Looking to spend a few winter weeks in the Swiss Alps skiing, eating, hot tubing and oh yeah, living underground? Fantastic, I just found the place for you. An ultra modern designers military bunker wet dream of a villa which sleeps 10 hmm un-comfortably. Yes, the Villa Vals has opened up their hill for you by designing a very eco-earthen dwelling, with all kidding aside, isn’t to bad. I love the circle entrance, but it’s just the concrete cold hard interiors which are throw me.
The location couldn’t be more stunning, why design something with such hard interiors? Couldn’t the designers some how bring in the coziness of nature or at least make it feel open and spacious? Some of these photos remind me of a hip MTV style Juvi Center. I am just saying. Would you fork over $4000 a week to live a Swiss underground bunker? Is it just me?
Maybe in person it has that seemingly missing homy feeling and for some reason the photos just can’t represent it accurately. If any of you flesh monkies out there in “G” land end up doing time here, please share your thoughts and experiences. Oh and photos if you got them. Also, let us know if you spent some time in the Third Reich, which might explain your preference for this underground kind of thing.
There’s nothing like sashaying down the slopes on a snowboard (or it you’re old school like me, a pair of skis). Armed only with a Chapstick and a chocolate bar, you really feel alive and at one with nature…
Unfortunately, that experience can come to an abrupt halt when you’re greeted by a fleet of snow-chained SUVs at the end of your run.
But if you can get your head around skiing in June, it doesn’t have to be this way. Falls Creek ski resort in Victoria, Australia, is the world’s first alpine resort to be recognized by Green Globe 21, an international accreditation scheme for ecologically and socially sustainable tourism. No cars are allowed in the village for the entire season to “ensure the resort is fully ski in, ski out”.
Calling a resort Tiamo is a genius bit of subliminal marketing. For honeymooners, it’s a way to say “I love you” in Italian. And for ecotourists, it can be an expression of one’s love for the earth.
Tiamo, located on a private beach in the Bahamas, was build by hand by a couple in love, Mike and Petagay Hartman, who shared a dream to build a luxury resort that minimized impact on the environment. They used sustainable construction practices in building the resort, even going so far as to create a prototype in Indiana to reduce construction waste.
Swimsuit season is almost upon us. And if — like Cliff Richard — you’re a Brit, you’ll be starting to think about where to spend your “Summer Holiday”. With the mighty pound and the short hop, skip and a jump to Europe (ahhh, I remember those days), it’s natural and realistic to start fantasizing about a vacay in Spain, Greece or Morocco. I mean what are the other options? Stay at home? Go to an over-priced, busy (and busy-body) B&B? Errr, no thanks. That option used to be as attractive as a cold English muffin. But now there’s something better.
Established in 2006, Natural Retreats is a network of sustainable yet super luxurious accommodations situated within close proximity of the UK’s 14 national parks. Founder Matt Spence said the idea came after a lifetime of working in luxury developments around the globe and having grown up on a farm. Currently, socially-conscious travelers can opt to escape to eco-retreats in Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, the Lake District and the North York Moors to experience English nature at its finest. And if none of these spots work for you, there are plans to acquire ten more sites by 2011.
When can celebrity endorsement hurt you? Okay, “hurt” isn’t the right word. But the Professional Travel Guide recently listed the Robert Redford-owned Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon, Utah, the number one celebrity-owned resort. And I think they might have done the Sundance a bit of a disservice.
Calling it a “5,000-acre showcase for the eco-conscious traveler”, PTG waxes beautifully poetic about the rustically chic resort located at the base of Mount Timpanogos. From the clean air and the beautiful scenery to the wildflowers in the summer and snow in the winter, the Sundance goes rungs beyond your usual resort in terms of its activities. There’s skiing, workshops with artists-in-residence, delicious mountain cuisine (with plenty of vegetarian options if that’s your pref), an indoor-outdoor theater where musicals are performed in the summertime (“Oklahoma!” anyone?), foreign films, art classes, trail rides, watersports and golf. Jeez, it sounds better than Disneyland. There’s also a small spa, a fitness center, a gift shop and meeting rooms in case you want to take along your entire office and call it a seminar.
