Green Lovin': 6 Luxury Eco Resorts For The Perfect Honeymoon
September 7, 2018 | BY Melissa Twigg
From beachfront retreats that practise sustainability to eco-resorts in the middle of nowhere, here are some prime luxury destinations where you can embrace both your inner tree hugger and your new status:
Best for adventurers: The Brando, Tetiaroa
Marlon Brando bought this private atoll after falling in love with it during the filming of 1962’s Mutiny on the Bounty. Tetiaroa, just 50 kilometres north of Tahiti, is now home to a super-luxurious beach resort. The atoll’s 12 low-lying islets frame a fairy-tale turquoise lagoon, a piece of paradise that can only be reached by helicopter or small aircraft.
It’s a playground for animal lovers. From August to October there is a good chance of seeing humpback whales, and year-round, anyone brave enough to dip below the surface of the sea with their snorkel will see lemon sharks, turtles, rays and rainbow-hued fish. A bottle of coral-friendly sunblock even comes free with your package (as do daily spa treatments and champagne on tap for honeymooners). You won’t see anything so polluting as a car or speedboat—instead, the lagoon can be explored by Polynesian outrigger canoe, kayak, paddleboard, bicycle or simply with a pair of flippers.
This is where Pippa Middleton spent her honeymoon, so follow her lead with a private dinner on a deserted stretch of beach, or spend a day exploring the colourful coral on a one-on-one snorkelling excursion.
Best for bird lovers: Andaz Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii has long been famed for its green credentials. But nowhere lives up to this quite as much as Andaz Maui. The resort is a model of eco-friendly luxury—it was refurbished from an existing hotel, with low-emission adhesives, sealants and paints used in the construction process.
Guests can get around on bikes for free, and there is even zero-emissions transport across South Maui via a partnership with Turtle Tracks and its electric vehicles. Instead of bottled water, guests are provided with a reusable BPA-free water bottle that they can fill with up with filtered water at various spots around the property. The hotel also reduces waste whenever possible—the glassware in the rooms are made from recycled wine bottles and even local coconuts are husked, drained to extract coconut water, and then turned into a body scrub for the spa.
But most importantly of all, Andaz Maui has adopted a stretch of land and created the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds and migratory ducks, a fascinating expanse to explore with a guide.
Take a boat trip to a remote nearby island where you can have lunch, swim, snorkel and even indulge in a joint massage.
Best for barefoot luxury: Soneva Kiri, Thailand
Sonu Shivdasani and his wife, Eva Malmström Shivdasani, more or less invented the concept of high-end sustainable travel. Their resorts are rooted in the idea that luxury doesn’t necessarily mean everything has to be shiny and high-tech, and that sometimes the simple life is the most enjoyable.
Perched on the shores of Koh Kood, one of Thailand’s largest and least developed islands, Soneva Kiri is made almost entirely of wood, giving you the impression that you’ve stumbled on the world’s most luxurious re-enactment of Robinson Crusoe. And you won’t want to be rescued once you see the glamorous villas, complete with outdoor bath and rainforest shower under the sun. There’s also an excellent Thai restaurant that only uses food picked in the vegetable garden—a restaurant Gwyneth Paltrow says is her favourite on earth.
Shoes, mobile phones and laptops are discouraged, so instead of updating Instagram, spend an evening star-gazing with your new spouse in the magnificent, state-of-the-art observatory—champagne and snacks on tap.
Best for pristine beaches, Joali Maldives
Proving its green credentials from birth, Joali, on Muravandhoo Island on the Raa Atoll, is designed in and around the natural forest. Trees sit in the middle of villas and wind their way around restaurants and play areas, creating the sense that you are staying in the heart of wonderfully luxurious natural wilderness—no sleeping bag required.
The Raa Atoll is one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, sitting on the edge of the equator, and is blessed with brilliant blue waters, unspoiled coral reefs and pristine white-sand beaches, while the lush interior is abundant with coconut palms. Go swimming with manta rays or wander through the extravagantly pretty flower garden and learn about local plants that can cure ailments.
Have a romantic dinner for two under the stars and, if you’re lucky, watch the turtles trudging up the beach to their nests as you sip your wine
Best for reef lovers: Lizard Island, Australia
Sitting right on the Great Barrier Reef, it’s no surprise that the owners of Australia’s Lizard Island are wild about marine protection. For guests, days revolve around the reef, with excursions on catamarans, motorised dinghies and paddle skis as well as daily snorkel lessons and trips in a glass-bottom boat. The reef itself is so extraordinary that you’ll find yourself ignoring the tennis courts, infinity pool and glossy gym.
See the good work the resort is doing by taking tours of the Lizard Island Research Station, which is operated by the Australian Museum, and learn about the history of the Great Barrier Reef and why it desperately needs our protection.
Honeymooners can celebrate Down Under-style by opting for private dinners on the beach, spa treatments for two, or even an underwater blessing.
Best for jungle lovers: Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Set in the pristine Anambas archipelago in a far-flung corner of Indonesia, Bawah Reserve is wonderfully luxurious and sustainably minded to the core. The remote archipelago was one of the country’s first marine conservation areas, and anyone building there has had to be mindful of their millions of neighbours below the sea’s surface.
Five lush jungle-covered beach-fringed islands rise out of three bright blue lagoons, and the hotel enhances the natural beauty with aplomb. Villas have been positioned around ancient trees, roofs are thatched with extra-large palm leaves, and the tables and chairs are made from flotsam found on the beaches. In the glamorous rooms, bamboo lattice walls and peaked ceilings create natural ventilation that removes the need for aircon.
Spend your days immersed in nature, hiking through the rainforest alongside monitor lizards and 2,000-year-old palms, venturing into caves to see hundreds of swirling bats, and snorkelling among parrotfish, clownfish and turtles.
You and your new spouse can be whisked into the rainforest by helicopter for a romantic picnic for two.
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