Eco hotels are becoming increasingly popular. A 2015 study by consulting firm Deloitte found that
“95 per cent of business travelers surveyed believe that the hotel industry should be undertaking ‘green’ initiatives and that sustainability will become a defining issue for the hospitality industry in 2015 and beyond”
I’ve been inspired by all the different ways to search for that perfect eco-hideaway. Websites like Green Tourist give up-to-the-minute tips on the new environmentally friendly hotspots. And every travel publication and website – from Lonely Planet, to the UK Guardian’s travel supplement – has a regular feature on sustainable tourism.
Here are a couple of eco hotels that I’d love to stay in, as well as one that I’ve been lucky enough to visit. Curl up with a coffee – reading about these places will give you a warm (and virtuous) glow!
Tree Top Huts, Nr Lillehammer, Norway
Tree Top Huts are luxury treehouses set 25 feet above the ground in a secluded forest not far from Lillehammer, north of Oslo, Norway. Guests are only told where their treehouse is when they book, so the location is kept top-secret. The six treetop huts are spread around in the almenning forest, with the most distant Pine Hut 10 kilometers north of the others. To reach the sky hut (pictured above), you have to cross a swamp on wooden shutters. The huts sound perfect for travellers who want to gaze at the stars at night, go dog-sledding or snowshoe without being interrupted.
Getting there Tree Top Huts are in the almenning forests of Ringsaker, between Hamar and Lillehammer, about two hours’ drive from Oslo. Their precise location is a secret.
Puraides, in the Salzburg Alps at Leogang, Austria
Built on the site of a farm that’s been running since the 17th Century, Puradies is a vision of reclaimed wood and slate. The cows from the farm used to be housed in the space that is now the bar, above. Guests at this spa hotel can visit the hotel’s organic farm, whose vegetables, fruit, eggs and organic meat are all used in hotel’s cuisine. Puradies is surrounded by the breathtaking mountains of the Salzburg Alps. In winter it’s a ski-in, ski-out hotel, and in the warmer months it makes a good base for hiking and cycling. We stayed at Puradies recently – you can read about our trip here.
Getting there Leogang is just over an hour’s drive from Salzburg Airport. Munich and Innsbruck are also accessible.
Eagle Brae Log Cabins, Scottish Highlands
Eagle Brae luxury log cabins are set on a hilltop overlooking the Scottish glens. The Highland cabins are sustainably sourced from British Columbia, and hand made by craftspeople using Norwegian techniques. They have grass insulated roofs and eco-friendly wood burners. Eagle Brae is close to several Munros – or Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet high – as well as three large lochs and a pinewood forest. Red deer are common, and the keen-eyed will spot golden eagles, roaming from their eyrie, just three miles away.
Getting there Eagle Brae is 23 miles from Inverness train station and city centre, and 30 miles from Inverness Airport. The closest village is Beauly (13 miles).
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