Luxurious vacations don't have to be bad for the environment. Here, five amazing resorts where you can eat well while keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum.
Ecotourism—travel that supports conservation and minimizes harm to unique natural environments—is growing, and new resorts around the world are proving that hospitality and eco-consciousness don't have to be mutually exclusive. If you want to have the best food year of your life while also doing good, the options for where to go are growing by the day. You can enjoy the latest in organic, sustainable, and locally sourced meals from burgers to lionfish, all while savoring the knowledge that you're helping to save the environment—at least a little. From beautiful edible golf courses to the resort that's transforming Portugal's oldest wine region, here are five incredible food resorts that marry amazing food experiences with sustainability.
1. Bellemont Farm, St. Kitts
At the eco-friendly resort Bellemont Farms, located on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Kitts, you can have your golf course and eat it too. Known for its unique "edible" golf course, Bellemont Farms is set on 400 acres of organic farmland. Hit into the rough? No problem. Golfers can pick bananas and juicy mangos as they go, while simultaneously taking in the sweeping views of St. Barths and St. Martin. As of last November, Bellemont started renting out the new four-bedroom Farmhouse, which features a large gourmet kitchen that's perfect for farm-to-table family dinners and cooking classes. Guests can also enjoy a new type of in-room dining thanks to the Rolling Mango, a mobile kitchen cart where cooks prepare fresh meals, room-side, upon request. And for the ultimate Caribbean dining experience, the new Coco House restaurant will offer 12-course tasting menus, with local Kittian elders sharing traditional folklore in between each dish. bellemontfarm.com
2. UXUA, Trancoso, Brazil
Located on the edge of the Quadrado—Trancosco's 500-year-old town square—UXUA's 11 incredible casas were built using reclaimed materials and antiques by local artisans. Owner Wilbert Das, the former creative director of Diesel, also brings his ecologically conscious vision to the resort's new restaurant, which features wooden tables and chairs produced in collaboration with local artists, candelabras made from recycled wine bottles, and vinegar holders made with vintage glass beakers. The restaurant's diverse menu offers Bahian specialties like Moqueca, a seafood stew made with white fish, shrimp and creamy coconut milk, and a burger made with picanha, a popular Brazilian cut of beef, and locally sourced buffalo mozzarella. uxua.com
3. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Sustainability-focused hotel group Six Senses recently opened its newest resort in the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site and famed wine region. The expansive 20-acre resort features 57 rooms designed with eco-friendly materials and three restaurants. Fresh-baked bread and traditional dishes are made in the wood-fired oven, which uses fire wood obtained from pruning and cleaning the property's trees. The Wine Library & Terrace offers local charcuterie and tapas and, of course, an extensive wine list. F&W's Ray Isle spoke with the co-directors of the resort's wine program, Sandra Tavares da Silva and Francisca van Zellar, about what makes the Six Senses wine program so special and what to do while visiting the Douro. www.sixsenses.com
4. 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida
At 1 Hotel's first property, the eco ethos is clear: room keys are made of recycled wood emblazoned with a friendly reminder to "recycle everything"; meanwhile, the house shuttle is a Tesla. The lobby is home to a farmstand that offers local produce for quick, healthy snacks, and star chef Tom Colicchio runs all of the hotel's restaurants with a strong focus on sustainability. "We spent months sourcing everything from Florida—we even found a fantastic burrata," says Colicchio. At Beachcraft, he chars local octopus on a custom wood-burning grill to serve with a smoky-sweet ancho chile sauce; for his cabana menu at the poolside Sand Box, he fills tacos with kale slaw and yuca-encrusted lionfish, an invasive species. (One way to reduce the number of lionfish threatening local marine ecosystems is to eat them.) 1hotels.com/ —Liz Sheldon
5. Bambu Indah, Bali
Luxury meets sustainability at the Bambu Indah wellness resort in Bali. Guest rooms include beautifully restored 100-year-old Indonesian "bridal suites" that Javanese noblemen originally had built for their new wives. Jeweler-turned-hotelier John Hardy and his family are strong proponents of bamboo as the future of sustainable building; the more recent yoga pavilion features bamboo treated with saltwater (a traditional but underused method for warding off beetles). The open-air kitchen, where guests can learn to prepare Indonesian dishes such as chicken satay with roasted jackfruit, was also constructed with bamboo. Dapoer, the resort's restaurant, combines local produce with Balinese rice, herbs and vegetables from the resort¹s own garden. bambuindah.com