The 6 best eco-friendly hotels in the UK
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The impact that travel has on the planet is causing concern for an increasing number of travellers. Although flying is the biggest contributor to the travel-based carbon footprint, hotels come in a close second, accounting for more than 20% of tourism-based emissions.
More and more, hotels across the world are implementing eco-friendly practices as part of their business model, allowing people to still stay in luxury accommodation at the most in-demand destinations without leaving a hefty carbon footprint behind.
For a hotel to be classed as sustainable, it generally has to account for three factors: economic, social and environmental. This encompasses everything from sourcing local food to fair worker rights and providing employment to local people. Here are our top picks from around the U.K.
The Green House is a four-star hotel, occupying a 32-room Grade II Victorian villa located next to some of England’s best beaches, as well as being close to the beautiful wilderness of the New Forest.
The principles of the hotel are designed to ensure that the hotel minimises its environmental impact as well as acting in an ethical and responsible manner. It sources locally, reduces, reuses and recycles and considers everything it brings in and out of the hotel. In terms of the design, it has free electric car charge points in the carpark, wallpaper that is Forest Stewardship Council-certified and made in the U.K. with vegetable inks and TVs with a range of eco settings, such as automatically adjusting to the light levels in the room.
The hotel’s concern for the environment extends to directly helping local wildlife, too — it provides bird and bat boxes in its garden. Additionally, it runs something known as the “Green Goals Project” where it invests in local projects that help people to improve their local environment.
Rooms start at about £124 per night in the next month.
This place is described as a “luxury eco-hotel just for grown-ups”. Feel connected to the outdoors with the large, light and airy spaces with views of the sea, cliffs and sky. This hotel has a “cherish the world” ethos and aims to redefine luxury, making it a rich experience without over-consumption. The enhanced connection to nature is highlighted with its meadow gardens, clifftop hot tubs and an Ayurvedic-inspired spa.
Even the pool uses a living reed bed as a filtration system where microorganisms balance the chemistry of the water, keeping it completely clean and clear for an amazing freshwater swimming experience. Other impressive sustainability aspects of the hotel include a roof constructed from sea thrift, greywater harvesting (using wastewater from showers to flush toilets) and a restaurant that uses only local and seasonal Cornish ingredients.
Rooms start at about £247 per night in the next month.
This hotel, also in Cornwall, has won multiple awards with room options ranging from hotel rooms in a grand mansion to self-catering lodges surrounded by 24 acres of countryside and sea views. This hotel is entirely self-contained, with its own water, electricity and sewage systems. The property also encourages people to get outside and enjoy the natural world, with nature walks offered in its range of activities. Unlike The Scarlet, this hotel is family-friendly, as well as being dog-friendly.
Rooms start at about £108 per night in the next month.
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Staying at the La Suite West hotel in London, an exclusively plant-based property, will help to reduce the environmental impact of your trip. This boutique hotel is located in central London, within walking distance of Notting Hill, Portobello Market and Marble Arch. Its restaurant offers a delicious plant-based twist on classic favourites inspired by the chef’s Italian and Japanese heritage using healthy, fresh and sustainable ingredients. The rooms have been rated four-star and feature four-poster beds and blackout curtains — designed to incorporate a “touch of zen”.
Rooms start at about £98 per night in the next month.
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An alternative option for London is The Zetter in Clerkenwell, near the city. It has 59 boutique rooms, each individually designed with a vintage-modern style. There are also seven rooftop studios, each with its own private terrace with incredible panoramic views of London. There are a number of eco-friendly practices including a borehole beneath the building that cools the fridges and bedrooms, environmentally sensitive building materials, chemical-free shower products, as well as an in-house green team. The on-site restaurant is also one of the founding members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Rooms start at about £125 per night in the next month.
If you are wanting somewhere with easy access to London but with more of that British countryside feel, then Oakley Court in Windsor is a great option. This is a 118-bedroom country house property, which the Queen has apparently visited. Oakley Court is committed to working sustainably and has dual flush toilet systems and rainwater collection tanks, an “upcycled” outdoor bar and energy management schemes in place, as well as onsite nature trails equipped with hedgehog homes and birdhouses.
Rooms start at about £170 per night in the next month.
These hotels are just some of the many options for eco-hotels that are emerging around the world but are the perfect examples that travelling green is now at no expense of home comforts and luxury. You can still go away and feel as though you are treating yourself without harming our planet. And with hotel rates being so reasonable at the moment, now could be the time to treat yourself to a guilt-free night or two away.
Featured photo courtesy of The Zetter Hotel
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