Baby friendly eco hotels
There’s no point pretending that being eco is high up on a mother’s list of priorities when it comes to holidaying with little ones. Convenience is king and relaxation is paramount. Luckily, these things are no longer mutually exclusive. Luxury hotels are getting greener by the minute. And what’s more, far from requiring any kind of sacrifice, going eco will often enhance your experience. If a hotel invests time and energy into its local environment and community, think how much it will care about the welfare and satisfaction of its guests. Here are just a few top baby-friendly eco hotels both home and away. First published in Baby London Magazine April 2016
Close to home
Set into the clifftop over looking Mawgan Porth beach on Cornwall’s beautifully wild North coast, Bedruthan is the mothership of luxury family-friendly hotels in the UK. The sweeping ocean views makes being ‘trapped’ in your room whilst the baby sleeps an absolute pleasure. Equally relaxing is heading off to the spa for a couple of hours, whilst Ofsted registered childminders look after your little one for free. Special baby and toddler packages also include an evening babysitter and all the kit you could ever need from sterilisers to all-terrain buggies.
Sharing the same ethos as sister hotel, The Scarlet, Bedruthan is committed to ‘creating experiences that don’t cost the Earth’. Everything from left over soap bars to beach toys are recycled and living roofs encourage the return of indigenous flora and fauna.
Strattons Hotel, Norfolk
This boutique bolthole nestled in the market town of Swaffam, just two hours from London, has been serving up extravagant eco hospitality before ‘going green’ was even a thing. Families are more than welcome and tired parents will be quickly transported by the fun and eccentric suites on offer. A baby listening service makes feasting in the evening hassle-free and the hotel deli provides organic grub for little ones.
Strattons have spent years perfecting the art of embedding an eco culture without ramming it down the throats of guests. Little would you know that chefs work with suppliers to improve conservation issues and less than 2% of all waste goes to landfill.
Le Citizen Hotel, Paris
Admittedly not renowned for being either green or baby-friendly, Paris actually ticks both boxes surprisingly well. Jumping on the Eurostar is infinitely more eco than flying anywhere and is a more relaxing way to travel with a baby. Le Citizen overlooks the increasingly trendy Canal St. Martin. Interiors are Scandinavian in design, service is enthusiastic, minibars are free and the family suite has plenty of sleeping and living space.
Le Citizen is also keen to do its bit for the environment. The hotel buys locally where possible, recycles, offers filtered rather than bottled water and has implemented numerous energy saving policies.
Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Winner of the Mr and Mrs Smith Family Hotel Award in 2015, this eco resort is a tropical playground for adults and kids alike. Beachside ‘bures’ are designed in traditional Fijian style but equipped with everything you need for your baby. All inclusive activities, food and drink and a dawn-to-dusk nanny service, make instantly unwinding that bit easier, whether time-out involves a private yoga lesson, spa session or the snorkel of a lifetime with the resident marine biologist.
Owned by ocean explorer Jean Michel Cousteau, protecting the environment and local community is at the heart of the resort. Fish is sustainable, fruit and veg comes from the onsite garden, water is recycled and building materials are local and traditional.
Soneva Fushi, The Maldives
You don’t get much closer to a slice of paradise than this barefoot luxury island in The Maldives’ Baa Atoll. Older and larger than most other island resorts, all 1400 by 400 meters of Soneva Fushi is covered with thick vegetation. Sandy paths weave their way around the island to pristine beaches and cool, calming villas. Your personal ‘butler’ and the on-site enthusiastic babysitters make the island’s ‘no shoes, no news’ philosophy easy to adopt.
Despite all the luxurious touches, Soneva has won numerous eco awards. Bottled water is banned (all water is filtered on site), solar energy plentiful and over 80% of all waste is recycled.
Grootbos, South Africa
Just two hours from Cape Town and the same in time change from London, this 2500 hectare coastal nature reserve offers families winter sun with a healthy dose of adventure thrown in. Whale-watching and horse riding are included in most packages and all the accommodation offered - from a one bed suite to 12 person villa - are pockets of luxury surrounded by the great outdoors. Although more kid than baby orientated, high chairs, baby cots, babysitters and baby food are all available.
The owners of Grootbos are seriously conservation-minded - so much so that funds generated by the resort are invested back into the Grootbos Foundation, supporting environmental and social initiatives in the immediate area.