Its known as the HQ of grockle tourism, but the island of Mallorca has seen a boom in upmarket country house hotels in recent years, also known as finca hotels, agro-fincas and agro-tourism. There are also Country house apartments, self-catering, but converted with great style and taste. The island is uncannily beautiful and the best of the country houses are in places from where you can take a walk along lightly populated and very heady mountain paths.
Mallorca (or Majorca) has an incredibly rich history since it was first settled by the French 7,000 years ago. The early settlers developed the Talaiot culture – named after the towers into which they withdrew at any sign of danger. The remains of these towers can be found all over the island.
Over the millennia, Cartheginians and Phoenicians were driven off by the Balliarides, Greek for stonethrowers Now Majorca is the leading member of the Ballearic island group.
Then Rome conquered and with its thirst for wine the Roman rulers cultivate vines that lasted until today. The traditional Majorcan weather has not been much in evidence these past few, rain-sodden years, but when it conforms to type there is little rain mainly in the Spring and plenty of sunshine from May to October.
Here are eight tree houses around the world that accept paying guests:
Stylish treehouses suddenly seem to be en vogue all over the world but Sweden’s Treehotel, opened in July last year, leads the way for dramatic design. It comprises six architect-designed treehouses in a forest outside Harads, a small town in northern Sweden. Each is unique – one covered with mirrors to reflect the forest around it, for example, another decked with branches to resemble a bird’s nest.
Treehouses sleeping two from SKr3,500 (£313) per night, including breakfast; www.treehotel.se
Castle Cottage, England
In a sweet chestnut tree on the edge of a peaceful wood near Fittleworth in West Sussex, this cabin is smart and spacious. The double bed is set between protruding tree branches, the shower room has a glass ceiling, and there is a large balcony with swing seats.
From £140 per night including breakfast; www.castlecottage.info
1. Most of a hotel’s energy consumption is for heating, lighting and airconditioning, so check to see how it manages to reduce these utilities. Does ituse off-grid energy (eg solar panels and wind turbines, and/or sources its energy from green suppliers), has it installed thick insulation (eg window glazing), or low-energy light bulbs and does it provide a master keycard that controls the room’s electricity, airconditioning and heating. Is the waste from the toilet going into energy production?
2. Does the hotel gather rainwater? A sure sign that a hotel limits the amount of water it uses is if it uses flow-restrictors in its taps and showerheads and has installed dual-flush toilets.
3. As well as recycling facilities provided in your room, there should also be information provided that explains how to separate your waste correctly. Keep an eye out, too, for refillable pump dispensers in the bathrooms instead of wasteful packets of plastic miniatures.
4. Check the hotel’s menu to see if it grows any of its own food, such as fruit and vegetables, and/or sources meat and other products from nearby suppliers, which cuts down on food miles and helps bring income into the local economy. Look out for local, organic, seasonal food.
5. The most progressive hotels encourage use of low-emissions transport; for example, they provide a collection/drop-off service from nearby train or bus stations, and/or provide bikes for guests to use while staying at the hotel. Some hotels now offer a discount if you arrive by public transport.
Perched one hundred metres above the Indian Ocean on the southern coast of Bali, lies the Alila Villas Uluwatu, a new resort opening in April.
Built with Environmentally Sustainable (ESD) certification in mind, the resort’s attention to water conservation, recycling and energy have gained it Bali’s first Green Globe certification, ESD’s highest level of certification.
First opened in 2008, Element is a new eco-friendly hotel chain from Westin. The first three have opened in Boston, Houston and Las Vegas.
“Cost-efficient, environmentally friendly building construction and operations were at the core of the development of the Element hotel concept
Welcome to the Beta version of a new kind of travel web site, specialising in eco-destinations, and ethical ways of getting there.
We want to hear from YOU, dear readers, with any eco-friendly havens you can recommend to the rest of the Web. Of course we recognise that the system is imperfect. We will always cause some damage just by gettinginto a plane or a car. So we will be featuring companies that at least offset their carbon.
Anyway, that’s an ongoing debate. Most times, when people want to travel to clear their head and get a bit of peace of mind, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging the environment. We are here to give you the tools to holiday with a clear conscience.
Today, Suenos Tulum on Tulum Beach Mexico, 90 miles south of Cancun at the end of a stretch of shoreline on the Caribbean Sea known as the Maya Riviera.