7 Eco-Friendly Hotels That Are Serious About Going Plastic-Free

By Christopher Thompson

As the effects of climate change become increasingly dire around the world, conscious organizations and individuals are considering how to lessen their own detrimental impact on the environment. Unnecessary waste is of particular concern in the travel realm, given the abundance of single-use items that come with your average accommodation (think: mini bar, bathroom amenities, water bottles to go). Recognizing how much work there is to do, a number of luxurious properties have gone above and beyond “green,” implementing new, sustainable systems that reduce pollution. To round-up some of the most inspiring hotels in this regard—on World Oceans Day, no less—we turned to the editors of A Hotel Life, the site that reviews hundreds of hotels around the world. They revealed a few of their favorite places that achieve luxury without sacrificing ecology, from the Bay of Bengal to Brooklyn.

The Miami Beach EDITION

Stay Plastic Free, EDITION Hotels’ worldwide campaign aiming to take single use plastics out of the hospitality industry, was first launched at their beautiful Miami Beach property. Led by Ben Pundole, EDITION’s VP of brand experience and founder of AHotelLife, the initiative not only eliminated straws, bottles, cups, lids and other plastic items from all their locations, but also provides a library of cost effective alternatives to any hotel wanting to take a more conscious approach to their operations.

Casa Pueblo Tulum

This independent hotel is impeccable in all details, with absolutely no single-use plastics on premise, from the welcoming common areas, bar and restaurant (all graciously filled with lush endemic flora) to the spacious, minimally furnished, light-drenched rooms that are stocked with pure filtered water in glass bottles and amenities in refillable containers.

Anantara Resort Phuket

Anantara’s environmentally forward-thinking measures are present across all their hotels and resorts, but Phuket gets some special attention, since the waters surrounding the island are often targeted with enormous waves of trash. All plastic bottles have been banned from rooms and gyms, dry amenities are packed with compostable paper, plastic toothbrushes have been replaced with a biodegradable straw alternative, and toiletries are provided in larger ceramic pumps to reduce the amount of packaging and waste created by individual mini servings.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Located in the stunning Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, Taj’s resort is in the middle of 46 acres of forests and mangroves. The property includes an onsite bottling plant so no single-use plastic bottles are necessary, a waste disposal system that coverts trash to gas and compost, and a sanitation treatment plant—all while replacing plastic-wrapped amenities with eco-friendly substitutes.

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Six Senses has gone a few steps further when it comes to sustainability and education: besides eliminating most single-use plastics from their hotels and spas globally, this Vietnam location launched the “Earth Lab” in 2018, an experiential initiative that has a coral reef restoration program, teaches guests how to compost and make their own chemical-free detergent, and takes them to plantation fields and water treatment plants in an effort to raise awareness and inspire more sustainable habits.

Habitas Tulum

While Tulum and the Riviera Maya have seen rampant tourism and its negative impact on the environment over the last years, Habitas has been a pioneer in reducing waste, abolishing the use of plastics, and promoting environmental education in the area, inspiring many hoteliers to follow the example.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

1 Hotels are known for their eco-friendly approach in form and function. Rooms and lobbies are designed by local artists using native greenery and reclaimed materials, and all spaces are serviced with filtered water fountains. The hotel also provides canvas tote bags for their guests to go shopping and avoid disposable ones.