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Eco Spas Around the World

Pampering yourself (and the planet) never felt so good

Imagine allowing yourself the pleasure to take the weekend and sleep in gloriously comfortable beds (donned with organic linens, of course), drink deliciously organic wine, be expertly massaged and then let out a long exhale during a peaceful but stimulating yoga session. Oh, and by the way, as you do it, you’re keeping the earth happy, reducing your carbon footprint and scoring major sanity points. This can all be yours when you spend a weekend at a luxury green spa. Enjoy organic products, eat all-natural (and award-winning) cuisine and bring your mind and body to a blissful connection at one of these eco-friendly havens of happiness.

Sundara Inn and Spa: While Wisconsin might not be your first thought in new-age earthly progress, it's worth a look. The award-winning Sundara Inn and Spa has all that you’re looking for in terms of lavish pampering, all wrapped in a pretty green package. Its private Spa Lifestyle Villas allow you enough mental freedom and physical space to make the most of your weekend. Settled around preserved pine trees, the green spa took extraordinary measures during construction to do as much as possible to control erosion and take special care of the natural land.

The sophisticated outdoor lighting design aptly controls light pollution and protects nocturnal animals from being driven out of their nearby habitats. While still being built, Sundara collected rainwater and used it on the construction site instead of wasting clean, filtered water. In an effort to conserve water after the spa’s opening, guests have the option whether or not to use daily laundry services. High-efficiency equipment and appliances all over the grounds save energy, and flooring made from low-fuel-emitting materials (and low-VOC paint) keep the interior happy with a safe, eco-friendly glow.

Believe it or not, this green spa gets even greener. Recycling centers all around the buildings are accessible for both guests and staff. Outside, wood for mulch, rocks for décor, and plants for atmosphere have all been locally sourced, to cut down on fuel costs and emissions. For seasonal oomph, sun shading helps climate control in the summer and winter. Fostering a partnership with the Green Spa Network, Sundara also works with the non-profit organization to promote natural connections between personal well-being and economic sustainability with the health of our planet.

El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa: You’ve heard it before: Don’t talk about the lifestyle you want to live, live the lifestyle, and talk about your life. That’s exactly what the staff at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa in Taos, New Mexico does. Slipping into organic uniforms each morning, and making a firm commitment to sustainability and environmental sensitivity, the passionate team at this wonderfully green spa delivers a promise so green, you’ll never be blue again.

As you hold yourself strongly in a Tai-Chi position, absorb the lush greenery in a nature walk, or lose yourself in a relaxing meditation, you’ll understand the power of personal investment. A stay at El Monte Sagrado reinforces the importance of taking care of yourself, and in turn, caring for the planet. Ecologically aware on all fronts, this green spa specializes in the holistic integration of waters, energy, and green building systems to make sure that your stay is both soothing and rewarding.

As you calm the body and submit it to the hands of these expert men and women, you’ll be happy to know that the entire treatment menu you experience here replaces chemicals like mineral oils, paraffin waxes, and synthetic ingredients with essential oils and soy products to further enhance its green spa status. Using only natural cleaning supplies that pose no threats to either the world’s water supply or wildlife is just another way that these eco-loving people live the lifestyle. Experience this garden-like paradise, and come home with a new appreciation for just how rejuvenating green can be.

Rancho La Puerta: It’s easy to reconnect with the earth and work together with nature when you visit Rancho La Puerta, in San Diego, California. Family owned and operated, this green spa accommodates 150 guests at a time, offering its 3,000 acres of mountains and meadows near Mount Kuchumaa to each guest who craves the exploration. The land itself is considered to be spiritually significant by Native Americans, so you can be sure that your stay will be saturated in mystical balance.

No two casitas here are exactly alike – whether it be the architecture, the bright fabrics or the amazing folk art, your stay will be uniquely colored by the natural touches of culture. Each villa is on ground level, adjacent to gardens and large patios that encourage appreciation of the outdoors. One thing this green spa doesn’t offer? Televisions. Instead of using electricity and clouding your thoughts, Rancho La Puerta encourages you to connect your mind and body with the earth.

Outside, the property is planned suitably with sustainable organic gardening and resource conservation in mind. No cars are allowed on the property in order to keep the surrounding air clean. The campus was specifically designed to emphasize natural beauty, and optimal exercise, so you’ll be doing your part, getting fit, and enjoying the beautiful scenery with one easy stroll. Each night, when you walk through your hand carved wooden doorway, it will hit you – this is paradise.

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa: Not many green spas (or countries, for that matter) can boast being settled in one of the world’s oldest rainforests. More than 135 million years of growth culminate here in Daintree Primeval Forest in Queensland, Australia. In the past decade, a Director of Tranquility was appointed to care for flourishing and endangered plant and animal species. Why is this forest any more special than the next? One of the oldest indigenous communities in the world (Kuku Yalanji) still lives here among the beaches, river systems, and greenery. The Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa peacefully resides in the heart of this incredible fusion of humanity and nature, and does its part each day to respect and nurture the Aboriginal tribe that so carefully crafts its life here.

