Tuesday, 25 September 2007

ecobookers in the press!

As we work on improving the site and increasing the number of eco-hotels and eco-lodges on it, we've had a few mentions in the press. Check us out in:

Green Lodging News

Groovy Green

Hippy Shopper

Travel Connect

and watch out for us in the October 1st issue of Amaze Magazine!

Not only that, but this blog was picked up on by the Guardian!

Monday, 24 September 2007

eco lodge in Malawi

Today we have a new listing on the site - an ecolodge in Malawi.

Njaya Lodge is situated on a hillside just outside the popular town of Nkhata Bay on the northern shores of Lake Malawi. The lodge grounds stretch down to the beautiful Chikale Beach, which is safe, clean and ideal for children.
Eco-policies include compensation of carbon emmissions through the planting of trees - to date over 4,000 indigenous trees have been planted in the local countryside - and policies to develop local industry and support the community.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

new eco-lodges on ecobookers.com

Today sees the launch of two more fantastic eco-lodges on www.ecobookers.com.

Firstly, we have a new eco-lodge in Mozambique. Nkwichi Lodge is located on the East coast of Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi)in the pristine Manda Wilderness conservation area. The beach on the shores of the lake with its fine, white sand is the central feature around which the lodge has been built.

Each chalet is a unique creation, an imaginative use of indigenous materials, built to fit in perfectly with their surroundings.

We also have ecobookers' first eco-lodge featured in the USA - Pollywogg Hollër - which is set in the middle of 56,000 acres of NYS Forest Land in Allegany County in the South Western part of New York State.

Named for the serenade of frogs that fills the evening air, Pollywogg Hollër is a Great Camp-style eco-resort established by the Castle family in 1987. The genius of nature and man are showcased in a setting of spectacular beauty, Adirondack-style craftsmanship, solar electricity, organic gardening, and gravity fed spring water.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

new look eco-travel site!

Today sees a bit of a new look for ecobookers, as the home page has been revamped to link to features on Eco Luxury, Eco Couples, Eco Families, Eco on a budget and Eco in the city. This should make it easier for visitors to the site to find their way around if they are looking for one of these property types.

Monday, 17 September 2007

eco-lodges in costa rica

Things seem to be busy with getting new lodges in Costa Rica on the site - the following 2 great lodges have just been added:-

Laguna del Lagarto, near Boca Tapada - This is the budget option of the two, with rates starting from only £26 (approximately) for a double room. The lodge is set in a true tropical, unspoiled jungle environment, where you can explore the ecosystem at your own pace. This eco-lodge is secluded and cozy, with a balcony serving as a terrific resting point for viewing the many forest edge birds which so often makes themselves visible, including the raptors and carrion feeders which are now rare in most of Costa Rica.

El Remanso Wildlife Lodge, Osa Peninsula - This is a pricier option, partly because the lodge runs on a full-board basis. This eco-lodge is located on Costa Rica’s southwest Pacific side of the Osa Peninsula, an area well known as one of the world’s most pristine and biodiverse rainforests. The Lodge is located half way between the town of Puerto Jimenez and the famous Corcovado National Park and is included in the Osa National Wildlife Refuge. The Lodge has a social area consisting of a restaurant, bar and swimming pool, all of which have great rainforest and ocean views.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Places to stay - eco-friendly couples

After looking at eco-friendly accommodation for families, luxury and those on a budget, the final thing I wanted to look at is eco-friendly hotels for couples. That could mean people on a honeymoon, people looking for a romantic getaway or simply people who don't want there to be children in the hotel where they are staying. Here are a few suggestions:-

Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique - The spacious tented bandas at this eco-friendly lodge give panoramic views through the netted walls, creating a feeling of being outside while inside. Raised bedrooms, with King-size beds, sit under an expansive palm-thatched roof, opening upwards and outwards to make the most of the stunning sea views and cooling sea breeze.

Ibo Island Lodge, Mozambique - Rooms feature a King-size extra length hand-crafted bed with mosquito net and indigenous teak and mahogany handcrafted furniture. The wide verandas are furnished with hand crafted furniture and soft cushions. For relaxation there are the pools, the beach and massage and healing treatments are available.

