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8 Eco Hotels in Asia Doing Things Differently

8 Eco Hotels in Asia Doing Things Differently

On Earth Day - a dedicated day to raise awareness for the environmental action needed to protect our planet - we wanted to highlight some of our favourite properties across Asia that go above and beyond to combine luxury experiences with sustainability. Whether that's building with eco-friendly materials, planting gardens with fresh produce, or abandoning traditional in-room extras such as plastic water bottles, toothbrushes and shampoos, these eight eco-friendly hotels are leading the way in new social and environmental practices that are better for our planet.

1. NIHI Sumba Island, Indonesia

Set on a private beach on the remote Indonesian island of Sumba, NIHI is a world-class resort surrounded by more than 500 acres of jungle, mountains and rice terraces. Besides its idyllic location, what really sets NIHI Sumba apart is the resort’s focus on sustainability and giving back to the community. Since its opening in 2001, NIHI has kickstarted the island’s economy, job opportunities and improved access to healthcare. NIHI’s biggest contribution is through its partnership with the Sumba Foundation which has helped over 45,000 islanders gain access to clean water and has eliminated malaria on the island by up to 93%.

2. Six Senses Vana, India

At Six Senses Vana in Dehradun, sustainability is a way of life. This one-of-a-kind wellness retreat was conceived on the Green Building Concept and was India’s first zero-emissions retreat to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum status in 2015. Rainwater is harvested and water wastage is minimal thanks to specially designed faucets on the taps. Having their own bottling plant reduces the use of single-use plastics by 100,000 bottles per year. A sustainability fund helps towards a number of local community and environmental projects including a cow shelter, elephant protection programme, skill training for local artisans, a state-of-the-art composting system and a new water conservation system which is in early stages of development with an NGO.

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3. Gal Oya Lodge, Ampara, Sri Lanka

Located just outside Sri Lanka’s remote and peaceful Gal Oya National Park, Gal Oya Lodge is a unique eco-lodge spread across 20 acres of untouched wilderness. Ten thatched villas have been skillfully designed using sustainable and local materials with large floor-to-ceiling windows so you feel well and truly immersed in nature here. All produce is sourced from local farmers and as much as possible is grown on site. Guests can enjoy jeep and boat safaris, research and conservation activities and hikes with the Vedda tribe - a small tribal community indigenous to central Sri Lanka.

4. Bambu Indah, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Bambu Indah, meaning “Beautiful Bamboo” is a small boutique hotel that balances world-class service with an ecologically-minded ethos. Despite being just a 15-minute drive from Ubud, Bambu Indah feels like another world. From the delicious food grown in the property’s gardens to the water from the ground and the energy from the sun, nothing is used that cannot be returned back to the earth. Even the natural swimming pool uses lava stones and vegetation to organically cleanse, filter, and oxygenate its water.

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5. Bawah Reserve, Anambas Islands, Indonesia

Sitting at the heart of a 1,000 hectare marine conservation area in Indonesia’s Anambas Archipelago, Bawah Reserve is a tropical paradise of unspoiled nature and sustainable luxury. The hotel’s low-impact design took five years to build by hand using only locally-sourced natural materials. Guests are provided with natural reef-friendly amenities and a refillable water bottle to avoid bringing single-use plastics to Bawah. Solar energy panels are used to generate clean electricity, minimising the resort’s carbon footprint and protecting aquatic life. The iconic jetty was built asymmetrical so that the structure would not damage the delicate coral reef.

6. Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Nestled in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi offers some of the world’s best barefoot luxury. Doing nothing at all is done best here; however you may be tempted by snorkelling, diving and massages. Should you wish to venture further afield, the resort also offers nature trekking and village tours to learn more about the island’s culture and wildlife. In 2008, they introduced a 2% environmental levy on all stays - this goes towards the Soneva Foundation, which invests in a variety of projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.

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7. Song Saa Private Island Resort, Cambodia

Located a 35-minute boat ride off the southern coast of Cambodia, Song Saa is an idyllic Cambodian hideaway with 27 over-water stilted villas, private beach, heavenly spa and a preserved coral reef. Built with reclaimed timber and local materials, the resort’s sustainable design is inspired by Cambodian fishing villages, with features such as thatched roofs, driftwood tables and benches and lamps made from old oil drums. Even the floors and beams are made from salvaged wood from old fishing boats. Their world-class restaurant Vista proudly serves a local Khmer menu based on locally-sourced ingredients.

8. Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Owned and operated by a group of divers and conservationists, Misool Eco Resort is a remote private island located in the scuba diving paradise of Raja Ampat, one of the world’s most diverse reefs. The resort is made up of just ten holiday cottages, all hand-crafted on-site from recycled wood by their team of resident Javanese artisans and local apprentices. Working in partnership with Misool Foundation, the property’s mission is to provide exceptional and enriching experiences in a sustainable environment, so as to protect and revitalise their natural surroundings and local community.

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Client Testimonials

I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India

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