Wednesday, 31 October 2007

ecobookers in India and Indonesia!

Today sees the addition of 2 new eco-lodges in Asia on the ecobookers site.

The first is Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, Indonesia - Here you will stay in a cosy bungalow, situated at 700m, on the slopes of Mount Batukaru in central Bali and surrounded by a lush tropical “food forest” of organically grown cacao, coffee, vanilla and jungle fruits. This eco lodge is also family friendly - children are warmly welcomed and valued in this family oriented community. Children are able to reconnect with nature - walking in the rainforest and swimming in the clean mountain streams.

The second is Chambal Safari Lodge in India - Here you will stay in an en-suite cottage 15km from the National Chambal Sanctuary. Along with a number of eco-policies to reduce their impact on the natural surroundings, the hosts at Chambal Safari Lodge also run the Chambal Conservation Foundation with their own funds and are committed to protecting the pristine environment of the Chambal valley.

Monday, 29 October 2007

eco-lodges in Thailand and Costa Rica!

Slowly but surely we're building up the number of eco-friendly hotels and eco-lodges on the ecobookers site, so that visitors to the site have as much choice as possible. And today there are two more new additions:

Faasai Resort in Chanthaburi, is our first eco-friendly accommodation featured in Thailand. At this resort you will be in the perfect location to experience the authentic culture of Thailand. You can explore the sea, mountains, historical and archaelogical sites, local festivals, markets, temples and much more. Faasai Resort is also a spa hotel, offering treatments such as traditional Thai massage, herbal steam therapy, oil massage and aromatherapy.

Sabalo Lodge in Costa Rica is located on the Osa Peninsula, only accessible by boat from the town of Sierpe. This Lodge offers lowland rainforest, river, mangroves and a mountainous jungle, but unlike some other rainforest lodges, it is also within easy access of a beautiful ocean beach - a 15 minute boat ride will take you to a beautiful, secluded, white sand beach, appropriately named Playa Blanca. The lodge currently has 2 rooms and 2 cabins available.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

new destinations on the ecobookers site

We have put another 2 great eco-friendly accommodations live on the ecobookers site today, one in Ireland and the other in the Seychelles.

Prospect Bay Lakeside Accommodation, Ireland - We're very pleased to feature this eco-friendly B&B, our first property in Ireland, on the ecobookers site as we feel it's important to feature accommodations in Europe which people can reach by other means than flying. For example, to reach Prospect Bay it is possible to take a ferry from Liverpool to Dublin, and then take a bus to a stop 2 miles from Prospect Bay where you will be collected by the owners!
Prospect Bay is set in a stunning location just a few minutes drive from the lively town of Ballyconnell and is close to the Marble Arch Caves, part of the Cuilcagh Mountains World Heritage Site and UNESCO Geo Park. There are plenty of activities nearby including Out Doors and Dirty™ - a new concept in extreme adventure, this company offer a unique range of extreme and entertaining events on both land and water in one location.

The second new destination launched today is the Seychelles, specifically Bird Island, home to Bird Island Lodge. The east and south sides of this island paradise are surrounded by a protective barrier reef which is home to many varieties of colourful tropical fish and the rest is an open beach which offers superb safe swimming. The accommodation itself is made up of individual chalets where the emphasis is very much on relaxation and informality.
There are lots of activities around the island such as safe swimming, ocean kayaking, snorkelling, nature tours, nature boat tours (dolphin watching), big game fishing, traditional hand line fishing and bird watching.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

eco-friendly hotel in Ecuador

Today sees the addition of a new eco-friendly hotel in Ecuador to the ecobookers site - Hotel Patio Andaluz.

This hotel is a great addition to the selection of eco-friendly city hotels on the site and is situated in the heart of the Old Historic Centre of Quito, surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments. The building itself is of Republican origin with large arches, balconies and towering attics.
In addition to energy, water and recycling policies the hotel works to keep its local environment clean and maintained and has two foundations to which they donate money, material and clothing, both from the hotel and from any guests who also wish to contribute. They work with community-based security and welfare programs as well as supporting young women with HIV.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

ecobookers forms eco-friendly partnerships

Today we have launched some great eco-friendly special offers on the ecobookers site. It stands to reason that ecobookers customers are also eco-friendly in their everyday lives, or at least interested in being so. Therefore we are teamed up with the following eco-friendly partners to give our customers discounts on eco-friendly products to help them be eco-friendly at home as well as on holiday.

