Consumer demand for travel experiences that are mindful of people and the planet is driving a conscious-travel movement with a focus on ethics and sustainability. We’ve curated a guide of some of the best especially for you, so sit back, get dreaming and
A tour of the world’s leading conscious-travel destinations
Ikurangi Eco Retreat, Rarotonga
Most visitors to the Cook Islands head for the beach, but Ikurangi Eco Retreat offers a different experience: its inland location showcases the alluring beauty of Mt Ikurangi and the jungle (but don’t worry, there’s a pool). Glamping tents have all the luxuries you’d expect from a hotel, including Fairtrade coffee and tea, waffle robes and private ensuites with hot water outdoor jungle showers. Ikurangi Eco Retreat is the Cook Islands’ first purpose-built eco accommodation, and won a customer service award at the Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards 2016/17. Day-to-day operations are focused on minimising environmental impact, and five per cent of profits go to local conservation initiatives.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Located on the island of Kunfunadhoo in Baa Atoll, one of the largest islands in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi is a stunningly beautiful resort that has been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury in recognition of its commitment to social and environmental sustainability. The Baa Atoll is the Maldives’ only UNESCO World Biosphere reserve, and is home to a tremendous diversity of marine life, making it a great place for scuba diving, snorkelling or freediving. Guests can also enjoy movies screened at the resort’s open-air theatre, Cinema Paradiso, or gaze at the stars through a state-of-the-art telescope in the observatory.
Soneva Kiri, Thailand
This award-winning luxury resort is located on Thailand’s fourth-largest but least-populated island, Koh Kood, and is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest and white beaches. Each villa has a private pool. Soneva Kiri also offers Tree pod Dining, which takes fine dining to new heights. Comfortably seated in a bamboo pod, guests are gently hoisted high into the tropical foliage of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest, then your meal and wine are delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter.
Sustainability and Soneva
The Soneva Foundation invests in projects with a positive environmental, social and economic impact, and offsets carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights. It delivered the first Gold Standard-certified carbon project in Myanmar, distributing energy-efficient cooking stoves to cut fuel costs and reduce indoor air pollution. To date, 13,000 stoves have been distributed, reaching 60,000 in more than 400 villages. Soneva sources all its water sustainably – 40 per cent rainwater, 15 per cent deep well and 45 per cent desalination. Water-saving showerheads and tap aerators are also used.