9 Excellent Hotels For Eco-Friendly Dining

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. 

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.

Harbour House Hotel (Salt Spring Island, Canada)

Located on a 15-acre section of an organic family farm which has barely changed its operations since 1950, the Harbour House Hotel has over 70 varieties of produce; home-raised bees, chickens, and lamb; 100 bigleaf maple trees; and a management system that converts waste cooking oil into clean-burning biofuel. With a view of the harbor and activities like culinary tours and kayaking, it doesn't get better in terms of eco-friendly hospitality.

Harraseeket Inn (Freeport, Maine, USA)

The Harraseeket Inn, an AAA Four Diamond hotel, buys the food for their critically acclaimed restaurants from local purveyors, helping the community and preserving traditional farming. All their seafood, except for the salmon, comes from local waters. Leftover food is composted (no, you can't smell it). Green Seal-certified cleaning products, biodegradable straws, and glass bottles-only policies give guests the right amount of comfort and green. 

Oyster Box Hotel (Umhlanga, South Africa)

It is crucial for sustainable hotels to support the local community. At the Oyster Box Hotel, the proprietors do just that, saying, "A critical ingredient in the experience of exceptional cuisine is the location of its enjoyment." Instead of disposing of older towels, linens, books, and other reusable items, the hotel donates them to local at-risk youth. Whether you're dining at the private wine cellar table, high tea salon, or 11 curry buffets, all the ingredients are local, and the wine list is primarily South African. 

The Pines Lodge (Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA)

Luxurious yet intimate, this Beaver Creek ski resort boasts the AAA Four Diamond-winning Grouse Mountain Grill restaurant, which serves seasonally inspired and locally sourced menus prepared from scratch. The hotel staff, through the website and in person, can help you calculate your carbon impact and give you tips on how to reduce it during your stay. They even offer green, sustainability-oriented weddings. 

Il Salviatino (Florence, Italy)

Winner of the Condé Nast Traveler's Readers Choice Awards in 2014, Il Salviatino dedicates a portion of its surrounding park, which used to be a historical orchard, to a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden. Chef Carmine Calò emphasizes that he wants guests to taste the earthy, raw flavors of his dishes as much as possible. Although it's only a 15 minute walk from downtown Florence, the hotel offers stunning views of the rolling Tuscan landscape. 

Song Saa (Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia)

Song Saa is as eco-friendly as a private island can be, and very community-oriented. The proprietors even ask guests to pack school supplies in their suitcases prior to arrival, so that they can donate them to the school in the neighboring village. Plus, they have undertaken efforts to reintroduce native vegetation to the surrounding areas. All of the water used on the island is carefully treated and reused, ensuring that no waste is released into the environment. Driftwood and recycled timber from discarded Cambodian fishing boats have been incorporated into villa furniture and construction. The resort's vegan-friendly menus are rich with sustainable ibis rice, locally produced honey and cashew nuts, and Cambodia's famous kampot pepper.

Urnatur (Ödeshög, Sweden)

At the family-run Urnatur ("you are nature") hotel and farm, freshly foraged raspberries and mushrooms enliven the dishes they serve.  Guests also have the option of cooking their own food in the outdoor lakeside kitchen. Urnatur is a member of the European Network of Regional Culinary Heritage. This description of their "Wild Food" dinner speaks volumes: "A dinner with herbs you never knew you could eat or drink. During the evening we demonstrate how to prepare bark for bark bread."