Bartholomeus Klip, South Africa - Comfort is the keynote in the Luxury Rooms: specially made pure cotton bedding, luxurious toiletries, towelling gowns and no TV to spoil the country feeling. Food at Bartholomeus Klip is in the French tradition but with a local flavour and is one of the highlights of a stay here. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed at the Main House.

Shinta Mani Hotel, Cambodia – Rooms feature a King-size bed, bathrobe and slippers and other amenities. The restaurant offers elegant indoor dining and casual, yet upscale, terrace dining while offering both Khmer and Western style cuisine and the Shinta Mani Spa features intimate treatment rooms for singles or couples including one with a floral bath and steam room.

Sanctuary Retreat, Australia - Capturing the cool, green light of the rainforest, eco-friendly accommodation is in elevated secluded forest huts nestled in the rainforest canopy. Stay in one of the 16 minimalist huts, or really treat yourself with 1 of 7 deluxe canopy cabins, stylishly appointed with polished wooden floors, handmade natural timber furniture and spectacular bathrooms looking out high in the trees. Children aged 10 or under are not accepted at Sanctuary Retreat.

Hoopoe Yurt Hotel, Spain - Each eco-friendly yurt is individually decorated, such as the romantic Afghani yurt which has bent willow poles and a deep red ceiling, making it cosy and intimate. Each has a private bathroom, as well as an acre of private meadow with hammocks and comfortable shaded seating areas. Unwind with a full body massage, a reflexology session or some invigorating yoga, or simply relax on a sunbed beside the pool. Only 1 booking at a time is taken with children.

I hope these suggestions are useful - if anyone has been elsewhere and has any tips I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Eco-lodge in Sri Lanka

Today sees the addition of another fantastic, and unique, eco lodge on www.ecobookers.com, this time in Sri Lanka.

Tree Tops Jungle Lodge is located 10km from the small town of Buttala. It is surrounded by bush-jungle as well as a unique patch of mature dry zone tall tropical forest - one of the last strongholds in Sri Lanka for the rare and protected Ebony-tree, some of which are huge and 400 years old.

Life at Tree Tops is a journey back to basics; in rustic huts made from clay and wood from dead trees found in the forest, vegetarian meals are prepared native style on wood fire, there is no electricity, nights are black, and bathing is primitive at a freshwater well.

The ecolodge vision of Tree Tops is to live with nature and amongst wildlife. To keep the original camp feeling and nature in focus, the credo is: basic, simple and minimal comforts. Keeping the lodge small and for the exclusive few is part of this strategy.

Monday, 10 September 2007

new product launch - Portugal, South Africa and Saba!

Today we have added 3 new eco-friendly accommodations to www.ecobookers.com - each one very different to the others and in some spectacular locations.

Firstly we have Bartholomeus Klip, in the Western Cape area of South Africa. Bartholomeus Klip's 10,000 acre nature reserve is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the world's smallest, but the richest in species for its size. The accommodation itself is the original, meticulously renovated, Victorian homestead on a large private estate which is both a working wheat and sheep farm and a nature reserve with a spectacular mountain backdrop. The eco-hotel has a range of eco-policies, although the greatest focus is on conservation - the revolutionary attempt to re-breed the extinct quagga (a zebra-like animal with no stripes on its rump and legs but identical DNA to the plains zebra) and with a project to bring buffalo to the farm from Kruger Park - the first buffalo to be seen in the Western Cape for 300 years.

Next we have eco-friendly yurt holidays in Portugal - a romantic Mongolian-style yurt nestled in the mountains of central Portugal, about one hour inland from the ancient university town of Coimbra. This Mongolian Yurt is self-contained and fully furnished, set in a smallholding of terraced land, which is managed organically. Olives, vines and fruit trees surround the yurt, a spring provides the water and energy is solar powered. Whether you’re looking for a lazy rural retreat, or an active holiday in the hills, there’s no better way to get back to nature without foregoing any creature comforts.

And finally we have Ecolodge Rendez-Vous in Saba, a small island in the Netherland Antilles in the Caribbean. Situated on a mountainside at the edge of a rainforest, this is an ideal base for hikers and nature lovers, as well as for divers who can enjoy can enjoy spectacular pinnacles, hot springs, rays, sharks, turtles and healthy coral in a fully protected marine park. The cottages have been constucted using eco-friendly materials, energy is provided by solar power and a number of methods are in place for recycling and to reduce consumption of natural resources.

