Qualifying as a sustainable hotel isn’t just about adhering to recycling regulations and reducing the frequency of towel replacements and bed linen washes. To us, sustainable hotels are only defined as such when they embody a holistic approach that puts the planet first. Here, we’ve selected our favourite hotels that are operating with the environment in mind, from the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall to Saorsa 1875 in Perthshire. Each hotel represents a different aspect of what it means to be a sustainable hotel, from offering a community-first events programme to embracing sophisticated modern technology to improve energy efficiency.
We have deliberately excluded treehouses and cabins from our selection because these are an obvious first-choice for those seeking a sustainable stay in the UK.
Situated within two acres of natural woodland, the rural Perthshire location is enough to help you disconnect from the 9-5. If you need some extra encouragement and support, sign up to one of Saorsa 1875's annual yoga retreats. In addition to its bustling events programme, the hotel offers an exceptional vegan culinary experience. This is to be expected from the UK's first vegan hotel. All of its produce is sourced locally, organically and, on occasion, even foraged. There are eleven rooms within the impressive 19th-century baronial house; each is full of personality and charm.
Situated in a 438-acre estate of meadows, lakes, gardens and woodlands, Heckfield Place is nothing short of a marvel. Inside, the elegant Georgian interiors celebrate locally sourced materials that are completely natural and plastic-free. Outside, the hotel utilises its hundreds of acres for biodynamic farming (a method of regenerative agriculture being heralded by many as a solution to help head off the climate crisis). It is an unrivalled country haven; a sustainable hotel that'll forever be imprinted in your mind.
Sustainable stays can also be found in the city. Inhabit Hotels have two locations in London; both are sanctuaries for rest and recuperation from city's hustle and bustle. They are socially and environmentally-responsible, striving to recycle, repurpose and reuse wherever possible.
Since opening in 2009, the Scarlet Hotel has won an abundance of sustainability awards. Perched on a rugged clifftop overlooking the sandy bay of Mawgan Porth in Cornwall, the hotel has long been a pioneer for sustainable tourism. The building itself is positioned to maximise light and heat from the sun (and to strengthen the hotel’s connection with the surrounding seascape). Each of the rooms are homely and comfortable, staring out into the gentle blue. It is a deeply nourishing, relaxing escape from daily life.