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Top 14 Eco Luxury Hotels

Cindy Rangel

Vivood Benimantell, Spain (bottom)  

Vivood Benimantell, Spain (bottom)  

Sustainable hotels are becoming a very ubiquitous sign of the times.  World Travel Tourism Council cites travel and tourism sector contribution of $36.7 billion to the Thai economy alone equivalent to 9.2% of GDP (gross domestic product) in the Singapore Times. 

Part of the story is creating eco-friendly hotels that off set carbon impacts, use wind/solar power, low water usage or zero impact practices.  This requires a two-way participation of the tourists as well as tourist governmental agencies as they begin investing in eco-lodging and innovation.

So, where can you go to splurge and experience the most planet’s majestic wonders? Here are 14 eco-friendly hotels that will leave your breath-less and lessen your impact on the planet.


1)    Tierra Hotels- Patagonia, Chile

Tierra Patagonia


The hotel sits next to Lake Saramiento with view of Torres del Paine National Park which has been cited as UNESCO Biosphere in 1978.  Tierra Hotel’s policy is rigorous with its environment approach including minimizing water consumption to recording environmental hotel data while asking guests to practice in sustainable habits.


2)    White Pod –Swiss Alps


white pod hotel

Your stay will include sleeping in a geodesic dome shaped tents with a desk and overlooking the mountains.  Sustainable best practices include: energy efficient built domes, controlled energy and water consumption with use of water installation devices for tap and shower use; the use of local spring water, limited night lighting, local staff walk to work to name a few.  The local cuisine is part of the hotel policy while transportation is limited to walking and there are hiking activities, too.


3)    Saffire Freycinet –Coles Bay Tasmania


The two core principles are protection of healthy sites and the healing of damaged sites.  It was once a caravan park and they revegetated the site with over 30,000 plants.  Environmental practices include: natural airflow systems, rainwater usage, bushfire management, and minimal use of night lighting on site. 


4)    Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Eco-lodge –San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


The lodge sits quietly on a 4K acre jungle hideaway and family owned where turtle species visit year along with howler monkeys, and macaws. Sustainable practices: Owners planted 2 million trees (fruit, teak, and sustainable forestry) which includes 60% of the food at lodge as well as the local seafood from local fisherman. 

5)    Lapa Rios Eco lodge –Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica


Hotel has a five-leaf status from the Costa Rican Tourism board promoting sustainable hotel practices and the hotel prides itself on tours in the rainforest to local surf and kayaking activities to showcasing the local rainforest animals: marine turtles. Also, local piglets are given leftovers to not waste any food.  “Splendid and Sustainable” is their video title where you can listen to Karen Lewis, owner and CEO of this eco-resorts.



6)    Hix Island House –Puerto Rico


Hotel is powered by solar panels and collects rainwater with the waste water from each room supplies the lush gardens.  You can enjoy yoga or watch the over 3,000 wild horses that reside in the island of Vixques. 


7)    Hamaasi Adventure and Dive Resort –Belize


The sustainable approach is to reduce, reuse, and recycle as Green Globe certified hotel via the Belize Tourism Board. Also, they have become Green Globe member via the Sustainable International Step Program and reached bronze certification. 


8)    Green House- UK


A hotel nestled in Bournemouth has a level gold level membership at the Green Tourism Business Scheme and strives to be the greenest hotel in the U.K. Environmental practices include: source locally, reduce, reuse, recycle, transparency and lifecycle of incoming and out-coming hotel resources.



9)    Green Canyon -Philippines


This Northern Luzon hotel is surrounded by mountains, rivers and canyons.  There’s lots to do from nature trails in the Mount Balakbak , enjoy campfires, or even ATV rides.  The hotel hires local from a nearby village and practices farm to table cuisine with some of the best chefs in South East Asia. 

10) Mashpi-Ecuador

Mashpi Hotel


National Geographic Awarded this hotel as of one of the most unique lodges in the world.  Check out this video and the Dragon Fly cable ride.  Time to check out the Amazon jungle up close.  Ecuador is also a small country like Costa Rica fiercely competitive with sustainable practices.


11) O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat –Queensland Australia     

This retreat allows you explore Australia’s Lamington National Park and overlooks the unique mountains and rainforest.  They have all sorts of hiking trips: short walks, half day walks, and full day walks.  Lamington Park celebrates 100 years of conservation and Queensland’s first national parks. 


12) Ion Adventure Hotel –Iceland


Iceland? Let’s put this one on the list! The multiple award winning designed hotel is about an hour from Reykjavik with a background of unforgettable lava fields. The hot springs is one adventure you can check out which happens to provide geothermal hot water and energy to the hotel.  Plus, you can explore the Thingviller National Park, UNSCO listed.