A three-day Aboriginal Expedition allows you to walk the pathways, breathe the air, and live the life of a human being that is truly at one with nature. Here, eight wildlife habitats fit together in a patchwork of billabongs, mangroves, open grass, river vines, and creeks, among others. More than 200 species of fish and more than half the country’s bird population lives in harmony among this ever-changing forest, and when you stay at this green spa, you’ll want to live there too. The balance of people and nature is fragile. Here, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Daintree Forest) meet, making it the perfect location for an authentic eco-tourism experience.

The green doesn’t stop there. Once inside, the spa menus are just as kind to the earth. Li’Tya, a product line inspired by Aboriginal practices is used for skincare and spa treatments, so while you’re getting a facial, or immersing yourself in a Milkanga Kaday head massage, you can smile knowing that not only are you treating yourself, but you’re also helping the astonishing outdoor setting around you. The green spa’s partnership with the Australian Greenhouse Office ensures its daily reduction of greenhouse emissions, energy management, intellectual property rights, cultural heritage preservation, and the underlying movement of working at one with nature.

Koru Eco Spa: Imagine your spa is a plant. Yes, a plant. You want your plant to be green from roots to tip – none of this brown, dry nonsense anywhere. The leaves need to flourish, the stems should be strong, the soil should be moist, and the roots firmly set. That’s what you get when you visit Koru Eco Spa at Block Island in Rhode Island – a roots-to-leaves green spa experience.

From the non-toxic paint to the furniture made of reclaimed wood, all the way to the organic uniforms of the staff, Koru Eco Spa does green justice. Ingredients for its spa menu have been thoroughly researched and taken from places all over the globe for the very best that nature has to offer. Manuka honey from New Zealand, rooibos and baobab plants from Africa, and Brazilian and Indian elements make up the purest skin care lines, all environmentally friendly and free of chemicals like parabens. Aside from its global superlatives, Koru also boasts its green spa status by taking the exact opposite approach as well. Stones used for massages are found on local beaches, and herbs for exfoliating are drawn from local farms, reducing fuel use as much as possible.

The green spa’s surroundings are no paler shade than the inside. More than 25 miles of walking trails, and 17 miles of shoreline add to the sustainable spirit of the place. The culture in Block Island revolves around the outdoors, which is why its seaside location is the perfect airy spot to find peace.

Tabacon Grand Spa: Amidst the pristine rain forest of Costa Rica and an active volcano is the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, rooted in its surroundings. Treatments are conducted outdoors to the sounds of waterfalls and the rain forest, and specialize in local ingredients, especially those using volcanic mud from the active Arenal Volcano, prized for its curative properties. Long a recipient of international awards and certification, Tabacon is considered one of the finest spa resorts in Central America.

Finca Rosa Blanca: Set amid the cloud forests and volcanoes of Costa Rica's Central Highlands, the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn provides one of the more complete eco destination experiences. As Costa Rica's first certified sustainable hotel, the resort has continued garnering awards for its green approach, including a perfect score in international sustainability rankings. Best green practices continue with extensive water conservation, recycling, and sourcing local and organic ingredients.

Hacienda Chichen Resort: Nestled in the Yucatan jungle, the Yaxkin Spa at Hacienda Chichen resort incorporates green and sustainable practices throughout its design and operations. The resort is built to minimize energy and water use, and incorporates water and waste recycling, and also maintains its own jungle nature preserve and bird sanctuary. There is also a major commitment to indigenous Maya, who fill 99% of the resort's positions, as well as through the resort's foundation to preserve Mayan culture.

Kasbah du Toubkal: Perched 1800 feet above sea level on North Africa's highest peak, the Kasbah du Toubkal has been recognized by the King of Morocco for setting the responsible travel standard. The Kasbah uses mule transportation, minimizes electricity and partners with the local Berber community, funding local projects such as a school, waste disposal system and the area's first ambulance.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu: Located in an Andean village near the ancient city of Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra Hotel and its Uno Spa seem to transcend the old and modern worlds. It's also one of the greenest hotel resorts in the world, is carbon neutral, and long recognized for its extensive sustainability commitment. This includes supporting major ecology research and conservation programs of its rainforest surroundings, and use of green technology.

Monart Destination Spa: After only six years of operation as Ireland's first destination eco-spa, Monart Spa was widely been recognized as Ireland's top spa by travel authorities like Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes magazines. Located on 100 acres of the Irish countryside, the spa was built to ethical standards, including every tree cut down used later in its construction, operating hydrocarbon-free, and according to stringent energy efficiency standards.

Nusta Spa: Washington, DC's Nusta Spa is the first and only spa in the United States to achieve the highest-level LEED rating and gold certification for its green design. Nusta stays on the green path by using sustainable, local, chemical free, and recycled materials throughout its interior and in its products.

Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.