IN PICTURES | 5 chic hotels that take eco-friendly design to the next level

New book 'Bon Voyage: Boutique Hotels For The Conscious Traveler' gives a window into the world of ecologically-designed and sustainably-run destinations

28 April 2019 - 00:01 By Mila Crewe-Brown
Bawah Reserve, Riau Islands, Indonesia.
Bawah Reserve, Riau Islands, Indonesia.
Image: Bawah Reserve/Bon Voyage/Gestalten 2019

Gestalten's Bon Voyage is set to be the essential guide for holidaymakers who like their stays sustainable and stylish. The book's tagline, Boutique Hotels for the Conscious Traveler, lets readers in on travel journo Clara le Fort's roundup of getaways that value hospitality and a small ecological footprint.

We pick our top 5 eco hotels from the book and reveal what they're doing to deserve the praise:


Riau Islands, Indonesia

Bawah Reserve is set on one of five jungle-backed islands in the Anambas Archipelago.

The degree to which this resort minimises its footprint is unparalleled, from the waste and water-recycling programme and eco-friendly products to the repurposing of materials that go into its suites.

60% of the hotel's fruit and vegetables are grown in its own gardens and Bawah's foundation channels funds back into the community and the land. 

Tulum Treehouse, Yucutan Peninsula, Mexico.
Tulum Treehouse, Yucutan Peninsula, Mexico.
Image: Claus Brechenmacher for Design Hotels/Bon Voyage/Gestalten 2019


Yucutan Peninsula, Mexico

Buried deep within the Yucutan mangrove forest that borders the famous Mexican peninsula's azure waters, this is a holiday locale not to be sniffed at.

A house with stripped-back aesthetic and generous openness, Tulum Treehouse focuses on collaboration. It fuses locally sourced natural materials with polished white concrete, lending it a breezy, organic feel.

The spot borders the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve where jaguars and panthers roam alongside some of Mexico's most well-known Mayan ruins. 

Finca La Donaira, Andalucia, Spain.
Finca La Donaira, Andalucia, Spain.
Image: Finca La Donaira/Javier Ortiz Pinazo/Bon Voyage/Gestalten 2019

Andalucia, Spain

Acing the agritourism game, this small hotel runs almost entirely off the produce it grows and rears in its own backyard.

Located in the breathtaking Sierra de Grazalema National Park in Andalucia, Finca la Donaira is a peaceful getaway with an agricultural bent, offering rustic styling with all the mod cons of luxury travel.

From its 1,730 acres of unspoilt land, it yields its own olive oil, honey, wine and eggs, plus a host of nutritious biodynamically grown food with little supplemented by the surrounding community. 

Masseria Moroseta, Puglia, Italy.
Masseria Moroseta, Puglia, Italy.
Image: Salva López/Bon Voyage/Gestalten 2019

Puglia, Italy

Generous proportions, a restrained palette and minimal lines converge in this architecturally sublime farmhouse in the Puglian countryside.

Masseria Moroseta's considered beauty is thanks to its owner's skill as an architect, editor and creator of Openhouse Magazine.

Designed to optimise thermal insulation, this modern-day farmhouse keeps cool in summer and warm in winter and uses heat from solar panels.

Meals come thanks to the property's own organic produce set among 600-year-old olive trees. 

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, Matetsi was designed to maximise on its guests' connection to nature.

Whether from its easy indoor-outdoor flow or the building's construction from natural and local materials, references to the surrounding location abound.

Solar-powered water pumps and an on-site water-bottling plant ensure the lodge takes little from the environment. Access to the KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area is a well-deserved selling point. 

Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Image: Matetsi Victoria Falls/Bon Voyage/Gestalten 2019

• 'Bon Voyage: Boutique Hotels  For The Conscious Traveler' by Gestalten and Clara le Fort is available on Amazon.