13) Finca Rosa Blanca Inn-Costa Rica


Sustainability is the number #1 goal for this hotel when it first began in 1985.  Today, it has solar panels to heat hotel water, electrical systems that do not interfere with wildlife and coffee plantation, recycling of coffee pup to be used as fertilizer, organic shade certified coffee, compost system, a greenhouse for foods, to name a few.  Did I mention a coffee tour? Don’t miss the volcanos in the lush rainforest of Costa Rica. They are the experts in sustainable living and best practices.


14) Vivood Benimantell –Spain


This hotel is set close Aitana and Serrell Mountain Ranges (Guadalest Valley) in the Alicante province.  This Valencian town is located on the southeast part of Spain.  Sustainable practices include: consuming local products, renewable energies to reduce carbon footprint, exclusive look at luxury hotel style, vegan options, and adults only hotel. 


So what do you think? Comment below. Tell me your thoughts about sustainable luxury travel. I believe you only live once and splurging once in awhile is worth is especially when it comes to seeing the wonders of the world with less impact on the environment.  Can't get enough of this topic? Don't worry.  I will be posting a part 2 on this sustainable luxury travel recommendations next week as well as a part 3 on cheap travel place to visit a wonder of the world with less impact on the planet.  Catch my e~newsletter (sign up below and don't miss my funny stories) and get the inside scoop on my travels as well.  I will be traveling to South America next year but watch how I create my own sustainable travel handbag collection.  It's been a fascinating process. But I go into details! I'll introduce you to my pattern maker who is a local in San Diego.  I will give you the 411 on my challenges and how it's making things easier. Yes, easier.  I'd love to share my story as I continue to run after my dreams and obsess over my the sustainable fashion world and living sustainably one day at time.  

Boss Travel Tips

Cindy Rangel

Travel light, travel like a boss.

Travel light, travel like a boss.

How to travel like a boss this summer!

Here are the TOP 15 WAYS to travel like no other.

There are numerous ways to NOT travel like a boss but I am here to help you travel light, travel smart and travel well like a great boss you know you are anywhere in the world.

Let’s get started with our top 15 ways to travel like a boss:

It’s true.  I have over packed and I’ve been annoyed but who wants to be annoyed on a vacation or while you are traveling for conference? It doesn’t have to be this way.  In this post we will focus on 3 main things:


A)    Carry on roller suitcase/back pack

B)    Essentials

C)    Luxuries


We all travel and we have places to go and people to see in given time. We want to make our journey as smooth as possible.  We don’t have time to waste or at least take those extra minutes and make use of it.  Let’s face it.  Traveling can be exhausting but it doesn’t have to be taxing on the soul.  I am here to give the best tips possible to enjoy your trip.


1)    Brilliant decider: Decide what are things you are going to categorize what with your a) back pack & b) carry-on roller, with essentials and luxuries. It’s a bit tedious but preparation is key to making sure you are taken care of in case the airline staff is busy and you need some pronto things like a blanket when you take off and it is suddenly freezing on the plane. These days it’s best to be prepared with your essentials and luxuries at your fingertips.


2)    Minimize like a boss: Once you make the list revise your list and take one item off your list. What? Yes, take one off your list.  Trust me when I tell you I have over packed for the 14-hour flight and 85% of time I did NOT use all the things.    It’s annoying and it’s heavy to carry around large airports.  If you don’t need one item, then leave it. Plus, you can bring something back from your travel destination if you prefer that option.


3)    Functionality now: I have a carry-on roller suitcase that’s light weight and 20 inches or less in height, a backpack that’s functional but can fit your technology such as a laptop or iPad and tech essentials.  Your essentials list may include:  personal belongings to hold any TSA approved liquids such toiletries, magazines/books, (women) makeup small tote and moisturizer, and other soothing things like your water bottle, mints, or eye mask.


4)    Think Like Boss: Another tip to packing like a boss is to just think in threes.  It’s the magic number. It can be three colors, shirts, pants, dress/skirts, shoes or leisurewear.   Then consider your events for the travel occasion like you do when you always pack. Again, categorize your events in you guessed it, three ways.  Finally, take one item off your list from one of the categories of a top or bottom.  Yes, consider your travel pieces versatile and add an accessory like a scarf that or jewelry to make packing light.  Summer may mean pack your swim suit or your wet suit but it doesn’t have to be bulky either.  Consider renting whatever you think you are packing for your event.


