If you’re anything like me you go on vacation with the kids to have a good time – not to save the world. Still if you know your trip can be about giving back and helping, just as much as taking, isn’t it worth a second look. To me the term “eco-friendly” always conjured up images of snuggling under a thick quilt at a chilly mountain lodge, eating vegetables from the owner’s garden, non-flush toilets and recycling your trash before hitting the nearby nature trails.
Well Hallelujah, turns out “eco” is becoming more and more compatible with “luxury.” A clear conscience doesn’t have to mean cold showers.
I recently discovered EcoLuxury – a collaboration of the best retreats in the world with a conscience – each one helping to preserve the areas that surround them. EcoLuxury allows families like mine and yours to book eco-conscious holidays without compromising on style and luxury.
All the members of the EcoLuxury collection contribute to the area in which they inhabit and successfully combine all that is eco with all that is luxury, demonstrating that the two can go hand in hand.
Members are carefully selected using a specific four stage criteria:
1) natural resources and landscapes; nature preservation as well as reduction in the use of natural resources.
2) economic re-investment; re-investment back into the community, helping to find sustainable re-development.
3) Social/Cultural input; are the retreats contributing to a school to educate the local community? 4) Quality of life; do they reach a high standard of service? Are the retreats luxurious and high quality?
Only once all these areas are fulfilled can a retreat can be a part of Eco Luxury.
I’ve shortlisted my four particular African favorites. The rest of the world is at your disposal.
Isn’t it good to know, wherever you land, holidaying like this can mean not only leaving the planet as untouched as the day you booked… you might even do some good.
Three-Sixty House, Shompole, Kenya
Perched on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, high above the Nguruman Escarpment, Thee-Sixty House offers stunning, 360-degree views of the African Savannah. This uninterrupted panorama, combined with the house’s own heli-pad, and its dedicated team of private staff, form the very definition of privacy and exclusivity. Three-Sixty retains the signature Shompole style of undulating white walls and multiple textures of natural quartz rock, bulrush thatch and smooth recycled fig wood. The main mess area is completely suspended off the escarpment over a stunning free form pool with views across to Tanzania. There are two bedrooms offering over 5000sqft of space. The lounge area sits astride the swimming-pool, meaning icy relief from the Kenyan afternoon heat is literally just a step away.
The Presidential Villa, Azura, Mozambique
With an unprecedented combination of seclusion, luxury, and breathtaking beauty, the Presidential Villa is one of the most exquisite private residences to be found anywhere in the Indian Ocean. It boasts three bedrooms, a 16-metre infinity pool with views out to the Bazaruto Sand Dunes and a panoramic freeform shower in the master bedroom. For winding down after all this has been enjoyed, the Presidential Villa is also home to a tree-top lounge where the equatorial sunset can be soaked up whilst sipping a cold gin and tonic conjured up by the Villa’s own butler.
The Villa, Grootbos, South Africa
This villa leaves nothing to chance. Boasting not only six luxurious suites, satellite TV, and a swimming pool, but also a fully equipped office, internet connection, a BBQ area, a wine cellar, a media room, a gym, and so much more, guests are guaranteed to have every requirement catered for. With all this set against the idyllic backdrop of Walker Bay, an area hallowed by whale-watchers the world over, the Villa provides the ultimate mix of elegance, exclusivity and functionality. The private landing strip makes the Villa easily accessible without compromising its privacy, and the dedicated butler, chef, and guide will ensure guests every whim is satisfied.
The Zindoga Villa, Camp Jabulani, South Africa
The Zindoga Villa provides that highly elusive requirement which every family desires, but so rarely finds – elegance and luxury in a child-friendly environment. Two exquisite suites, a private heated plunge pool and a wooden sun-downer deck overlooking bushland teeming with wildlife leaves nothing to be desired by the parents. While an en-suite twin bedroom, a team of dedicated care-givers, and an exciting children’s menu will ensure any young children have the ultimate African experience without compromising that of their parents.
For more info: http://www.ecoluxury.com