Initiatives Leading the Way in Sustainable Travel 

In a world where environmental consciousness is no longer a choice but a responsibility, the hospitality industry stands at a pivotal crossroads. Now more than ever travellers are looking for an authentic commitment to sustainability, and a new report from Euro International demonstrates how 80% of all travellers are willing to ensure that travel has sustainable elements. 

An annual celebration of environmental protection, Earth Day serves as a poignant reminder of just how necessary safeguarding of the planet truly is. Marking the moment, BIRD handpicks a selection of properties paving the way towards a greener future for the hospitality industry and beyond. 

Pioneering sustainable luxury: Soneva’s vision for eco-friendly hospitality

Word-leading resort group Soneva exemplifies a profound commitment to sustainability at its very core. From being 100% carbon neutral since 2012, to working with NGOs and species protection programmes, Soneva sets the eco-friendly hospitality bar high. Environmental consciousness stands at the forefront of every guest experience, including eco-friendly surfing, wildlife tours and guided night snorkelling, every moment spent at Soneva is not only unforgettable but highly respectful to the planet.

Collaborating with its neighbouring islands, local government, and marine plastic foundation Common Seas, Soneva alters its waste management through upcycling and recycling, in addition to ocean stewardship awareness across local communities. A strictly plastic free resort, Soneva provides drinking water in reusable bottles through its very own water plant, Soneva Water. As a groundbreaking result, Soneva’s approach has been adopted by the entire Baa Atoll with the Maldives government in the process of eradicating all single-use plastic. Combatting coral bleaching head on across the Maldives and beyond, Soneva also heads up its very own integrative coral restoration programme – one of the largest in the world – utilising ex-situ coral spawning and micro-fragmenting to naturally grow coral and transplant babies back onto the reef and rope nurseries.

To book: Prices for a one-bedroom villa start at £2,007 per night at Soneva Fushi on a bed and breakfast basis.  

New species for science and community engagement at Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

A conservation hub in Ecuador’s cloud forest, Mashpi Lodge has discovered 18 new species since opening 10 years ago, amid Latin America’s severe wildlife decline. Collaborating with local guides, biologists, and university scientists, Mashpi is dedicated to regenerating its 2,882-hectare reserve, home to over 500 plant species, 400 bird species (including 36 endemics), and diverse wildlife like monkeys, ocelots, and pumas.

Acquired in 2006 to safeguard against deforestation, Mashpi Lodge prioritises collaboration with neighbouring communities. Through a program where locals, including lodge employees, become shareholders, community engagement has surged. Now, 85% of staff are locals, transforming former forest exploiters into guides and conservationists. Guests join biodiversity research, analysing sounds from the Forest Guardians initiative and participating in scientist-led walks and bird watching excursions.

To book: Rates at Mashpi Lodge start from £1,110 per room per night, including shared transfers from main hotels in Quito, all meals, all guided activities and excursions within the reserve.

Reschio’s commitment to safeguarding its rich heritage while minimising its ecological impact

Surrounded by verdant valleys, towering pines and acre upon acre of nature at its wildest, Reschio stands as a beacon of sustainable living on its sprawling 3,700-acre family-owned estate in Italy. Run by the Bolza family, three generations have been dedicated to nurturing and preserving the bountiful wilderness, through organic farming, producing natural wines, organic olive oil and rich millefiori honey.

In harmony with nature, Reschio’s winemaker Alessandro tends to 10,000 vines, including Grechetto, Trebbiano, Malvasia, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagrantino, and Cesanese grapes, thriving in the estate’s unique microclimate. Completely natural, Reschio’s wines adapt to each year’s harvest and environmental variations. Guests enjoy these wines at Ristorante Alle Scuderie or in private villas, accompanied by immersive foraging workshops led by the estate’s resident expert, who shares insights into local plant properties and guides participants in crafting infused oils to take home.

To book: Rates at Hotel Castello di Reschio start from £792 per suite per night including breakfast for two. A two-night minimum stay applies.

Resplendent Ceylon; A Family Business Serving Humanity with Kindness

Set up by the Fernando family — founders of Dilmah, Sri Lanka’s foremost tea brand — Resplendent Ceylon was formed to create and manage a number of small, luxury resorts, tracing a unique trail across Sri Lanka. The brand has a strong philosophy ensuring business must also be a matter of human service, and in doing so champion kindness to both people and nature. To this effect, Dilmah Tea has been producing tea for over sixty years with a commitment to quality, authenticity, and ethical business practice. Global leaders, Resplendent Ceylon is well respected for its philanthropic work, with a significant part of profits funding humanitarian and environmental projects in Sri Lanka. One of which is the MJF Foundation, changing the lives of over 100,000 underprivileged Sri Lankans. The Foundation has awarded over 250 educational scholarships to members of the tea making families, provided livelihood assistance to over 1,000 families, supported more than 220 individuals through the Small entrepreneur Programme and provided holistic development programmes for children across the island. To date, over 150 differently abled children have been provided with special education, therapy and training through the Foundation’s work. 

