As summer hits its stride many might be opting for the stay-cation this year, but for those adventurous green travelers headed out into the world to do some eco-exploring, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best eco-hotels and hostels around the world! From high-flying airplane hostels to tranquil eco-lodges to stunning hotels made from reclaimed industrial materials, there’s a world of incredible eco-accomodations out there – read on for our top 5 picks. Happy Travels!
Travelodge lands in the top 5 for its Uxbridge outpost, built from 86 different shipping containers by Verbus Systems. While the rooms and exterior cladding may make this look like any other motel, the modular construction process by which it was built saved considerable time, money, and materials – so much so that the savvy global motelier is planning to erect a 307-room version at Heathrow for a savings of up to 10 million pounds ($18.6 million). Once it’s built, the Heathrow shipping container motel will make the perfect first night’s stop for a green traveler on the move.
Once in Europe, the cozy De Vrouwe van Stavoren Hotel in the Netherlands is a must-see for the green traveler. These giant 14,500 liter casks once flavored thousands of bottles of Beaujolais. Today, they offer guests a good night’s rest and a great story to tell friends. Rather than being destroyed, the four casks were salvaged and transported from France to Holland where they now have a second life as modest, self-contained accommodations for travelers (and their pets). The giant barrels house sleeping space for two people and a sitting room. Private bathrooms are attached.
From there it’s a long but adventurous hop to Inner Mongolia. Deep in the heart of the Gobi Desert is Three Camel Lodge, an eco-resort that is equally devoted to environmental and cultural preservation. Guests stay in traditional Mongolian gers or yurts. Besides supporting efforts to preserve the population of indigenous Gobi flora and fauna, the Lodge recycles organic waste for use as fertilizer at local farms and work with local farmers to raise chickens, pigs, and livestock. They also launched a “No Plastics in the Gobi” program, working with locals and small businesses to encourage the use of cloth bags.
Straight from Middle Earth, the Gyreum Ecolodge is the first lodge in Europe to be awarded the EU Eco Label and a recent finalist for the LAMA Awards as the Best Ecofriendly Building. This 100 ft diameter solar and wind powered circular fort is half buried in the County Sligo earth and constructed from renewable resources. Did we mention that it’s also aligned to three solar events and points towards surrounding megalithic cairns? Accommodations are simple but perfectly adequate. Hobbits not included.
We head a bit farther north to visit the Jumbo Hostel, an eco-hostel that soars to the top of our list this summer. This 747-200 logged countless miles during its years of service but an early retirement to the landfill is not in the stars (or skies) for this particular plane. The jet now houses weary travelers in compact 6 square meter rooms. Some lucky visitors may even get to sleep in the cockpit, and soon more rooms will be added to the mechanical part of the plane. The interiors are decorated in simple and modern Scandinavian style and still feature the original lounge and first class seating.
An honorary mention goes to one of the best not-yet-built eco-hotels, the Oil Rig Platform Resort and Spa designed by Morris Architects for the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Design Competition. This smart design would take the oil rig, one of the most recognizable icons of dirty energy, and re-invent it as an eco-haven powered by completely renewable energy sources.