Surrounded by spectacular scenery including white sand beaches and UNESCO-listed sites, are amazingly rejuvenating spas with a difference – they have all incorporated energy and waste regulating measures while growing their own organic produce to provide guests with guilt-free pampering. Indulge in the six best sustainable spas around the world.
1. ZANZIBAR WHITE SAND LUXURY VILLAS
THE HOTEL: Nestled within 4ha of tropical gardens with 200m of pristine white beachfront is the Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas, Tanzania, which has been designed by Neil Rocher, one of East Africa’s pre-eminent architects. The spa’s signature feature is its waterfall, and is also equipped with two massage rooms, a steam room, sauna and a relaxation area.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The resort is powered by wind and solar energy via their solar panels and a technologically advanced wind turbine. It also has its own water source and desalination plant. The spa’s treatments are devised using locally sourced and produced products and include seaweed, coconut and spices such as the fragrant star anise and frankincense which is exclusively found in the area.
ACCREDITATION: As the resort is newly opened, it has yet to receive accreditation.
MUST TRY: Try a 60min Top to Toe Massage (about US$90).
STARSTRUCK: Prominent dignitaries have been scheduled to visit the resort.
SPLURGE: Book the Presidential Five Bedroom Villa (up to US$3,384 per night) that can accommodate up to 11 persons, and includes a home cinema, Jacuzzi, panoramic roof terrace and hanging bed.
2. CHIVA-SOM, THAILAND
THE RESORT: The award-winning destination spa, Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand, has celebrated 20 years of health and well-being and has 58 stylish rooms, including Ocean View rooms and suites paired with amazing views of the Gulf of Thailand. The resort facilities have 70 treatment rooms, a kinesis studio, gym and watsu, floatation, large outdoor and indoor swimming pools.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The resort’s eco-friendly alternatives are based on Green Globe 21 indicators that include decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, using energy-saving technologies and harvesting rainfall. The resort also strives to improve the health, well-being and livelihood of the community by employing staff and purchasing produce from farms within Thailand to reduce carbon emissions and boost the home economy. Their
delectable spa cuisine uses organically-grown fruits and vegetables from the resort’s garden and paired with local herbs, spices and meats.
ACCREDITATION: The resort has been Earth Check Silver Certified in 2011 and Green Globe Certified in 2010.
MUST TRY: The 14-night Spa pampering retreat (about US$39,095). It features Five Element Therapy, a South Indian Body Pampering, an 80min Lymphatic Massage, a Chiva-Som Signature Herbal Massage and a Jet Lag Therapy.
STARSTRUCK: Famous fans include David and Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant and Kate Moss.
SPLURGE: An extended 28-day retreat for about US$78,191 in the 192sqm Leelawadee Suite Double.
3. EMIRATES WOLGAN VALLEY RESORT & SPA, AUSTRALIA
THE RESORT: Enjoy stupendous views of the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains, 190km away from Sydney. The Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a carefully restored Homestead, sits on 7,000ac of the carbon neutral conservation and wildlife Wolgan Valley Nature Reserve.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The resort’s efforts include preserving and rehabilitating the on-site ecosystems, restoring native vegetation. More than 200,000 native trees have already been planted, including the nearly extinct Wollemi Pine, which was discovered in the surrounding national park. Its water comes directly from Carne Creek, one of the purest rivers in Australia for potable use, while rainwater tanks provide non-potable water. Only biodegradable cleaning products are used in the resort. Locally-available eco-materials were used to construct new buildings, fitting green building design standards. The spa uses the best quality plant essences, natural ingredients and chemical-free Sodashi products.
ACCREDITATION: It’s the first carboNZero©™ certified resort in the world and has also been certified by an internationally renowned greenhouse gas programme.
MUST TRY: The Timeless Spa’s 4h Wolgan Signature Experience (about US$475 with spa cuisine). This includes a Himalayan salt full body exfoliation, a Crystalus body massage and a timeless signature Australian mineral facial using Sodashi’s plant essences, Australian massage stones and local essential oils.
