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And, what better way to prove so than when champions of indulgence Mr & Mrs Smith decide to include an eco category in their awards.
Twenty hotels have been shortlisted for the award, which Mr & Mrs Smith state isn't just about the basics - they are looking for hotels that are truly committed to sustainability and operating ethically. The hotels must also be 'down-to-earth', sharing and informing guests where it matters, but leaving the lecturing to the campaigners. Hotels also need to meet the following criteria:
We spoke to Juliet Kinsman, Editor-in-chief at Mr & Mrs Smith about why eco hotels are worth celebrating,
When up against the recession, greenwash and the fact that luxury hotels need to be luxurious, boutique hotels that have put their heart and soul into making the world a better place through their ethics and working with their local communities, even if it's meant a much bigger bill in terms of construction or operations, deserve to be saluted. And we love to shout about the real smartypants out there that are able to deliver eco-friendliness without compromising on style, substance or service...
For example Song Saa's inventive waste- and water-management schemes, Shinta Mani's foundation to upskill local people in the hospitality industry, El Silencio Lodge is fantastically sustainable from decor to every detail of its environment. Casa Bonita in Dominican Republic is powered by its own hydroelectric generator and in Cornwall, the much-celebrated Scarlet which is stunning to look at but also really thinks before it acts right down to the car-pooling staff.
Hotels in the shortlist stretch from Cornwall to Cambodia, private island resorts to city boutiques, proving that there is no one 'type' when it comes to eco hotels. We're thrilled to see International Tourism Partnership member Soneva Fushi in the line up alongside the following:
Sal Salis | Gaia Riverlodge | Song Saa Private Island | Shinta Mani Club | El Silencio Lodge and Spa | Casa Bonita | Sextantio Albergo Diffuso | Vigilius Mountain Resort | Las Ranitas | Cuixmala | Kasbah du Toubkal | Titilaka | Aeiros du Seixo | The Scarlet | Zero George Street | Inn at the Presidio | Six Senses Con Dao | Azura | Rio Hermoso
For more information on the above go to the Mr and Mrs Smith eco award shortlist and get voting before it closes on 30th September. Once the public has voted the final decision will be left to the judges, which I'm thrilled to be one of, alongside Livia Firth and Chris Gorell Barnes. Winners will be announced on 6th November.