The Maldives is one of the most alluring tropical destinations on the planet. Lush foliage frames sweeping white sand beaches surrounded by radiant coral and turquoise blue waters. Alas, the 1200 and counting islands are in danger due to climate change—rising waters, plastic pollution, and hasty construction continues to threaten the island’s natural habitat and native animal ecosystem.
To be transparent, no overwater bungalow oasis is ever going to be completely sustainable, but nothing truly is or ever will be if you’re occupying the earth’s natural landscape. However, it’s a natural part of our own economic health and development. Make your trip to the Maldives more mindful with these eco-conscious getaways that are doing their part to ensure that the ocean, land, and culture is sustained for generations to come.
Both swoon-worthy and sustainable, Soneva Fushi embodies a slow, conscious ethos all grounded in what they dub, “Intelligent Luxury”—providing impressive experiences (from eco-friendly surfing, the first in the world, to an astronomical dinner cruise) that are a mindful balance of extravagance and earth-friendly. Philanthropy, through The Soneva Foundation, is a core component of their responsible mission in which they use impact-investing principles to execute environmental, social, and economic projects. The foundation is also a way for guests to offset carbon emissions through a clever carbon credit social media shop. Check out their total impact assessments and their slow life diaries for some serious sustainable inspiration.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa was the first resort in the Maldives to receive the Green Globe recognition—recently recertified at gold status in 2017 for building, planning, and premium design standards. The hotel’s design leverages local resources and utilizes rainwater harvesting to minimize environmental disruption. The key to the Park Hyatt Maldives’ sustainable success is their management plan that holds their team accountable to their green goals. Through this plan they have banned plastic bottles, straws, and takeaway boxes while upgrading to eco-conscious materials such a biodegradable coffee capsules because little things can have a big impact.
Baros isn’t just for couples in love with each other (winning the world’s most romantic resort by the World Travel Awards four years in a row), but with the earth, too. The property has been an eco-trailblazer for over 40 years, boasting biodegradable cleaning products, LED lights, recycled water purification for garden irrigation, an eco-diver program, and more. This property is truly the quintessential balance of eco-chic and elegant luxury.
Six Senses Laamu
Sustainable integrity is interwoven both above and below the ocean at Six Senses Laamu. Known for their opulent aesthetic, the property keeps their space and sand pristine thanks to their single-use plastic ban, recycling program, and compost initiative. Internally, the five-star hotel’s in-house marine team works in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation to manage grouper fisheries, dolphin, and turtle hatching research, as well as coral reef restoration. You can see all of their eco-efforts first-hand gazing out of your water bungalow or on any one of their conscious experiences—including marine conservation presentations, sunset dolphin cruises, an organic garden tour and more.
COMO hotels are renowned as some of the best in the world, and yet are mindfully modest in their sustainable marketing, which makes their properties that much more authentically alluring. The brand has two conscious destinations in the Maldives: Maalifushi and Cocoa Island. They are whole-heartedly involved to sustain, restore, and give back to every community where their hotels call home. The team is always bold with their conscious corporate stewardship efforts using artisanal architecture techniques that strongly support local producers, entrepreneurs, social enterprises and non-profit organizations whenever possible.
Earthcheck silver certified in 2018, Gili Lankanfushi was built with the planet top-of-mind from the inside-out. The destination is constructed using sustainably-sourced plantation teak, palm wood, bamboo, and palm fronds, in addition to recycled telegraph poles to build its beautiful interiors. Inside the rooms you will find a stock of organic toiletries, perfect for the clean beauty enthusiast, all housed in earthenware containers with plenty of bottled water from the island’s local desalination plant.
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
When it comes to eco-conscious escapes, this resort is perfect for enjoying a lavish getaway when you also love nature. Sirru Fen Fushi spearhead the first coral regeneration project in the Maldives and has bolstered its eco-friendly efforts to include a ban on plastic straws and a manta ray cleaning station. To educate guests on how they can play a part in helping the planet, the hotel created Ocean Discovery Programs where guests can learn how they can personally protect marine life and even plant their own coconut tree to reduce their carbon footprint.
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru & Kuda Huraa
Yes, even some of the largest and luxurious hotel chains are spearheading sustainability. Four Seasons has a myriad of mindful initiatives, from planting 10 million trees to restoring the planet’s natural geographical formations. In the Maldives specifically, the company has partnered with Seamarc Reefscapers to open a fish lab to facilitate ethical breeding to curb the extinction of the ornamental fish that the Maldives is known for. The team has also built a coral propagation project to restore and revitalize the surrounding colorful corals, keeping the island’s incomparable charm conscious and clean.
Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort
If you’re looking for a more accessible eco-getaway to the Maldives, while still indulging in an authentic Maldivian experience, jet off to Mercure’s Resort on the island of Koodoo. The destination has a lush organic garden, fed by the property’s compost, so you can enjoy fresh produce at your fingertips. The hotel also has a water recycling center and plans to install solar panels by the end of the year.
The Barefoot Eco Hotel
The Barefoot Eco Hotel leads in green tourism through sustainability, conservation and local community involvement. The hotel’s boho-minimalist infrastructure is built using ecologically grown wood and solar panels to conserve energy across the island. The destination was a pioneer in the plastic-free movement, opening a water bottling plant in November 2015 to reduce single-use plastic water bottles. Lastly, they keep locals educated and employed through their local outreach program where guests can also lend a helping hand and get involved.