From solar-powered eco-lodges in the Fowey estuary and reducing food miles in Newquay to the St Ives hotel making plastic-free pledges, you’re sure to find a sustainable, environmentally friendly place to stay in the southwest of England. Here’s our pick of the best.
Set in 12 acres of woodland above the Fowey estuary, this off-grid eco-lodge offers a taste of carbon-free living. With no Wifi or TVs, you’ll feel connected to nature – look out for kingfishers and herons on the water. The building is wrapped in wool and captures carbon in its wooden structure. Power comes from solar panels and a backup generator, with water channelled from their own borehole. In winter, log-burners keep guests toasty.
With such natural beauty on the doorstep, it’s little wonder that this luxurious hotel makes an environmental effort. Rainwater is collected and used for watering plants, and the hotel has its own water-treatment plant that converts sewage into safe, crystal-clear water rather than polluting nearby streams. Bulbs that light up the plush rooms are low energy, the food is as locally sourced and worn-in linen gets recycled and used for cleaning.
The outdoor pool of this 17th-century country-house hotel, is heated by solar energy, so you can dip and be safe in the knowledge that you’re being kept warm by green energy. Other environmental credentials include encouraging guests to reuse towels, using eco cleaning products and reassessing environmental goals annually. To reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, the emphasis in the restaurant is on local food, with ingredients supplied by fishermen, farms and foragers in the St Agnes area.
Angela and Olivier, owners of this St Ives hotel, are passionate about the environment, joining beach cleans and plastic-free lobbying. Their green commitments extend to their smart property, which uses 90 per cent LED lighting, low-flush toilets and underfloor heat to help reduce gas consumption. Products are organic and fairtrade, from the Neal’s Yard toiletries to the coffee. Cornish ingredients make it to your breakfast table, far reducing associated food miles.
Overlooking a Blue Flag beach, St Michaels has previously won awards for its green policies. They include saving energy through double glazing, sensor-activated lighting in public areas and asking guests to self-select having towels laundered. You’ll also find water-efficient toilets and plenty of encouragement for guests to try green activities, such as cycling and walking. Then there’s the food. It’s sourced as locally as possible and chefs use species of fish that are not threatened or from depleted stocks.
This 72-acre estate overlooking St Ives encourages guests to do their bit for the environment, including swapping driving for walking, reusing towels and recycling in designated bins. Inside, furniture and soft furnishings are upcycled where possible, and you won’t find plastic straws in the Brasserie – they’ve been thoughtfully replaced with biodegradable alternatives. There’s an emphasis on using local, sustainable and organic produce, so look out for Cornish brie and St Ives meat and fish on the menu.
This grand, family-run hotel, overlooking Fistral Beach, in Newquay, has received a £34m injection over the years to turn it from a run-down property into a hotel with green credentials at heart. Measures are continually taken to save energy and reduce food miles – so expect to see local seafood and meat on the menu. There’s even electricity-generating gym equipment and the hotel saves about six tonnes of landfill space every year by using its own cardboard compactor.
With views of Falmouth harbour, Greenbank Hotel prides itself on energy and water efficiency. You’ll find little eco touches throughout, such as motion-detector lighting, Dyson air dryers instead of paper towels and energy-isolation switches. The hotel – which has won awards for its green policies – also has waste compactors. Everything is sourced from Cornwall where possible, from the food to the hotel’s signage.