Friday, 7 September 2007

family friendly eco holidays!

Picking back up from where I left off a couple of days ago, I've now looked at budget eco-accommodations and luxury eco-accommodations. Next, another one that causes problems - family-friendly... Of course, most eco-accommodations are set in rural areas and it's always going to be necessary to control children and ensure they are respecting the environment. However, a number of hotels have pricing policies and/or facilities which make eco-friendly family holidays that little bit easier:-

Puri Lumbung, Indonesia - Family cottages are available for groups of 4 or more, babysitting is available and children aged 0-11 go free when sharing with 2 adults.

3 Rivers Eco Lodge, Dominica - Cabins and Tree Houses sleep 3 and, as the prices are per room, there is no additional cost to bring a child. The Lodge also has a large children's play area where the kids (big or small) can have fun, allowing the parents to "free up" and relax.

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica - Babysitting is available and children aged 0-11 go free when sharing with 2 adults. Interconnecting rooms are also available if you would prefer to book 2 rooms.

Villas Ecotucan, Mexico - A short walk down the hill will take you to the magical Laguna de Bacalar, perfect for swimming or kayaking, mountain bikes are available to rent and leisure equipment is provided, such as bocci, badminton, croquet, and volleyball if you’d like to play some games. Up to 2 children under 10 can stay in a cabin with 2 adults at no additional cost. The price per additional child aged 10-12 is US$5 per night.

Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Canada - Rates include use of the biking / hiking trail system (over 60km), free use of canoes on Moffat Pond, use of water toys (inflatable raft etc.), bonfire and wolf howl seminars on request. The first child aged 0-12 and sharing in a room with 2 adults goes free. The second child aged 0 –12 and sharing in a room with 2 adults pays 50% of the adult price.

Hotel Oberland, Bolivia - Beach volley, beach soccer, ping-pong and a children's playground are available with quad hire, horse riding and bike hire available closeby to the hotel. Up to 2 children aged 0 – 11 years old go free when sharing a room with 2 adults.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

New product announcement - Eco Lodge in Costa Rica!

Today sees the launch of another great eco lodge on www.ecobookers.com, the first of a few to come in Costa Rica!

As home to many protected national parks and reserves, and an array of exotic plant and animal life, Costa Rica has become a popular destination for eco-tourists over the years. In addition to its pristine rainforests and wildlife reserves, Costa Rica is home to volcanoes and hot springs along with golden beaches (Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’) where endangered sea turtles nest. Eco-tourism began in Costa Rica in the 1980’s as a way of improving the economy and of stopping deforestation, and a national conservation system was put in to place.

Lake Coter Eco Lodge Resort & Hotel is a rain forest ecotourism resort situated along Costa Rica's beautiful Northern Pacific Mountains, an exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and the famous Coter and Arenal Lakes.

Although the Lodge does not have policies to reduce energy consumption, it does have policies to conserve water and recycle in addition to providing an important source of income to the local Maleku Indians - the Maleku community of approximately 600 indigenous people is located about 30 kilometers away from the hotel and has built 2 Communal Huts or “Palenques” on the Eco Lodge’s reserve to provide an opportunity for guests to interact with them and to learn about their traditions, food and culture.

The hotel also has a private reserve of 250 hectares of primary forest along with 50 hectares of secondary forest and pasture land. Guests can take educational environmental tours in the reserve.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Eco-friendly on a budget

Yesterday I took a look at luxury Eco hotels and lodges, but as I have already mentioned, there is a huge variety of eco-accommodation out there, and there is plenty of choice even if you are on a tight budget.

You can book a room at one of the following fabulous eco-accommodations for less than £20 per person (usually based on 2 people sharing a room):-

Bintang Bolong Lodge, Gambia - Located near the small, authentic African Village of Bintang, this lodge features buildings on stilts, keeping them out of harm's way when the water rises and integrating them into surrounding mangrove forests! The main attraction of this eco hotel is the River Restaurant with its large terrace from which you can experience incomparable sunsets.

