4 top eco-friendly hotels

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4 top eco-friendly hotels

Walk through the rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, ski the slopes of the Swiss Alps, join a safari in Kenya, fight your way through China's largest city, Shanghai - and return at the end of the day to the creature comforts of your accommodation. These hotels and lodges will treat you well, and the environment even better!

White Pod, Switzerland

Get a glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the deck of your cottage at Campi ya Kanzi in Kenya.

Located at the foot of the Dents du Midi mountain range in Switzerlandi, White Pod provides a unique alpine experience. The rooms of the resort comprise of dome-shaped tents - pods - nestled on individual wooden platforms that are scattered over the mountainsideii. They allow for isolated privacy but also stunning views of the surrounds, including Lake Genevaiii - ideal for both summer and winter.

The resort aims to maintain the pristine nature of the mountains by minimising its impact on the environment in a few ways, including the reduction of daily water and electricity consumption, as well as waste productioniv. The resort opts for seasonal and local produce for its restaurants, biodegradable cleaning products, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper products, LED lights and water-saving devicesv. However, the resort does not cut back on comforts: it offers a wood-burning stove; bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink; terrace; and kettle in each pod to make your stay as cosy and convenient as possibleii.

Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya

For those seeking adventure, serenity and immersion into the natural surrounds - Campi ya Kanzi is perfect. A one-hour flight from Nairobivi, the tented cottages and suites that make up Campi ya Kanzi offer a unique experience for guests, including stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance, as well as the Tsavo and Chyulu Hillsvii. Guests looking for a taste of the Kenyan wilderness without the clamour of a large tourist group can safely journey through the surrounding area escorted by professional guides and trackers. The eco-lodge supports conservation of the Kenyan hinterland by creating furniture from trees knocked down by elephants; relying on solar power to heat water and produce electricity; and providing organic produce such as vegetables, fresh milk and fresh eggs for mealsviii. The lodge also aims to promote the cultural heritage of the Maasai community by employing localsix.

Urbn Hotel, China

Shanghai's Urbn Hotel presents not only the best in luxury accommodation in Asia but is the self-proclaimed "first carbon-neutral hotel in China"x. The Urbn Hotel has been built from recycled and natural materials, promoting sustainable design and innovationxi. As part of their environmental commitment, the hotel also participates in the Million Tree Project, which involves the hotel purchasing trees in a Mongolian forest to offset carbon emissionsxii. The hotel restaurant, Downstairs with David Laris, also adheres to the hotel's standards with organic produce sourced both locally and globally, including a variety of organic meatsxiii. This hotel is ideal for those looking to navigate the urban jungle of Shanghai during the day and return to a refuge in the metropolitan wilderness at night.

The bungalows at Lapa Rios feature screens and decks that allow you to smell, hear and see the rainforest without obstruction.

In the bungalow suites of Lapa Rios, you'll awaken to the soothing sounds of the rainforest: bird calls, waves in the distance and the rustling of leavesxiv. The bungalows feature screens and decks that allow you to smell, hear and see the rainforest without obstructionxv. Enjoy an outdoor shower in what seems like your own private waterfall or a nap on your deck's hammock, lulled to sleep by the cool ocean breezesxv. Lapa Rios has pledged to preserve 1000 acres of natural reservexv, and has used sustainable methods and materials in the ecolodge's construction to make sure that it blends into its surroundsxvi. It has a sustainable approach to waste and water management, while minimising the use of fossil-fuelled electricity, such as solar power during summer to heat waterxvii.

Staying at any of these environmentally friendly hotels and lodges is a great way to be an eco-tourist. Not only does the environment matter while travelling, but so does your safety and wellbeing. Taking out comprehensive travel insurance with Allianz can protect you from financial loss in the event that you become sick or injured, or that your belongings are lost, stolen or damaged. Get a quote today!

iWhite Pod, Practical info & FAQ, viewed 8 November 2013,

iiWhite Pod, Pod configuration, viewed 8 November 2013,

iiiMy Switzerland, Whitepod – Eco-Luxury hotel & Alpine experience, viewed 8 November 2013,

ivWhite Pod, Ecotourism, viewed 8 November 2013,

vWhite Pod, Ecological Policy, viewed 8 November 2013,

viCampi Ya Kanzi, FAQ – How Do I Get There? , viewed 8 November 2013,

viiCampi Ya Kanzi, Campi ya Kanzi, viewed 8 November 2013,

viiiCampi Ya Kanzi, Sustainability, viewed 8 November 2013,

ixCampi Ya Kanzi, Community partnership, viewed 8 November 2013,

xUrbn Hotels, Welcome, viewed 8 November 2013,

xiUrbn Hotels, Sustainability, viewed 8 November 2013,

xiiUrbn Hotels, Giving back, viewed 8 November 2013,

xiiiUrbn Hotels, Downstairs with David Laris, viewed 8 November 2013,

xivLapa Rios, Rainforest Bungalows at Lapa Rios, viewed 8 November 2013,

xvLapa Rios, Conservation at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, viewed 8 November 2013,

xviLapa Rios, Sustainability at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, viewed 8 November 2013,