There is a stigma that anything “eco” or “sustainable” has to be on a low budget, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. Before the pandemic, the travel industry was one of the few moving towards a more sustainable future. Hotel developers have started to consider the additional costs of creating a sustainable luxury property as an investment, going beyond simple initiatives such as banning single-use plastic. Instead, they focused on ways to implement sustainability from the start. The past year of travel closures and bans has revealed the travel industry’s impact on the environment, with carbon emissions down 7% worldwide in 2020. According to recent data from Booking.com, 70% of consumers are likely to book accommodation that they know uses sustainable practices. And with the chemistry of sustainable hotels in the luxury space, travelers quickly realize that you don’t have to sacrifice luxury for sustainability. In many ways, sustainable hotels go hand in hand with high-end design. From hotels powered entirely by solar energy to others built using vernacular architecture, luxury designer hotels are paving the way for a more sustainable future in hospitality from scratch, without skimping on all the comforts an experience luxury generally offers.
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Sussurro, Mozambique: open in January 2021
Located on a secluded beach on a saltwater lagoon in southern Mozambique and managed by Sarah Birkett, Sussurro offers various beachfront bungalows with indoor and outdoor swimming areas, as well as a library and gallery, a lap pool, a yoga terrace and a bar and restaurant. Every aspect of the architecture, design and experience has sustainability at the forefront. “Solar power was not an afterthought like so many lodges and safari hotels in Africa,” says Birkett. “More than 90% of the residence was built using renewable energies. We started with sustainable systems from the start. Vernacular architecture is another way that Sussurro is fundamentally sustainable. Using only natural and endemic materials originating from their ecosystem is also a way to preserve heritage craft skills. With this in mind, 100% of the materials are sourced and manufactured in Africa. Sussurro’s commitment to environmental protection is further underscored by their efforts in their regenerative mangrove reforestation plan, where they plant carbon-rich mangrove seeds in their nursery in order to reforest an old saltworks that has been heavily eroded by native mangroves.