Gunjur Beach Lodge, Gambia - Set about 50 steps away from the sandy beach of the small Gambian village of Gunjur, this is the perfect place to relax! Make yourself comfortable on the thick mattresses of the beach beds, treat yourself to a massage or join in an African drumming or wood carving workshop, all withouth leaving the Lodge!

Shaam-e-Sarhad Rural Resort, India - This resort offers the traditional Bhunga (circular mud huts with sloping grass roofs) as accommodation. The rooms are designed to showcase local style and are decorated with a collection of crafts from the area, creating an authentic atmosphere. There are a myriad of tours available to really get to know the region.

Udayana Eco Lodge, Idonesia - This Green Globe Certified eco lodge is set high up in the Jimbaran hills in a conservation area for birds and butterflies with a beautiful view over Bali. The lodge is famous for its secluded swimming pool, its lovely gardens and its birds (over 50 species) and butterflies (over 80 species) and is convenient to all of southern Bali's attractions.

3 Rivers Eco Lodge, Dominica - Set on this lush, green, mountainous, rain-forested island, 3 Rivers is set in a valley, surrounded by nature and rivers. Guests can bathe in one of the natural river pools, wander amongst the organic gardens and picnic areas, or walk up into the rainforest.

Villas Ecotucan, Mexico - This Ecological Resort is surrounded by jungle and located on the shores of the beautiful Laguna Bacalar, one of Mexico’s largest freshwater lakes. Your accommodation will be in one of five comfortable and spacious stone cabins with thatch roofs, surrounded by tropical gardens and reminiscent of a Mayan settlement offering guests a tranquil base for relaxing with nature.

Hotel Oberland, Bolivia - Situated at the south end of La Paz in Rio Abajo, considered the warmest part of the city, Hotel Oberland has beautiful views of the mountains and valley. Located in the Moon Valley, just 12km from the city centre, Hotel Oberland has the reputation of being quiet and calm. Its environment and its sunny garden make it a real Oasis near La Paz.

As you can see, there's a great range of budget eco-accommodation to choose from in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and there's plenty more out there!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Eco Luxury!

Reading through some comments on a travel forum today it became clear that there are lots of different preconceptions about what eco-friendly accommodation actually entails. For example, I read a comment which said ‘I can’t afford anything like an eco-camp, so it will have to be a budget hostel’. On the other hand, some people think that budget and eco go hand in hand and the only image they seem to muster is that of composting toilets!

In reality, there is as great a range of eco-accommodation as any other holiday accommodation , ranging from budget to luxury, from jungle to city and from family-friendly to romantic-getaway. To prove it, over the next few days I plan to feature different eco-hotels and lodges which fall into these different categories, starting today with Eco Luxury!

Eco Luxury: Who says you can’t enjoy the finer things in life and be eco-friendly at the same time!

Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya – At this luxury camp you will find yourself sleeping in a linen-sheeted king-size bed, in a tented cottage which also features an elegant bathroom and a wide verandah for superb views of either Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Tsavo Hills, and the Chyulu Hills. In the evenings you will dine by candlelight on Italian cuisine, from fine table settings and crystal glasses.

Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique – Here you will stay in a spacious tented banda with a raised bedroom, with king-size bed, set under an expansive palm-thatched roof, opening upwards and outwards to make the most of the stunning sea views and cooling sea breeze. Here you will find European fine dining with an exotic local twist and world class fresh seafood.

Hotel de la Paix, Cambodia – As one of Siem Reap's most stylish hotels, this deluxe boutique property offers guests outstanding levels of luxury along with world-class dining and spa facilities. In the guestrooms, chic interiors and contemporary furnishings, including handcrafted lamps and intricate wall mountings, achieve a harmonious balance between modern design and traditional detailing.

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica – This luxury boutique hotel is romantic, peaceful and comfortable. The ten select accommodations have been lovingly appointed with hand crafted bamboo furniture, locally printed fabrics and decorated with original art. Guests are greeted with warm hospitality and can enjoy fine cuisine in the hotel’s highly acclaimed restaurant Mille Fleurs.

So there's just a few to get started with - spanning the Caribbean, Asia and Africa - but there are plenty more out there!