a coral rejuvenation project in 2016. In the Indian Ocean, Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort passionately supports several marine conservation projects such as the installation of artificial reefs with coral fragments, in addition to running a reforestation programme to restore Mauritius’ Jacotet river banks.
It is not enough for our hotels to simply give back to their communities, they are on a shared mission to enrich the earth and the lives of all those who inhabit it.
Look out for the Considerate sage leaf on slh.com. This indicates that a hotel is part of the collection and embodies each of the three pillars.