To Book: Red Savannah offers a nine-night package in Sri Lanka £6,225 per person. Based on three nights at Ceylon Tea Trails, three nights at Wild Coast Tented Lodge and three nights at Cape Weligama based on Full Board throughout (except at Cape Weligama which includes daily breakfast), return Economy Class flights on Sri Lankan Airlines from London Heathrow and private transfers throughout. 

A rejuvenation of the ancient farmland at São Lourenço do Barrocal

Sitting amongst 780-hectares of wildflower-strewn meadows, olive groves and vineyards in Portugal’s wild Alentejo region, São Lourenço do Barrocal is a recently restored farmstead hotel, winery and spa, surrounded by olive groves and a vast organic garden. Since its foundation in 1820 as a farming village, the community who lived on the estate followed a self-sustainable path, with everything necessary to lead a fulfilled life being sourced or produced on site. 

Today, a rural retreat owned by the same family for over 200 years, sustainability sits at the heart of São Lourenço do Barrocal. During the project renovations, the team employed as many local materials as possible, including fired-bricks, adobe roof tiles and limewash to support complex structures. The foundations and roofs of seven buildings were made using only handmade bricks and old tiles which took 14 years of work and finally opened its doors to the public in 2016. Recycling and upcycling of interior elements took place, such as old wooden shutters re-made into coffee tables, or former ledgers that became works of art. Master potters from the neighbouring villages supplied ceramics and crockery while the region’s historic wool factory worked with the interior design studio to develop custom patterns for pillows and duvet quilting. Several years of work and investment resulted in the restoration of natural wildlife and the traditional Alentejo “montado” landscape as a natural consequence of cleaning the untamed vegetation and weeds and the adoption of non-intensive farming techniques.

To book: Rates at São Lourenço do Barrocal start from £351 based on two people sharing a Farm room per night. 

Connect with nature at Anopura, India  

Tucked away in the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains, Anopura is a pocket-sized paradise enveloped by lemon groves, frangipani trees, and marigolds. An hour’s drive northeast of Jaipur, the journey to Anopura is an adventure, with ancient temples, dramatic rock faces, and date palms decorating the jungle.

Everything at Anopura has been created with sustainability in mind. At its helm is Jaipur-based entrepreneur Aditya Baheti who has sensitively evolved the property into four individually designed villas and seven brand new suites, with a large farm and experiential dining areas found throughout. As part of Aditya’s commitment to the local community, he founded the Aditya Baheti Foundation (the only project of its kind in the area). Placing nearby villages at the core of its ethos, the foundation has repaired the roofs of schools, provided desks to students, and has also built respectable religious cremation grounds, a facility the locals were in desperate need of. Funded through the foundation, the Anopura Pottery Studio embodies the property’s commitment to preserving traditional and regional crafts, offering guests a glimpse into the craft that has shaped the community for centuries. Through this foundation, Aditya has positioned Anopura at the forefront of luxury and sustainable Indian hospitality.

To book: Rates for a One Bedroom Farm Villa start from £170 per night on a B&B basis. 

Give back to nature at Nirjhara, Bali 

Located in Kedungu on Bali’s southwest coast, sustainable hideaway Nirjhara is artfully designed around the cascading waterfall after which it is named. Blending seamlessly into nature, the property offers guests a secluded haven of relaxation, whilst ensuring continual improvement of the land it sits upon and the local community it sits within. Nirjhara’s approach to regenerative and sustainable luxury centres on three core pillars, land, climate, and community. 

The first pillar, land, focuses on Nirjhara’s steadfast determination to preserve the island’s natural environment begins with an innovative wastewater management system purifying sewage to ensure no contaminated water is released into the nearby ocean, river, and surrounding rice fields. Nirjhara has also banned single-use plastic throughout the resort, to combat superfluous waste. Whilst the second pillar looks at the properties environmentally sustainable principles; the hotel’s design favours the use of locally sourced materials such as natural stone found in the archipelago and reclaimed hevea wood procured from rubber plantations. Careful consideration was also given to reduce energy use, such as the orientation of each villa, high-quality thermal insulation, and the fitting of heat pumps and solar water heaters. The final pillar of community, highlights Nirjhara’s active steps to improve the local community’s wellbeing through financially supporting traditional events and religious ceremonies and financing several renovation projects including upgrading public roads and revitalising local schools.

To book: Prices start from £260 per night on a bed and breakfast basis, based on two sharing.