5)    Back to the backpack: The backpack you choose whether it’s an expensive one for photographers or a minimalist for your international globe trotter needs can be the most important piece of travel luggage.  This is the make or break item for your travels.  Choose one that fits your travel purpose or even better choose one that will be versatile.  Patagonia has backpacks made from recycled polyester.



6)    Food and water 101:  Make sure you stay hydrated right before take-off and when you are getting off the plane. Hydrate right before you land in case you do your business when you are waiting to get off the plane.  Also, I find high quality nuts or granola bars are helpful snacks that will satisfy your hunger cravings during your trips.  Some people like to have a good breakfast and it can be valuable when you are crossing time zones.  Water bottles? Check out: Swell out in different sizes I like the RePET utensil set in case you need a quick bite from your home or a snack like yogurt.


7)    Security & TSA 101: Did you know you can apply for a TSA pre-check and you can skip the long line when you go through TSA security?  This TSA pre-check cost $85 for 5- year membership and you cut the annoying line with online paid fee and background check before your flight.  Hello! Skip the boring line and you are at your boarding gate.  Another tip is getting a global entry access to any country when you arrive to your destination.  It’s great because it’s a time saver and it costs about $100.


8)    Pack tip: Roll your clothes into your carry-on suitcase, do NOT fold.  I repeat, do NOT fold your clothes because it takes us too much space.  I know it sounds like a boy-scout approach but trust me you will be happier with more space for a special gift.  If you are worried about clothes that wrinkle easily place them at bottom and leave the out so you can fold them over at the top of your clothes when finished packing. 


9)    Back to the toiletries: Forget the following: big bottles of everything. STOP and No. Find your 5 must haves again here and pick from three out of the five senses: natural facial travel sets such as Lola & Jane travel companions woman business owned, vegan and made in San Diego.



10) Back to the tech compartment:  Buy a noise canceling headphones for your trip.  Check this Sony headphones that’s an inexpensive option.   Otherwise you can go with earplugs to travel along with the noise canceling headphones. Sounds super nerdy but it works if you need complete silence to rest well. We all know rest is key to traveling smoothly to transition to your vacation, conference, or event. Also, organizing all your tech tools in one component of your backpack is key to your sanity especially if you are presenting at a conference or attending one.


11) Laptop security: Make sure you invest in a laptop sleeve so if you are moving your belongings frequently.  If your computer falls, you are not saying prayer that your precious tool is not damaged. Find one that can protect it from falling is a better option.   Less to worry about on the trip. You can pack the additional technology pieces such as portable battery charger, USB, and iPad.


12) Secret to Boarding: Finally, you are at the gate and you want to board quickly but you have the last boarding groups.  If you are bold enough, you can approach a first group passenger and ask them to let you be their “boarding companion.” Then, when you board the gate, this passenger can tell the staff you are their companion.  This can allow you to go on as their companion without necessarily having the same boarding group.  Some airlines allow for this but others do not.  It helps especially since you want to be able to place your baggage above your seating area.  Again, you want to keep your luggage with you to avoid the baggage claim area.   


13) Locks: Some travelers need added security when leaving things unattended and suggested locks for your belongings can include: Rugged canvas backpack for your camera and laptop. Also you can get a 3 dial cable lock that’s TSA approved for securing your belongings. 


14) Layering: Whether it’s a warm or cold climate you think of layer clothing and back to basics staple apparel such as tank tops, shirts and perhaps 2 basic pants.  If you are attending a conference or hiking a mountain, layers can easily so you can go from one setting to another.  I usually think of tops versus bottoms and if those combinations get too numerous I pack a versatile dress that can solve your problems in no time.  When you pack your shoes, it can be the same approach: think versatile.


15) Things to NOT forget for your carry-on: Trtl sleep scarf, your anker power cord , reusable wipes w/ gentle rose water for longer trips, lightweight cardigan, snacks, iPad, headphones for reading and any other essentials for take-off and landing time. 



That’s it! What are your essentials? Have you tried boarding like I suggested? What’s the best tip you have seen or done on your travel journey? Which tip flopped?


Hope you found this list helpful and don’t forget to sign up for e-newsletter for more travel tips and insider secrets with my handbag collection that will make you travel like no other.  I am designing a handbag collection for today’s woman traveler and I may pick you to get some feedback.  Join me and get exclusive behind the scenes as I solve problems as an entrepreneur and sustainable fashion designer.  There’s lots to consider and I invite you to come with me on my journey as I build me business.  Plus, look out for more discounts before I launch as e-newsletter reader.