White-sand beaches, infinity pools, revitalising spas: we love to experience the good life on our holidays. But do you ever get a pang of guilt that your hotel might not be giving back what it takes from its surroundings? Here, travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have rounded up a few of their favourite family-friendly eco-luxe stays that give a little extra back – not just to us, but to the local community and environment too…
Nihiwatu Hotel, Sumba, Indonesia
The Nihiwatu Hotel is a luxury resort with a conscience. Hidden away on one of Indonesia’s most unexplored islands, its guiding principle is responsible luxury. Its eco-friendly approach is evident in its eateries: most of the ingredients used in its restaurants are grown in the resort’s organic garden, itself fed by a clever composting and water-recycling system. This green ethos extends beyond its walls, too, with community outreach programmes in local villages, a turtle hatchery and a foundation working to clean water and reduce malaria on the island. Almost entirely free of urban development, Sumba’s spectacular landscape makes for a surprisingly family-friendly getaway. Surf the world-famous breaks, explore the bush on horseback, or simply spend the hours away day-dreaming with the sand between your toes, the children running free in the estate’s winding paths, lush gardens, and on its rugged beach. Rates include all meals, plus children under five stay free.
Smith Extra: A family outing by open-top jeep to swim at Lapopu waterfall
The Harmony Hotel, Costa Rica
Howler monkeys signal sunrise at Harmony Hotel, where surfers catch some of the best waves on this side of the Pacific. Those who prefer the push and pull of a hammock to the power of the sea can laze in the shade with smoothies from the juice bar or explore the ferns, palms and flowers that make up this tropical paradise. In terms of eco-awareness, the hotel has a five-leaf rating from Costa Rica’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism and works with a local non-profit to protect local sea turtle habitats and end poaching. If you want to get actively involved, take a break from yoga and pool sessions and join staff in planting trees in the local community to help offset carbon emissions. Baby cots are available for free and babysitting can be arranged at the time of booking. Extra beds for the slightly older little-Smiths cost $50USD each.
Smith extra: A welcome cocktail and a complimentary sustainability tour
Song Saa Private Island, Koh Rong Islands, Cambodia
Song Saa Private Island Hotel in the Koh Rong Islands is an eco-luxe escape spread over a pair of pristine isles, with thatch and stone villas dotted among the jungle canopy or presiding over the sea. Being green-minded has never been so glamorous – this is a resort with serious eco cred. Song Saa is situated in a self-made marine reserve measuring one million square metres. There’s a team of marine biologists on staff, recycling and waste initiatives are in place, and the hotel is involved in sustainability projects in nearby villages, including the youth-focused Song Saa Sea Turtle programme. Every September, the Song Saa Foundation and Song Saa Private Island collaborate with the medical charity International Medical Relief in an archipelago-wide health mission to provide elementary health services to all villagers. Both the bed and breakfast and all-inclusive plans are free for children up to 5 years old; children aged 6 to 12 will be charged half the adult rate.
Smith extra: One 60-minute spa treatment each
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Dotting the powder-white beaches of a private island in the Maldives, boutique hotel Soneva Fushi’s eco-chic villas are the stuff of romantic Robinson Crusoe fantasies. Cast off your shoes and your worries: with a superb spa, mesmerising house reef and ask-for-anything butler service, you won’t need either in this laid-back playground of desert-island indulgence. While on the surface the resort seems preoccupied with castaway-chic, there is in fact an ethos of responsibility and sustainability at its core. The hotel has one of the largest solar power plants in the Maldives, plus staff have kept pockets of the island’s coastline untouched so turtles can continue nesting there. Food is grown and sourced locally where possible, and there’s even a purpose-built centre for waste management and recycling (where little Smiths can learn all about composting) as well as a marine conservation programme.
Smith extra: One dinner (at Nine or By the Beach) and a cookie-making class for children
With Mr & Mrs Smith you’ll enjoy our best-price guarantee, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.