With shrinking biodiversity, glaciers melting into unrecognizability, and wine countries moving further north or south, there is no doubt that our world faces many environmental shifts due to climate change. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid airplanes because you’re worried about your carbon footprint. To offset the carbon cost of travel, there are plenty of hotels to consider, once you get someplace, that are committed to helping their communities and habitats by providing you with sustainability-oriented experiences — particularly when it comes to cuisine.
Before drafting this list, we had to ask ourselves: What exactly does it mean for a hotel to be sustainable? It’s not simply a matter of buying organic flour instead of regular (that should be the norm). We looked at three factors when deciding which hotel restaurants we could highlight as being sustainable:
First is the matter of sourcing. When ingredients come from a short drive (or walk) away, less energy is used and more effort goes into preserving native habitats for food. Second is the question of what to do with inevitable food waste. Composting, recycling, and energy-efficient disposal techniques are just as important as how food is acquired. Lastly, we looked beyond food itself, considering how the use of local sources for fresh ingredients gives back to the community. Providing fair employment for locals and spearheading charity initiatives shows that hotels and restaurants don’t believe healthy eating is only for those who can pay for it.
From hotels that invite guests to pack school supplies to hotel restaurants that forage berries for your dessert, there are plenty of places in the world that take sustainability very seriously. It is a win-win for everybody; tourists can experience the delicious local foods and nature of the region, and the community can work under fair conditions.
These hotels and restaurants are so close to nature that it is no wonder they are absolutely gorgeous, and this is evident in the food they serve. Here are nine excellent hotels for eco-friendly dining.
Daintree Eco Lodge (Daintree, Australia)
With only 15 bayans (rainforest houses) in this eco-luxurious resort by the Daintree River in Queensland, which is surrounded by tropical forest and close to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa makes sure to source local ingredients — which is an easy task, considering their lush surroundings. The area is rich in bush tomatoes (more like eggplants), munthari berries (that taste like spiced apple), macadamias, and even its own unique local chile pepper. You’ll find all of these items on the hotel restaurant’s menu.
Finca Rosa Blanca Resort (Heredia, Costa Rica)
If you’re suspicious about the fair-trade claims made by so many companies, you can leave that skepticism behind at Costa Rica’s Finca Rosa Blanca Resort, which is also a coffee plantation. The hotel offers a “Coffee, Chocolate & Cheese Trail” that guides guests through the places where they source their food and drinks. Guests will witness the cultivation of top shade-grown coffee and organic chocolates, the local Central Market, and a meadery producing fine meads made with honey from their own bees. The dairies in the surrounding Talamanca Mountains include the lead producer of queso palmito, a Costa Rican mozzarella string cheese.