Current partners are:

ecotricity – This UK-based electricity company is dedicated to changing the way electricity is made, investing the money their customers pay into clean forms of power such as wind energy. They are also the electricity suppliers for the ecobookers office! ecobookers customers switching their electricity supply to ecotricity receive a £25 discount on their bill at the end of their first year (terms and conditions apply).

Earth & Wear – This UK-based clothing and accessories company sells fair-trade and ecologically sound goods, including No Sweat footwear – the original brand of fair-trade footwear. ecobookers customers receive a discount of 15% when purchasing ethically-sourced products through the Earth & Wear site (terms and conditions apply).

Nigel's Eco Store – This online store offers pretty-much every eco-friendly gadget you could desire, with a wide range of eco-friendly, natural and organic products at reasonable prices. You can buy all sorts of goods including travel gadgets, cleaning products, toiletries and books with ecobookers customers receiving a discount of 10% (terms and conditions apply).

Monday, 15 October 2007

eco-lodge in Ecuador

Today sees the addition of a fantastic eco-friendly accommodation on to the ecobookers site - the Black Sheep Inn in Ecuador. It's great to have this property on the site, as they have an innovative approach to eco-friendly tourism and have won a number of awards.

The Black Sheep Inn is an inexpensive hotel, set high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Perched on a hillside just outside of the rural village of Chugchilán, Cotopaxi, the Black Sheep Inn provides a great base for day hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and exploring indigenous markets. One of the biggest talking points at the Inn seems to be the ecological composter toilets. All toilets take advantage of a spectacular view across the canyon and inside the rooms are flower/vegetable gardens fertilized with finished compost from the toilet - the finished “humanure” is used to plant trees, bushes or shrubs and is even used in the organic vegetable garden!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Three new eco-hotels on the ecobookers site!

Today sees the launch of another 3 hand-selected, eco-friendly accommodations on the ecobookers site, 2 of which are in the USA and 1 which is located in the Caribbean on the beautiful green island of Dominica.

WildSpring Guest Habitat, USA – This small boutique eco-resort combines luxury, amenities and service with the privacy and conveniences of a vacation rental. The five cabin suites are stylish and comfortable, made of native cedar and built like small homes filled with artwork, plush, overstuffed loveseats and antique and vintage furniture. The minimum age at WildSpring is 13.

Artha Bed & Breakfast, USA – This budget eco-friendly B&B in Amherst, Wisconsin, sits on a lush 90-acre plot with rolling hills of wooded land and open fields. Here you can experience green living, powered by the sun, in a 100 year-old farmhouse. Guests stay in private rooms and can enjoy the public spacious kitchen and living room, both with wood stoves.

The Tamarind Tree Hotel, Dominica – This hotel is good for families with family rooms available, consisting of 2 interconnecting double bedrooms, are available at a set fee and take up to 2 adults and 4 children under 16. The premises are safe and child-proofed and a small playground and water toys are provided. There is also a shallow part of the pool for small children. It's also good for anyone else, ideally located in the centre of Dominica’s west coast on top of a 100-foot cliff, offering beautiful views over the Caribbean Sea, the Bay of Salisbury and Morne Diablotin.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Greening up the ecobookers office!

Although I try to live and work in an eco-friendly manner I thought it's about time I apply the ecobookers principles to ecobookers and see how things are going! There's always more that can be done and sometimes we get stuck in our ways (well, I know I can!), so it's good to sit down and have a good think to see what we can do differently.

Eco-Design - The building we are based in is a 1900 brick building, typical of the architecture in Yorkshire. There's no air-conditioning but the positioning of the house seems to keep it cool in the summer. Unfortunately there is no outdoor space at all, so there's nothing to be done there!

Energy - ecobookers is powered by ecotricity who take the money they receive from customers and invest it in clean forms of power such as wind energy. We also use low energy light bulbs and try to conserve electricity in small ways such as turning off the computer monitors when not in use, turning things off at the plug instead of leaving them on standby.
Although we own a small car (i.e. one which has a small engine and uses very little petrol) this is used very rarely – all shopping and other daily needs are undertaken on foot and public transport, and where possible longer distances are covered by public transport.

