For generations, hotels have excelled and innovated in areas like food and design. But in the 21st century, that is no longer enough. More and more, new hotels and hospitality brands are focusing on big issues that hold importance to informed global citizens – like conservation, sustainability, education, inclusivity, and community. Many in this growing breed of hotels derive their very identity from their commitment to these singular causes. The result: a totally new blueprint for what a hotel can be and a way for us all to become better, more responsible travellers.
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When it opens in 2024 on Norway's Helgeland coastline, Six Senses Svart will become the world's first energy-positive hotel. The 94-room property will harvest more solar energy than it needs to operate, making it entirely off-grid and self-sustaining, with its own waste and water management, recycling, and renewable infrastructure.
In the Hudson Valley, Moliving is stripping hotels down to a single room, one that is high-function and minimal-impact. The brainchild of a team with backgrounds in luxury brands, Moliving cabins have a central operation system, are totally off the grid, and let travellers get the most valued commodity – privacy.
Since 2009, when Lisa Harper opened Rancho Pescadero, development in Todos Santos, Mexico, has exploded. To support hotel staff and the full-time community, the high-design resort has invested in 170 affordable homes (as well as a slew of educational opportunities) and gone green, adding a solar farm for energy.
Travellers with the expedition company Voygr don't sleep in conventional beds or hotels when exploring Kyrgyzstan's mountains. Instead, simple, traditional yurts and snug sleeping bags will leave the terrain practically untouched, helping travellers to their ultimate reward: unparalleled access to elusive snow leopards and more.
Steward of the land
Designer safari camp Angama Amboseli will open in 2023 on a patch of Kenya's Maasai Mara subleased from an organization that rents over land from some 844 Maasai families. This means that the communities receive reliable income and the parcel is conserved rather used for livestock grazing, resulting in more of the transit corridors that wildlife need to flourish.
Passalacqua, an 18th-century former villa on Lake Como, takes local craftsmanship to lofty new levels. Its 24 rooms have been carefully restored and crafted by hundreds of Italian artisans, from metalsmiths (the staircase) to glassblowers (the chandeliers) to leather workers (vintage-style steamer trunks). No cutting corners here.
Read our full review of Passalcqua, Lake Como.
The responsible retreat
In Samaná, a glitzy stretch of the Dominican Republic where tourism has tended to be extractive, high-design Shamana aims to prove that luxury resorts here can be meaningfully regenerative through initiatives such as fishing programs, river cleanups, and community education.
This article appeared in the October 2022 issue of Condé Nast Traveller, and was originally published on Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.