IT has a confession: All of this eco-travel research has just made us want to travel more. Lucky for Mother Earth, we can't afford it. So when it's pay day and time for a weekend getaway (or a week-long getaway to the Outback), we'll have to consult our ever-growing (and eco-friendly!) wish list.
Here are a few that have caught our eyes recently:
Mohonk Mountain House
Who would've thought that this secluded, green oasis existed just an hour and a half from the Big Apple? The Mohonk Mountain House isn't your average hotel. In fact, it's a 265-room castle built on Shawangunk Ridge overlooking Lake Mohonk. Since its unveiling in 1869, the hotel has continued its commitment to environmental initiatives. For instance, a geothermal heating and cooling system using the constant temperature of the earth is used to heat and cool the new 30,000-square-foot spa (plus it's emission- and noise-free.) The spa also has a green roof which helps insulate the building, reduces energy use and runoff, and provides a habitat for birds and butterflies, as well as a venue for yoga and meditation. The prices are a little steep (the lowest for single occupancy start at $275), but the beautiful setting, sleek accommodations and perks—like a solarium, culinary classes, and a nine-hole golf course—might have you saving your pennies.
This itsy-bitsy Nantucket boutique hotel has paired both style and sustainability. Set in a historic 1847 building in Nantucket Town, the hotel has just ten uniquely decorated rooms. Shoe designer and hotel owner Vanessa Noel uses energy-efficient lightbulbs, all-natural bed linens, organic hemp towels, and chemical-free cleaning supplies. Plus guests can get organic wine at her in-house café.
Great Ocean Ecolodge
The lodge's website says one should "imagine walking through misty rainforests, accompanied by rose robins and shy wallabies." Hmm, that's a bit tough to imagine in D.C.'s cement land, but we're certainly willing to try. The Great Ocean Ecolodge sits within Australia's Otway National Park and along the Great Ocean Walk. A quaint five-bedroom lodge (all of the rooms are uniquely named and decorated), it was designed and built as an "environmentally sensitive structure" using either recyclable materials or sustainable sources. The area is so secluded that it's normal to see kangaroos grazing by your doorstep or a female koala napping in the sun.