Conservation - At the moment I'm sorry to say that we don't have any input into conserving our natural surroundings. As I mentioned earlier, we don't have any outdoor space. However, this is definitely something to look into further as I think we should get involved in a tree-planting or tree-wardening scheme - cities need trees too! If anyone has any suggestions it would be great to hear them!

Ecological sustainability - We recycle paper, plastic and metal cans through the council collections and take glass bottles to a bottle bank. Old clothes are taken to charity shops or to fabric banks if they are not in a good enough condition to sell on. Unfortunately we don't compost as this isn't collected by the council and we have no outdoor space to put the finished result.
Where possible we buy organic and fairtrade food and occasionally we visit the farmer’s market in Leeds to buy fresh, local produce. When shopping we use non-plastic, reusable bags.
The ecobookers office is virtually paperless. Our fax machine is online so that we receive faxes by email (which we store electronically and don't print out) and we don't send faxes, instead we use scanned signatures to authorise contracts. For the odd very little piece of paper we use, we use a type of pen where you can rub the ink out, so that we can keep on using the same bits of paper over and over again! And of course, our toilet paper is made from recycled paper!
Looking at this, I think we are doing quite well for ecological sustainability but we haven't really got any water-saving policies so this is something else to look into in the near future. We could also do more to check that cleaning products and toiletries used on the premises are eco-friendly so that is something else I will look in to.

Community - As ecobookers is so small, we don't employ staff and don't buy much in the way of services, so this is another area where we could do more. More ideas to come....

Well, looking at it all, I think we are setting a good example in our eco-friendly ways, but there is certainly more to do. Any ideas, please feel free to comment!

Monday, 8 October 2007

New eco-accommodations!

It's a busy time on the ecobookers site today with lots of new eco-friendly accommodations being added, including our first in England!

Natural Retreats, England are set amongst 54 acres of pristine countryside in Swaledale, just a mile from the historic market town of Richmond. While offering a break from urban life, with exposed beams, wood burning stoves and breathtaking countryside, the Residences also offer the latest in contemporary design and luxury. Located in a large open area on the outskirts of a wood they are ideal for couples, groups of friends and families who want to escape to the country and enjoy some quality time together.

We also have not one, but two new properties featured in Costa Rica!
Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge, Osa Peninsula, is the closest to Corcovado National Park, the last remaining pacific lowland rainforest of sustainable size in Central America. Carefully designed and built by an American naturalist with thirty years of local experience, this unique lodge offers accommodations constructed with the highest concern for conservation in harmony with the landscape and the environment. Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge provides the ideal base for your in-depth rainforest experience.

Golfo Dulce Lodge is situated on a remote beach in the quiet bay of Playa San Josecito on the Golfo Dulce in the Southern part of Costa Rica. The little complex of buildings is informally grouped together as a tiny village in a large landscaped garden right on the edge of the tropical rainforest and is less than 300 yards (250m) away from the rocky beach.

Today also sees the addition of a luxury eco-lodge in Australia - Daintree EcoLodge & Spa - only 45km north of Port Douglas, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Here, just 15 tranquil rainforest villas occupy secluded positions amongst the world's oldest living rainforest... reinforcing the impression of being 'at one with nature', yet still providing all the creature comforts of a boutique retreat.

Monday, 1 October 2007

eco-lodges in Morocco, Canada and Costa Rica

Today sees the launch of 3 very diverse new accommodations on the ecobookers site.

Firstly, Dar Itrane Eco Lodge in Morocco - This eco lodge is the ideal base for discovering the region, Berber traditions and customs and to be bathed in the magic of the place itself. Built by architects specialized in earthen construction, and local artists, the lodge combines tradition, modernism and environmental protection.

Next, Rocky Mountain Escape, Canada, is located in a secluded, subalpine valley amongst the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, adjacent to Jasper National Park (east backcountry boundary) and vast, undeveloped Willmore Wilderness. Here you can relax by a cheerful fire amid the glow of honey-coloured, hand-hewn logs inside your cosy, intimate cabin with all meals prepared for you, cowboy-style, on a wood-fired range in the central cookhouse.

Finally, Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica, is located in Punta Uva, within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. The Tree House Lodge complex is located on a 10 acre ocean front property. Total privacy, a natural tranquil atmosphere and full relaxation are keywords for the time you will spend at the tree house. With your own beach access and 300 meter private beach front, you won't have to meet anybody else during your stay at this romantic hideway.