Say you lived in Minnesota but had dreams of relocating to the rainforest of Central America — what would you do? Well, if you’re John and Karen Lewis, you’d sell everything you owned, buy a small tract of rainforest in Costa Rica and build an eco-lodge that would enable others to experience nature at its finest.
Set in over 1,000 acres of the region’s “last remaining lowland tropical rainforest”, Lapa Rios Ecolodge overlooks the breathtaking Pacific Ocean and backs onto the Corcovado National Park. A conservation program by The Nature Conservancy and Cederena will ensure that this rainforest will be “preserved into perpetuity”.
All this throwing around of the term “ecotourism” (and I’m just as culpable as the next guy; I’ve used it many times here on G Living) begs the question of just how sustainable a hotel can be. Some places offer to conserve water by not washing your sheets, others boast of utilizing solar (rare) or wind power (even rarer).
Certainly the concept of mass tourism collides with environmentalism on many levels. And a zero footprint for a hotel that employs a hundred or more people and services many more than that seems almost impossible. But it’s nice to see more and more making the effort – and to observe the ways in which they do it.
New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment (at least according to their license plates), and there’s no place more enchanting in my opinion than Santa Fe. A land of rich American history, cultural diversity and scenery that’s simply unreal, the city is also known for its many galleries, museums and outdoor activities. (Be sure to check out the many outdoor sculptures!) It’s a great place for a romantic weekend getaway. And there’s perhaps no more enchanting place to stay while you’re there than the Madeleine Inn.
Sure, Los Angeles may not make it into America’s top 10 greenest cities (or 50, for that matter). We admit our penchant for air pollution, stretch Hummers and conspicuous consumption leaves plenty of room for improvement. But amongst the strip malls and smog, there are pockets of green. And like everything in Los Angeles, you need an insider to help you find it. So, for all you visitors to the City of Angels, here’s my tip for a sleek, stylish and environmentally friendly hotel opening this month.
The Hotel Palomar in Westwood provides a luxury boutique experience that chooses environmental responsibility because it’s “simply the right thing to do”. The hotel, part of the Kimpton family, incorporates more than 40 eco-friendly practices into their daily operations. Things like in-room recycling, energy efficient lighting and water efficient features. They also boast natural toiletries — a huge relief, having endured über drying chemical body washes on more occasions than I care to remember.
What does it take to change the focus of the masses towards more sustainable lifestyles? If we ask the good folks of Wisconsin, they’d tell us it takes coordinating all types of groups, including government, business, and active citizens. And what you’d discover is that participants become more involved in their communities, which the key to making real change happen.
Travel Green Wisconsin — created in 2004 as an ad hoc advisory committee of business leaders, government agencies, and non-profits — is recreating the recreation landscape in Wisconsin. Their goal: educate people about sustainable tourism practices and promote businesses that are going for the green – both environmentally and fiscally. Why? A full three quarters of Americans have decided to lead greener lifestyles, but this dedication rarely carries over to vacations.
I’m not one for activity-planned vacations. I prefer to do a little research, drop myself somewhere, soak up some local color and then do my own exploring. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like sharing my holiday with anyone other than those I’ve personally selected.
But I got a shout-out about a vacation provider called Contiki that’s integrating a ton of green initiatives, so I thought it was worth a mention. Calling themselves the “world leader in vacation packages geared towards 18 to 35 year olds”, Contiki recently announced their plans to help globe trekkers travel carbon neutral.
Why would someone spend a million dollars greenovating an island retreat off the coast of Australia only to turn around and sell it? I don’t know the answer, but I bet Kylie Minogue has some thoughts on the subject. The singer has put her French Island home in Western Port Bay on the market and is expected to collect nearly $2 million for the place.