Great green places to stay
To support this year's Make Holidays Greener month, Holiday Extras has pledged to raise awareness of great green places to stay around the world.
The annual Make Holidays Greener campaign is run by the Travel Foundation, an independent charity working with the travel industry to promote sustainable tourism.
The theme of Make Holidays Greener 2013 is 'link to what's local', so we've put together a list of ten fantastic places to stay where local people, places and products are at the heart of what they do.
Ten great green places to stay
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Adrere Amellal is a unique desert eco lodge, magical and primitive yet somehow completely luxurious.
The 40 rooms are each hand-built and feature furniture and crafts produced by local artisans. There's no electricity so the rooms are lit purely by beeswax candles and the stars of the desert sky. Guests are encouraged to visit the local salt lakes and Siwa with its stunning fortress ruins and colourful market.
Apani Dhani, India
Apani Dhani offers an authentic taste of rural Indian life, with guest bungalows constructed from natural materials and powered by alternative energies. Guests are encouraged to use the local method of washing (using buckets and mugs) and the food served comes either from the organic produce grown onsite, or an organic free trade supplier in Delhi.
Cooking lessons and traditional arts and crafts with local people, camel cart trips and visits to historical sites in the Shekhawati area are just a few of the excursions available.
Daintree Ecolodge & Spa, Australia
This beautiful rainforest lodge is focused on protecting and preserving its natural environment and rich Aboriginal cultural heritage - alongside providing a world-renowned spa experience.
Guests can immerse themselves in Aboriginal inspired massages and therapies, enjoy tip-top cuisine and tree-house accommodation, and experience unique activities led by Aboriginal cultural guides.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica
Luxury, boutique and eco all at the same time, the charming Hotel Mocking Bird Hill in Port Antonio is one of Jamaica's best kept secrets.
With just 10 rooms, this island retreat is intimate and relaxing with a focus on the local environment and community. Bottled water comes in thermos flasks, guest stationery is made from recycled paper by a nearby women's cooperative; toiletries are also locally-produced and the hotel's use of renewable energy is being extended. Guests are offered activities that raise awareness of Jamaica's heritage and culture today, as well as outdoor pursuits.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Costa Rica
Lush Lapa Rios consists of 16 spacious traditional suiita-thatch bungalows tucked away in the Costa Rican rainforest on the Osa Peninsula. Sustainability and conservation drive this award-winning ecolodge, with a raft of green initiatives in place.
Fantastic gourmet food is prepared, not by a chef but, by eight local men who have learned how to cook at Lapa Rios, and served by young people from the region new to the hospitality industry.
Activities offered to guests are run by onsite guides or local experts, and include a sustainability tour of Lapa Rios, sport experiences and local wildlife and cultural excursions.
Lewa Community Lodges, Kenya, Africa
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a private organisation dedicated to protecting the black rhino, offers six community lodges set in the stunning Masai heartland and wild northern Kenya.
Guests can take in the awe-inspiring landscapes of Kenya from a selection of beautiful lodges with five-star facilities. Undoubtedly luxurious and exclusive in feel, regional cultural traditions, wildlife conservation and preservation are at the forefront and Lewa runs a number of community and education programmes for the benefit of local people.
Milia Mountain Retreat, Greece
Milia is a 17th century mountain settlement turned ecolodge, nestled in the western mountains of Crete.
The abandoned settlement was rebuilt slowly by hand, using local limestone and chestnut around 30 years ago by two friends from the region. Always true to their philosophy of "be kind to nature", Milia now offers travellers beautiful stone cottages with balconies, terraces or gardens, powered by renewable energy sources. The area has been re-planted, goats and chickens abound and guests can savour homegrown organic produce cooked using traditional Cretan techniques. Many enjoy the local wines and raki, as well as the fresh mountain air.
Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
A luxury Maldives spa resort, Six Senses Laamu features a combination of on-land and over-water villas, spread across an idyllic Indian Ocean paradise where dolphins, parrotfish and green turtles frolic in their natural habitat.
Laamu monitors its practices and activities against Green Globe standards, the global benchmark for sustainable tourism. Guest accommodation has been built using sustainable materials; many of the restaurant dishes are created using produce grown in the resort's organic gardens; and local people are employed wherever possible.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Chile
Tierra Patagonia is a luxury hotel and spa emerging from a hillside on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park in the south of Chile.
Offering stunning views of Lake Sarmiento and the mountain peaks of Chilean Patagonia, the hotel has inviting wood-panelled interiors with furnishings and textiles handmade by Chilean craftspeople using regional natural materials. Guests can embark on nature excursions and activities led by expert guides, indulge in indoor and outdoor spa treatments, and round it all off with a delicious meal and a quaffable Chilean wine. The hotel team is mainly hired locally and from within Chile.
Whitepod is a unique summer camp with 5-star comforts and an amazing Alpine location. Guest pods are geodesic-shaped tents anchored on a wooden platform, stylishly furnished with a natural rustic theme - and providing low-impact accommodation in this beautiful natural environment.
The resort aims to minimise water and electricity consumption, reduce waste, use renewable resources and educate guests in environmental protection. Guests can sign up for hikes with a green theme, such as foraging for lunch and making green cosmetics, to more action-packed activities like paragliding and dog karting.
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Image credits: Alan Smith for Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Milia Mountain Retreat, Six Senses Resorts & Spas and Whitepod.
Tip: Please use water sparingly. Take short showers rather than baths, and inform staff if you are happy to reuse towels and bed linen rather than having them replaced daily.