STARSTRUCK: Celebrity guests include Marco Pierre White, Cate Blanchett and Michael Clarke.
SPLURGE: Book the 410sqm Wolgan Suite at about US$5,016 per night.
4. THE PALMS HOTEL & SPA, USA
THE RESORT: The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami is located on the northern, more tranquil South Beach, and has 251 soothing rooms and suites with spa-inspired bathrooms.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The Aveda spa and in-room toiletries use 90 per cent organic and sustainably sourced ingredients and are packaged in 100 per cent post-consumer recycled containers. These are poured into refillable dispensers, reducing waste. Even their spa’s nail-care is Spa Ritual eco-friendly, with vegan ingredients for their products and packaging.
ACCREDITATION: It has worked closely with the Environment Coalition of Miami & The Beaches and is a member of The Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association’s Sustainable Hospitality Council.
MUST TRY: The Journey to the Garden of Youth treatment. This includes a 50min Elemental Nature Massage, a Green Science Anti-Ageing Facial Treatment and Manicure, Spa Pedicure and Bento Box Spa Lunch.
STARSTRUCK: The hotel has organised the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Farm-to-Table Brunch on 22 February. Hosting the event is Food Network Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
SPLURGE: The Journey to the Garden of Youth treatment (about US$385). Intensive four 50min Green Science Anti-Ageing Treatments will cost about US$575.
5. HERITANCE KANDALAMA, SRI LANKA
THE HOTEL: Nearly buried by native plants freely growing on top and around the seven-floor hotel in Sri Lanka, surrounded by five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, within the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. At the 1km long Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka, monkeys scamper up balcony pillars and swifts nest in the corners of corridors.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The hotel is built upon a raised platform that rests on columns so rain and spring water would flow into the Kandalama Lake. Additionally, the hotel has provided more than 750 families with access to electricity, 600 families with safe drinking water and 6.5km of road access for common public use. It also hires unemployed youth from neighbouring villages and promotes local artisans. The hotel also has an Eco Park that includes a waste separation centre, sewage treatment plant, and an eco museum.
ACCREDITATION: It has won the Green Apple Environmental Award for the Built Environment in the International Private Sector Category’s Gold Award from The Green Organisation UK, was Earth Check certified in 2010 and Green Globe Benchmarked in 2008.
MUST TRY: A Sri Lankan Herbal Compress. Herbs like ginger root, kaffir lime, lemon, mandarin orange, camphor and cinnamon are placed in a cloth and secured with a band. These complement fusion massage techniques to boost energy flow, circulation, muscle relaxation and flexibility.
STARSTRUCK: The hotel was built by Sri Lanka’s greatest architect, Geoffrey Bawa.
SPLURGE:The 120sqm Royal Suite will cost about US$720 per room per night for full-board while the 90min Herbal Compress will cost about US$100.
6. RANCHO LA PUERTA, MEXICO
THE RESORT: The 3,000ac Rancho La Puerta features 32ac of gardens, an organic farm and individual casitas for guests, all framed by boulders over Mt. Kuchumaa, said to be 100 million years old.
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS: The resort has reduced the use of paints, varnishes, sealants and carpeting containing volatile organic compounds. It also developed Rancho Tres Estrellas, an organic farm cultivating 50 to 90 per cent of the resort’s recipe ingredients and the farm property’s La Cocina Que Canta cooking school. The spa uses aromatic and medicinal herbs from the garden as well as oils from the farm’s oil processing facility.
ACCREDITATION: The resort is affiliated with Fundación La Puerta and the Center for Responsible Travel. It has also won the 2014 Top 10 Organic Spa Award. This page: Ranch grounds at Rancho La Puerta; Mexico
MUST TRY: We recommend the 80min Japanese Restorative Facial. This restores skin tone, smoothness and minimises fine lines and wrinkles, while massage techniques stimulates the facial tissue below.
STARSTRUCK: Celebrities include Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet and Claudia Schiffer.
SPLURGE: Alternatively, try the week-long Executive Wellness Program for about US$6,950 per person. Rates for the Two Bedroom Villa Suite will cost about US$4,850 per week.