If you travel in luxury, but do not turn a blind eye to nature and sustainability, then your next trip should be to any one (or all!) of these spectacular eco-resorts in India that are slowly paving the way for a more responsible and conscious hospitality industry.
Here are our top picks of the best eco resorts in India.
Touted as one of the most beautiful and luxurious tree house resorts in India, Vythiri Village Resort is tucked between the Nilgiri forests and majestic waterfalls. This eco-resort is built across 24 acres and grows almost every ingredient used in the dishes of their menu. The infrastructure itself is created with natural wood and organic materials.
Price per night: There are three types of accommodations available at Vyithiri: Vythiri Haven – Rs 16,000, Honeymoon Villa – Rs19,000 and Pool Villa – Rs 25,000. Rates include all meals.
Facilities (charges extra): The eco-resort can arrange exciting outdoor activities, such as trekking, cycling, zip lining, archery, nature walk, and yoga. Soothing massages and Ayurvedic spa sessions are also provided by the resort.
How to reach: Vythiri Resort is situated in the Vythiri village which is approximately 90km from the Calicut airport. The resort advises that you let them arrange a pick-and-drop from the airport. If you are driving down from Bangalore, the nearest metro city, the village is 295km away.
The eco resort, Lodge at Wah, was formerly the residence of Deepak Prakash, who runs the Wah Tea Estate nearby. Built entirely out of natural material such as mud, wood, slate and stone, the lodge is a labour of love. In an effort to give back what they took from nature, the family even planted a large number of trees in the area which is spread over 526 acres. Everything at this eco-resort is natural and organic, from the delectable dishes on their menu to the chemical-free walls of the building.
Price per night: There are three types of cottages available at the Lodge at Wah: Camellia (double room for Rs 17,870), Oolong and Pekoe (a double room at both cottages costs Rs 8,967). Rates include all three meals.
Facilities (charges extra): The eco resort can arrange exciting outdoor activities, such as trekking to nearby villages and hills, camping, cycling, a walk to a pottery village, nature walk and birdwatching. Indoor board games and video games on the PlayStation are also available at the resort.
How to reach: The Lodge at Wah is situated in Palampur, which is an hour away from Dharamshala. You can ask the resort to arrange a pick-and-drop from the Dharamshala airport if you are flying in. If you are driving down from Delhi, the nearest metro city, the lodge is 487km away.
Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort
The Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort is an eco-resort created by the Indian government in coalition with the United Nations Development Program to support tourism in rural areas while creating employment and livelihood opportunities for the local community. Rooms at this eco-resort are made of mud and have sloping roofs that provide a natural cooling and heating system for changing weathers. Note that the resort is open only from October to March.
Price per night: There are three types of accommodations available at the Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort: Suite Mud Huts with AC – Rs 5,300, Eco friendly Mud Tents – Rs 3,400 and Family Mud Hut - Rs 4,700. Rates include all three meals.
Facilities (charges extra): The eco-resort can arrange exciting outdoor activities, such as a trip to Rann of Kutch and Chharid Dhand wetlands, workshops on bhunga (traditional mud huts) and also cultural performances by the locals.
How to reach: Shaam-e-Sarhad is situated in the Hodka village, which is an hour and a half away from Bhuj. You can ask the resort to arrange a pick-and-drop from the Bhuj airport if you are flying in. If you are driving down from Ahmedabad, the nearest metro city, note that the lodge is 350km away.
In the 20th century, the Nimmu House was home to Rinchen Namgyal Zildar, a cousin of the then Ladakhi king. After being forgotten in time for several decades, the property was restored and revived by Lobzang Punchok Shamshu, a Ladakhi entrepreneur and Alexandre Beuan, a professional traveler, in 2012. Built on an expanse of 5,000 square meters, the property encloses hundreds of apricot, walnut and apple trees, 30 rooms for accommodation and two Buddhist temples. To maintain the sanctity of the land it stands in, the eco resort runs primarily on solar energy, recycles and reuses water and bio-degradable waste, runs cleaning drives in nearby villages and also generates livelihood for locals.
Price per night: There are two types of accommodations available at Nimmu House: double/twin rooms - Rs 10,950 and double/twin tents - Rs 11,950. Rates include all three meals.
Facilities (charges extra): The eco-resort can arrange exciting outdoor activities, such as a village tour, hikes, treks, rafting, visit to the Basgo, Likir and Alchi monasteries. A library with books on Ladakhi and Tibetan culture and indoor games such as chess, carrom etc are also provided by the resort free of charge.
How to reach: Nimmu House is situated in the Nimmu village, which is 30km away from Leh. You can ask the resort to arrange a pick-and-drop from the Leh airport if you are flying in. If you are driving down from Srinagar, note that the resort is 387km away.
Situated amidst the fascinating rainforest of Havelock, Barefoot at Havelock is India's only beach-side jungle resort, where the environs of a jungle and sea waves are just a small walk away. Its 31 thatch tents, cottages and villas have the best of modern amenities, but run on sustainable practices such as rainwater harvesting and waste management. Barefoot also strives in several water sports and activities. It offers kayaking, snorkelling and diving.
Price per night: There are two types of accommodations available at the Barefoot at Havelock: Andaman/Nicobari Villa with AC - Rs 14,500 and duplex cottage - Rs 18,500. Rates include just bed and breakfast.
Facilities (charges extra): The eco-resort can arrange exciting outdoor activities, such as rainforest walks, birdwatching, kayaking, diving, scuba diving and snorkelling. A state-of-the-art spa with Ayurvedic facilities is also present at the resort.
How to reach: Barefoot at Havelock is situated on Havelock Island, which is an hour and a half away by ferry ride from Port Blair. You can ask the resort to arrange a pick-and-drop from the Port Blair airport if you are flying in.
SwaSwara doesn't offer just a night stay. It offers Ayurvedic treatments, spiritual coaching, yoga transformations and an introduction to a lifestyle closer to nature in all essence. The price you will pay might seem too much but what you receive in return is an experience like no other. This stunning place situated on an isolated island is a destination in itself.
Price per night: The minimum stay duration required to avail the packages at SwaSwara is five nights. And the rate for a seven-night package is approximately Rs 70,000.
Facilities: The eco resort offers an array of therapeutic and Ayurvedic treatments and facilities. From a private yoga teacher and naturopathy spa, to art therapy and meditation centres, all the services at SwaSwara are included in the package you select.
How to reach: SwaSwara is situated near the Om Beach in Gokarna, which is 140km from Dabolim, Goa. You can ask the resort to arrange a pick-and-drop from the Dabolim Airport if you are flying in. If you are driving down from Bangalore, the nearest metro city, note that the resort is 480km away.