As the number of couples planning green weddings grows, so does the market for eco-friendly travel and honeymoons. Today, more companies than ever offer everything from luxurious eco spa experiences to exciting low-impact safaris for newlyweds. Whether or not you are planning a green wedding, taking an eco-friendly honeymoon is a wonderful to ensure a top-of-the-line travel experience that is as meaningful as it is fun. So where do you begin? Here are some amazing properties to consider for your romantic post-wedding escape.
An Eco-Luxury Spa Honeymoon: Bardessono (Yountville, CA)
You probably haven't heard of Yountville, CA, but you’ve definitely heard of Napa Valley, and this LEED Platinum Certified hotel resort (rated the best green hotel of 2014 by TripAdvisor) is just a quick 15 minutes away. Nearby attractions include hundreds of excellent wineries and restaurants, as well as the popular Boyes Hot Springs. However, Bardessono is famous for its own luxurious, eco-friendly spa accommodations. As one traveler wrote, “I have stayed in many outstanding resorts, but none topped the elegance, service and beauty of Bardessono. The staff is attentive, the amenities extraordinary, and the location in Yountville perfect! Had the best facial I ever had, the room was elegantly appointed and the ‘green’ features added to the feel of a top notch resort. I will most definitely return.” For true luxury, book a King Steam Spa Suite with a private outdoor shower and indoor steam shower — perfect for every season. Note: Baressano is a non-smoking, pet-friendly property.
A Family Ranch Honeymoon: White Stallion Ranch (Tucson, AZ)
If you love horses and the environment, the White Stallion Ranch is the perfect honeymoon destination spot. White Stallion Ranch bills itself as a “real vacation for real people,” where you can “reconnect with nature, family, friends and serenity.” They also boast a large solar array. You can rent a room with a fireplace or an entire hacienda for your honeymoon. After a day of riding, slip into their heated pool or go for a soak in their large redwood hot tub. All meals are served family style and feature fresh local ingredients.
A Green Ski Vacation: Aspen Mountain Ski Resort (Pitkin County, CO)
Recently rated among the top green ski resorts by the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition, the Aspen Mountain Ski Resort has excelled in the areas of habitat protection, water conservation and water quality. It has also been an active advocate for environmental policy in the region. If you are thinking about taking a honeymoon in Aspen, check out the pet-friendly Limelight Hotel, the leading green luxury hotel in Aspen. Highlights include a crackling fireplace, piping hot pizzas, great local bands and outdoor hot tubs. They do not have a full spa, but there is one two blocks away, and they work with several companies that provide in-room spa services. Their website also notes: “For skiers and snowboarders, exclusive access to the best of Aspen Snowmass' four mountains is part of the Limelight's unparalleled value. A three-night stay may include 4 free lift tickets, complimentary ski/snowboard guided tours, and always highly coveted: First Tracks on the hill.”
An African Adventure with Eco-Resorts Kenyan Safari
If you would rather see elephants and leopards than lounge on the beach for your honeymoon, Eco-Resorts offers an 11-day safari package that tours some of the best parks and eco lodges Kenya has to offer. Venues include the Maasai owned Il Ngwesi Lodge, which features banda huts fashioned entirely from local materials and the Rekero Camp, which overlooks the beautiful mara river. As one visitor wrote, “During our lunch, we would see a small crossing of wildebeest over the stream or watch elephants having a drink. Rekero also had its own resident lions and cubs.” For adventuring couples, an eco-safari will provide memories to last a lifetime.
Honeymoon in the Rainforest: Lapa Rios Ecolodge (Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica)
Lapa Ríos is one of the top-rated eco-lodges in Costa Rica. The lodge boasts a private 1,000 acre nature preserve, and its mission is to protect habitat through local school education and community involvement. According to Fodor’s, “Lapa Ríos was the first area lodge to offer a free sustainability tour, highlighting innovative eco-friendly practices, including feeding organic waste to pigs to produce methane fuel.” If you are looking for pristine rainforest with tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities, this resort is the place for you. The eco lodge itself offers a series of luxurious thatched cabins that sit above and amongst the rainforest. The wood decks (replete with hammocks and sun chairs) overlook the rainforest canopy and the beaches of the Osa Peninsula.
A Caribbean Honeymoon at an Eco Beach Resort
If the only honeymoon that sounds relaxing to you includes white sand beaches and piña coladas, you might be surprised to learn that many luxury Caribbean resorts are now Green Globe 21 certified, which means they have taken significant steps to green their operations and offerings. Luxuriate by the pool, surf snorkel in the clear water, and enjoy endless buffets of fresh fruit, while supporting companies working to make a difference. You can find a full list of properties on the Green Globe website.
No matter what your travel style, it is easy to craft the perfect eco-friendly honeymoon experience for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Need more inspiration? Browse My Wedding's honeymoon directory or visit the eco honeymoon ideas page on Green Bride Guide.
—Kate Harrison, founder of greenbrideguide.com and the Director of Eco-friendly Marketing for mywedding.com