Ease your conscience and unwind at the same time with a guilt-free stay
Fivelements Puri Ahimsa Hotel, Bali A haven for weary minds and bodies, this beautiful bamboo eco lodge is nestled away on the tropical banks of Ubud’s Ayung River, the longest tributary on the Indonesian island of Bali. Whether you book in for a week-long meditation, rejuvenation or detox program, Fivelements enables you to immediately unplug. Listening to the calming sounds of the winding river as it runs past your suite, it’s not long before the hum of birds replaces the buzz of mobile phones. Each of the nine suites are made in traditional Balinese style with bamboo walls, thatched roofs and with natural features like open-air stone bathtubs. Being so close to nature, sustainability is at the heart of the venue, rain water is stored and reused and management sponsor village waste-management programs. This lush hideaway also houses a unique raw food restaurant serving super tasty meals with vegan flair. From Dhs695 per room per night, Fivelements Puri Ahimsa, Banjar Adat Baturning, Mambal, Abiansemal, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, www.fivelements.org (0062 361 469 260).
Feynan Eco Lodge, Jordan Located at the western edge of Dana Biosphere Reserve, near the villages of Qurayqura and Feynan, and in the heart of Jordan’s arid wilderness, lies this sand-coloured lodge which blends almost seamlessly into the landscape. Once a campsite for archaeologists, the lodge is now open to all travellers seeking a retreat from city life or those who want to further discover Jordan’s landscapes. The lodge recycles compost, generates its own solar-powered electricity and uses locally sourced food to produce delicious Arabic-inspired vegetarian meals. A stay at Feynan requires a healthy sense of adventure, with a host of activities on offer, including hikes through the russet-coloured, mars-like terrain and bike tours discovering the native landscape, led by experienced local Bedouin guides. There’ll be zero bleeps of iPads and smartphones, the lodge has no main electrics so its your duty to relax eco-style, in atmospheric, candle-lit rooms. From 565 per night based on two people sharing, inclusive of dinner, bed and breakfast. Feynan Eco Lodge, www.feynan.com (0962 6 464 5580).
Shergarh Tented Camp, Kanha Tiger Reserve, India Take a walk on the wild side at this Indian nature reserve, which lies in the Maikal Hills east of the Satpura Range in central India, also known as the country’s tribal heartland. Kanha Tiger Reserve is home to around 60 breeding adult tigers and it’s quite possible to glimpse one of them on a trek through though the forest that surrounds the camp. The reserve features just six spacious tents, which were established to help restore and revive local wildlife. With a focus on local conservation, the retreat aims to build relationships with villagers and return local wildlife and fauna to the area. From Dhs1,216 per night, full-board for two people, with two safaris included. Open mid-October to mid-May. Kanha Tiger Reserve, Village Bahmni, Madhya Pradesh, India www.shergarh.com (0091 909 818 7346).
Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania Exotic enticement and an eco-friendly ethos combine beautifully at Chumbe Island in the Indian Ocean. This private nature reserve was first developed in 1991 for the conservation and sustainable management of this uninhabited island off Zanzibar. The area is one of the last pristine coral islands in the region and the park includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve that is home to rare and endangered animals such as the deer-like Aders’ duiker. Guests stay in one of the island’s seven charming, yet sophisticated ‘eco-bungalows’ which collect rainwater, which is then filtered and pumped for use in showers and basins. The rooms also feature solar-panelled lighting and are installed with composting toilets. From Dhs1,028 per person per night, full board, inclusive of boat transport to and from the island on transfer. Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, www.chumbeisland.com (00255 242 231 040).
Bulungula Lodge, South Africa This simple yet chic backpacker’s lodge is close to where Nelson Mandela grew up and is steeped in culture, craft and colour. Guests stay in one of ten brightly coloured, round mud huts with thatched roofs and the whole lodge is solar powered. Located on South Africa’s Eastern Cape, on arrival you can slip into a hammock and take in the views of the unspoilt Wild Coast. Bulungula is part of the local Xhosa community and is part-owned by the Nqileni village. The cooperative between the lodge and the village makes a stay here truly unique and visitors can take part in activities such as fishing by hand for octopus and leisurely canoe trips along the Xhora River. The lodge is in alignment with the local community and volunteers are often taken on to help with projects. Proceeds from tourism help fund community projects and provide resources for local business. Bulungula also actively encourages travellers to use local transport and even offers one night’s free stay to anyone who arrives at the lodge this way from Mthatha. From Dhs53 per person per night sharing a dorm. Bulungula Lodge, Bulungula River Mouth, Eastern Cape, South Africa, www.bulungula.com (0027 47 577 8900).