Greek re­sort in Zagori re­gion named best eco-lodge in the world

Kathimerini English - - Focus - HAY­LEY PROKOS

A Greek re­sort was named the World’s Lead­ing Eco-Lodge at the World Travel Awards Grand Fi­nal in Lis­bon last week.

Aristi Moun­tain Re­sort & Vil­las re­ceived the dis­tinc­tion for a sec­ond year in a row, draw­ing at­ten­tion to the coun­try’s ef­forts in the area of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.

Built in the high­lands of Greece’s north­west­ern re­gion of Zagori, the Aristi Moun­tain Re­sort & Vil­las blends in with its nat­u­ral, ver­dant sur­round­ings and re­flects the ar­chi­tec­tural aes­thet­ics of the sur­round­ing vil­lages – a gray and brown stone ex­te­rior with nat­u­ral slate and wood roofing. Yet de­spite its mod­est ex­te­rior, the re­sort is for­ward-think­ing and re­mains fo­cused on be­com­ing even more sus­tain­able.

A high-tech sys­tem cleans waste wa­ter, min­i­miz­ing its harm­ful im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, heat pumps cut down on the need for heat­ing oil, and the re­sort is now striv­ing to re­duce both waste and its use of plas­tic by pur­chas­ing prod­ucts with lit­tle-to-no plas­tic or other friv­o­lous pack­ag­ing. The re­sort also plans to elim­i­nate all sin­gle-use plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles and plas­tic straws on the prop­erty and dur­ing guest ex­cur­sions by mid-2019.

Rooms and vil­las are dec­o­rated with mod­ern fur­ni­ture and work­ing fire­places. The restau­rant serves lo­cal Epirote dishes, made from pro­duce grown in the re­sort’s gar­den and green­house. It also has spa fa­cil­i­ties and of­fers a num­ber of unique ex­cur­sions, as a re­sult of its co­op­er­a­tion with sev­eral al­ter­na­tive tourism com­pa­nies. The re­sort con­sid­ers it­self a start­ing point for hik­ers, na­ture lovers and any­one in­ter­ested in vis­it­ing the Zagoro­ho­ria vil­lages.

The re­sort’s owner, Vasilis Iosi­fidis, is also the co-founder of ZEN (the Zagori Ex­cel­lence Net­work), an in­sti­tu­tion that pro­motes tourism in Zagori while pre­serv­ing the re­gion’s en­vi­ron­ment and bio­di­ver­sity through green prac­tices. At last year’s cer­e­mony, Iosi­fidis said he was “proud to rep­re­sent the Greek moun­tains,” an as­pect of Greece that is of­ten over­shad­owed by the coun­try’s bet­ter-known seascapes and sites of an­cient ru­ins.

Ear­lier this year, dur­ing the Euro­pean leg of the World Travel Awards, Greece gar­nered 15 ti­tles – six more than last year.

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