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Top 10 Ecolodges and Green Hotels

Queensland, Australia: Binna Burra Mountain Lodge and Campsite
Deep within the subtropical rain forest of Queensland's Lamington National Park is the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge and Campsite, an ecolodge where guests can enjoy hiking, bird watching, abseiling and numerous environmental education programs. Accommodation options include safari-style canvas tents or a more luxurious room in the main lodge. Binna Burra was founded in 1933 on land that had been cleared and farmed; since then, the lodge has restored the land to its original rain forest state and encouraged the growth of native plant species. Recycling, composting, low-flow water fixtures and the use of energy-efficient lighting are just a few of the lodge's environmental initiatives. Binna Burra makes regular contributions to research projects within the national park as well as to other environmental organizations.

tenuta di spannocchia Siena, Italy: Tenuta di Spannocchia
Looking for your own place under the Tuscan sun? Try Tenuta di Spannocchia, a working organic farm that produces its own meat, eggs, grains, vegetables, honey, wine and olive oil. Guests can rent their own farmhouse for a week or stay for a few nights in one of two bed and breakfast facilities. Visitors are welcome (but not required) to learn about and get involved with the farm's day-to-day operations, which rely on sustainable farming techniques.

Spannocchia is home to one of Tuscany's first natural waste water treatment systems, and guests are strongly encouraged to participate in the farm's composting and recycling programs. Housekeeping and linen changes are done once a week. To stay at Spannocchia, guests must become members of the Spannocchia Foundation, which supports conservation and sustainable agriculture.

Rurrenabaque, Bolivia: Chalalan Ecolodge
Bolivia's Madidi National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the planet, and a stay at the Chalalan Ecolodge puts you right in the heart of it. Guests stay in Tacana-style cabins built from environmentally friendly local materials, with balconies overlooking the jungle. The lodge was founded in the 1990's by members of the indigenous community of San Jose de Uchupiamonas in an effort to support themselves and protect the beauty and eco-diversity of their homeland. The lodge is still community owned and operated. Environmental provisions include solar-powered lighting, a liquid waste treatment system, a water purification system and a composting program.

Bayfield, Wisconsin: Pinehurst Inn
During your stay in Bayfield, Wisconsin, you may see the owners of the Pinehurst Inn trundling around town in their 1982 Mercedes Diesel, which runs on used vegetable oil from local restaurants. This is just one way the innkeepers show their commitment to sustainable living, a commitment that's also visible in every aspect of life at Pinehurst. The 19th-century inn boasts energy-efficient appliances and lighting, solar panels to heat water in the newly built Garden House, and organic cotton linens and towels in all rooms. Locally grown organic food is served at breakfast. Non-toxic cleaning products are used inside, while outside the innkeepers refrain from using pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers anywhere on the grounds.

social lobby proximity hotel greensboro nc north carolinaGreensboro, North Carolina: Proximity Hotel
Opened in November 2007, the Proximity Hotel is one of the greenest hotels in the country, using 40 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than a conventional hotel. Much of the hot water for the hotel and its restaurant is heated by 4,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof, and water-saving fixtures are used throughout the guestrooms and other facilities. Bikes are available for guests to ride on a nearby five-mile greenway.

Guestrooms may be green but they're also luxurious, featuring 32-inch flat-panel TV's, original artwork, complimentary Wi-Fi, large windows that allow plenty of natural light, and many other amenities.

You May Also Like
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    --written by Sarah Schlichter

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