8 Unique Eco-Friendly Hotels You Need To Experience
It's the ultimate eco-tourism idea. Use local resources to build your hotel.
Don't ship in wood from Malaysia and stone from Italy – just pick up whatever is lying around and build with that. Here are eight unusual places to stay that are as eco-friendly as the dirt on the ground.
A hotel made of salt
Image: Palacio de Sal
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world's largest salt flat. Guess what they've got plenty of? Salt.
And the Palacio de Sal hasn't been shy about using it. It's a 30-room hotel, complete with bar, restaurant and games room, made entirely out of salt.
More than one million salt blocks were used and even the beds, tables, chairs and artworks are made of salt. Just don't lick the hotel, please.
Palacio de Sal, Uyuni, Bolivia
A hotel of igloos
Ever wanted to sleep in an igloo? Each winter, Iglu-Dorf builds a series of igloos in its seven locations across Europe.
They range from a basic igloo with an ice sleeping platform to more elaborate igloos with ice sculptures, ice tables and private spas. You'll snuggle down at night in an expedition sleeping bag and wake up to superb mountain views when you clamber out of your igloo door.
And, come spring, the hotel simply melts away.
Iglu-Dorf – in seven locations across Europe
A hotel bar in a cave
Image: The Caves
There are a few places around the world where people have dug out caves to live in and turned them into hotels. But this hotel has just plonked its bar and private dining rooms inside a beachside cave system on the coast of beautiful Jamaica.
The bar is a masterpiece, inside a cave with waves breaking against the cliff walls. Tables have been set up in the network of small caves for romantic dinners by the sea and there are even private cave spa treatments.
The hotel rooms themselves are regular buildings nestled into the cliff edge – you can clamber in and out of the sea straight off the rocks from your front door.
The Caves, Negril, Jamaica
A hotel made of not much at all
The remote Kenyan wild is the setting for Loisaba Star Beds. After you check in at the hotel, you are taken into the African wilderness (by vehicle or perhaps camel) to your 'Star Bed'.
It's a raised wooden platform with a thatched roof over the back half and completely open at the front. There's a hand-crafted, mosquito-netted, four-poster bed on the platform.
If you lack much spirit of adventure, you can leave the bed under the roof, but for the complete experience, push the bed out into the open for a real night under the African stars.
Loisaba Star Beds, Nanyuki, Kenya
A mud hotel
The ancient town of Siwa Oasis in Egypt is a remote place. It's over near the border of Libya and, as the name suggests, it is an oasis – the depression is home to olive groves and palm trees, and a sprawl of mud-brick houses and narrow laneways.
Albabenshal is one of the town's hotels, built into the formerly abandoned and crumbling walls of the citadel. Simple mud-brick rooms keep you cool through the day and dining takes place on the roof terrace with great views over the sleepy oasis.
Albabenshal, Siwa Oasis, Egypt
A very temporary sandcastle hotel
The essence of the 'leave no trace' philosophy – a hotel made entirely of sand was built on the beach in Dorset, UK, in 2008. The structure of sand walls and sand beds (but no roof and no bathrooms) lasted just a short while before the rain and tide washed it away.
Sand Hotel, Weymouth, UK
Hotel made of local stone and shipwrecks
Image: Uniq Hotels
A tiny building is perched on the rocky shores of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, off the western coast of Africa – 'remote' would be understating it. The building (formerly a customs building, now a hotel) is built of the the local volcanic rock – and pieces of wood from shipwrecks that have washed ashore.
Other pieces of shipwreck paraphernalia, like buoys, bells, ropes and lamps, adorn the place. The hotel has only four rooms and next to no facilities – but the location is second to none.
Hotel Punta Grande, El Hierro, Canary Islands
Upcycled drainage pipe hotel
Tubohotel, in Tepoztlan, Mexico, is a series of hotel rooms built inside old concrete pipes. The owner of Tubohotel claims the pipes were just 'lying around' and he asked if he could use them.
Architects were commissioned to upcycle the pipes into individual hotel rooms (based on the other pipe hotel, Dasparkhotel in Germany) and now you can fulfil your lifelong dream to sleep the night away in a concrete pipe.
Tubohotel, Tepoztlan, Mexico
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