You don't have to sacrifice comfort for sustainability in Thailand; a fact proved by these beautiful green hotels that make for a special stay in the Land of Smiles
Originally starting out as a single treehouse for the family, Rabeang Pasak Treehouse Resort has evolved into eight suites in the sky. This humble accommodation can be found just north of Chiang Mai, in a remote village packed with dense forest. These magical treehouses, some small and others big enough for families, create secluded spaces in quiet surroundings where you can hear the gentle sounds of running water and birds flitting around in the canopy.
The green element of this resort is that the facilities are basic, and thus low-impact, and as a guest you’re deep in the heart of nature. As the collection of rooms is so small, Rabeang Pasak is a far cry from the tourist-packed resorts elsewhere in Thailand, and looking after the environment here comes naturally.
Located in Khao Lak, just north of Phuket and amidst lush national park forest, The Sarojin is a hotel that prides itself on luxury and creating a sense of escape. The rooms are spacious and stylish, floating pavilions sit next to an infinity pool, and among the many dining spaces is the option to eat at a private table for two with your toes in the sand.
Not only is this boutique hotel praised for its decadent design, it’s also been in the spotlight for helping out the local area. The Sarojin was runner up for the Community-Based Tourism section in the 2015 Thai Green Excellence Awards, largely due to its Sarojin Khao Lak Community Fund. This project has helped the region extensively, working with orphanages, animal welfare, construction, and more to help develop the place it calls home.
If you only manage to make it to Bangkok, there’s still opportunity to find cool, eco-friendly accommodation. Bangkok Treehouse is an exceptional example of such – a little paradise right in the heart of the city. Located close to the floating market, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, this collection of lofty rooms varies from three-floor suites to beds under the stars perched more than 20 feet above ground.
The hotel is committed to protecting its surroundings, and highlights of its sustainable plan include organic produce grown on-site, renewable energy powered lighting, river clean-ups, upcycling, and carbon-free cooking. What’s more, you can only reach the hotel by foot, bike, or boat.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a dream at Soneva Kiri. This beautiful hotel is comprised of a collection of villas, each with their own infinity pools and private butlers, with leafy surroundings and views of the pristine beach. Located on Koh Kood, a stay here feels like a break on a deserted island, and touches like an open air cinema, ice cream parlour, and treetop dining pods give it a unique twist.
Keen to protect the environment surrounding the hotel, Soneva Kiri have worked hard to reduce its carbon footprint and develop the natural beauty in the area. The hotel has banned imported bottled water, launched coral restoration projects to help local marine life flourish, and raised $5.5million through a carbon levy to help thousands of people in need.
Tucked away in the forests of the western part of the island, when staying at Keemala you’ll forget the hectic lifestyle that Phuket is known for. The hotel’s slogan is ‘Beyond Enchanting’ for a reason: everything here feels like it’s been lifted from a fairy tale, from the bird’s nest villas to the magical gardens. The inspiration for the hotel was taken from four fictional tribes of Phuket people, creating different styles of villas – cottages, tents, treehouses, and nests – that have been given the luxury touch to create a breathtaking resort.
A lot of thought has gone into Keemala’s design to ensure its impact of the natural area is low. Many of the villas sit among the trees to limit deforestation, and were designed to let in as much natural light as possible to reduce the need for electric lights. The organic gardens on-site also allow for further blending in with the natural environment, and produce – from ginger and lemongrass, to coconuts and bananas – are grown here.
As it’s so busy in terms of tourism, Koh Phi Phi has a bit of a bad rep with it comes to sustainability – but Zeavola Resort is an exception to the rule. This 5* hotel has won awards for its self-sufficiency and dedication to looking after the natural environment that surrounds it. Daily beach clean-ups, coral preservation, sustainable water usage, and local school support are all part of Zeavola’s green agenda.
The resort not only prides itself on its responsible tourism initiatives, but an emphasis on luxury. Each suite is beautifully styled, and amenities like private swimming pools, outdoor rain showers, and indulgent spa treatments are just a few of the perks of staying here.