Thai hosts are so good-natured and sweet that it is no suprise their eco-resorts are among the best in the world. A new book, “Green Guidebook: Green Life, Green Communities”, signposts some of the country’s best eco-conscious destinations. Here are a selection:
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.
Off-road opportunities abound
Cycling in Majorca is a beautiful way to keep fit and enjoy nature. In the cooler months, the mountainous roads and pure air attract world champion cyclists as well as other top sportsmen and women.
One of the best places to base yourself is Read’s Hotel between Santa Maria and Alaro, set amongst Olive and Almond groves, with views of the nearby mountain range. While many of the top country house hotels on the island are closed in the winter months, Reads is one of the few to open all year round.
The island is at its best in the uncrowded off-season, and biking is safer with less traffic about. The hotel also offers boat hire and hot air ballooning.
It has a spa, two pools, two restaurants, and yet is a personal, intimate, family-owned boutique hotel.
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
West Texas is as far off the grid as you can get in America. Miles of brush, and no power or water lines.
The town of Marfa is an artistic and intellectual oasis. Well worth the trip, and now there is a new destination. El Cosmico,at 802 S. Highland Ave.in Marfa; (432-729-1950; www.elcosmico.com).
There are not enough places like this in the world -an incredible, romantic assemblage of yurts, safari tents, a tepee and meticulously restored vintage mobile homes. Land here is so cheap that privacy is easy. El Cosmico is on 18 acres at the edge of town.
Green Globe certified off the grid Rancho de Caldera eco-project, is a case study in what an eco-resort should be.
Its a recently launched clean energy resource center, an eco-resort, gourmet restaurant and organic veggie gardens. Located in Boquete, Panama the resort owners strive to provide an extraordinary, affordable, luxurious tropical venue.
Every eco-resort says they cater to meetings, vacations, honeymoons, nature lovers, yoga fans, gourmets, honeymooners and small groups – but Rancho de Caldera really delivers. It has world class, sustainable, off the grid, solar powered green hospitality and mouthwatering cuisine.
Step back in time into an authentic wilderness lakeside housekeeping cabin. The camp does not have electricity and therefore cannot accommodate electrical appliances. It is completely “unplugged” and off the grid.
Using tools from earlier eras the cabins are both comfortable and retain the rustic charm. There are no toasters or microwaves but “old-fashioned” kitchen tools that allow you to mix your cakes, perk your coffee and make your toast.
Spa by Spa
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Just getting away is romantic. But at the One&Only Reethi Rah, you can get further off the grid with hideaways within the resort. Private salas are scattered around the resort, perched over the Indian Ocean, so couples can canoodle post-spa or pre-dinner. Inside the spa, two private suites—accessible via a secluded walkway—allow couples to get
strong style=”font-weight: bold;”>1. The Scarlet
“This strikingly modern eco hotel offers a stylish yet peaceful retreat, and benefits from a stunning cliff-top location with magnificent views,” according to Simon. It is a hotel specially intended for ‘adults only’. And their SPA? Ayurvedic inspired, nothing less.
Where Tredragon Road, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall TR8 4DQ (01637 861800;
How much: from £250 more
2. Big Green Tipi
Up-market travel agency Abercrombie & Kent offers destinations where you’re completely off-grid — no phones, no mains electricity, no fax, no Internet, not even running water.
The company offers packages to all these places, with starting prices ranging from $850 U.S. a day for the Argentina trip to $9,995 for a 14-day trip to Antarctica. See www.abercrombiekent.com or call 1-800-554-7094 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-554-7094 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Los Glaciares, Argentina
“To truly understand Argentina and its proud rural traditions, travel to the vast steppe lands of Patagonia where ice shelves and glaciers give way to beech forests and remote plains. El Calafate is t