Celebrate International Day of Forests with these forest-forward hotels
A s the world seeks to slow the pace of climate change, more and more of us are turning to trees. A staggering 80% of the planet’s land animals and plants live in forests, and yet deforestation continues at an alarming rate. International Day of Forests was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to raise awareness for all forest types, and encourage forest-friendly efforts worldwide. Here, we shed light on our Considerate Collection hotels planting the way to a greener future for all – from a summit-level spa hotel re-greening South Tyrol, to a rainforest-rejuvenating retreat in Costa Rica.
1. FORESTIS, South Tyrol – Italy
Located in the thick of the forest in the UNESCO-protected Dolomites, FORESTIS is a back-to-nature retreat which weaves the elements through every guest experience. For every tree felled in the hotel’s construction, two new trees were planted, or the wood was repurposed into fencing and furniture to preserve and re-grow as much of the precious woodland as possible. Guests are also encouraged to go without housekeeping where they can, and for every day this service is waived, FORESTIS plants a tree in South Tyrol.
The forest cuisine at FORESTIS is overseen by native South Tyrolean Executive Chef Roland Lamprecht, who foraged his way through the forests and meadows as a child and now expresses his love of the woodlands in the most delicious way. Using essences from the surrounding forests, such as herbs, nuts, and berries, as well as shrubs, barks, and fir needles, each plate becomes a little work of art dedicated to the Dolomites.
2. Gangtey Lodge, Phobjikha Valley – Bhutan
Wrapped in an untouched landscape of mountains and forests, Gangtey Lodge is an all-suite Himalayan hideaway which encourages guests to emotionally, spiritually, and physically connect with their natural surroundings. The farmhouse-inspired lodge celebrates the coronation of His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck on the 2nd June each year by planting 100 trees, inviting guests to join in with a ‘planting and picnic’ experience in a nearby meadow at the edge of the forest. Return to your Farmhouse Suite for an evening beside an energy-efficient fireplace, fuelled by sustainably sourced firewood from government managed forests.
3. Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire – Wales
Overlooking the rolling Preseli Mountains and Narberth Hills in Wales’ picture-perfect Pembrokeshire, the Grove of Narberth is a lovingly restored traditional Welsh house with 26 acres of sustainably-maintained grounds. During the hotel’s recent woodland project, over 5,000 trees were planted using local species like sessile oak, ash, birch, willow, alder, holly and hazel to create a new natural habitat for wildlife, flora and fauna – with the added bonus of beautiful walks for Grove guests. The Grove have also created a wildlife pond, hung bird boxes, and planted wild meadows and trees to promote increased biodiversity, while retaining the ancient hedgerows which sustain the habitat of the many species of birds, butterflies and other local wildlife.
4. Hotel Arima & Spa, San Sebastián – Spain
Rising above the treetops of the Miramón Forest is Hotel Arima & Spa, a ‘soulstainable’ retreat which seems to float amidst the leafy landscape. While laying down its roots in the Miramón Forest, Hotel Arima branched out into the Basque Country community by collaborating with local landscapers who select native plants and trees especially for the surrounding environment. The ‘live green, love green’ hotel also takes advice from the accumulated experience of gardeners based in the area and purchases plants from local nurseries with a high level of biodiversity in regional plant production.
As a certified Passivhaus property, this sustainable-from-scratch hotel has been entirely constructed according to eco principles, and is a prototype of zero energy buildings. The savings in CO2 emissions are similar to what 15,000 trees would absorb annually.
5. Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, Bel Ombre – Mauritius
Set on the wild south coast of Mauritius in a protected nature reserve, in an area which was once home to celebrated Irish botanist Charles Telfair Heritage le Telfair has the feel of a private village – with beautifully renovated villas scattered throughout its tropical gardens. The resort has partnered with Mauritius Wildlife Foundation to preserve native species present in the forests of Heritage Nature Reserve, while running a reforestation programme in partnership with Rogers, its parent company, to restore the nearby Jacotet river banks. Heritage Le Telfair takes guests on a Mindful Nature Walk at Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tropically tranquil introduction to forest bathing.
6. Domaine des Etangs, Massignac – France
You’ll find yourself in a storybook landscape of waterways and woodland at Domaine des Etangs, a turreted castle nestled deep in the Charente countryside. The Domaine’s forests are subject to sustainable management with PEFC certification, where local tree species are regularly planted within its 1,000 hectare grounds. Soil quality analysis is carried out by Claude and Lydia Bourguignon, biologist researchers renowned for the implementation of natural soil enrichment techniques, the ensure the land remains naturally fertile. As you stroll, look out for wildlife – from herons and otters to deer and Limousin cows (possibly the largest herd in all of Europe!)
7. Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, La Fortuna de San Carlos – Costa Rica
Explore lush jungle, natural hot springs and wake up to a dawn chorus of tropical birds at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, an eco-friendly base for discovering Costa Rica’s astounding Arenal Volcano region. Set in more than 900 acres of verdant rainforest reserve, this forward-thinking resort has been awarded five out of five leaves for its sustainability initiatives by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) – including planting over 1,500 trees on property as part of an ongoing reforestation project.
Recharge your batteries in the palm-thatched spa which centres 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.